2016 Global Summit on Student Affairs and Services
Thursday, January 19, 2017
In late October, Joyce and I had the unique opportunity to attend the NASPA/IASAS Global Summit on Student Affairs and Services, that was held on the campus of Stellenbosch University, in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Despite the timing of the Summit relative to the NODA Annual Conference, we both felt it was important for NODA to participate in the Global Summit and for us to network with Student Affairs practitioners from around the world, and upon further reflection, the experience was an incredibly valuable one for the Association.
Along with over 50 individuals from 13 countries, many of whom were representing higher education associations from around the world, we critically examined the UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) Medium Term Strategy document for meeting its organizational mission, which is focused on “…contributing to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, and sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication, and information”. Our goal was to work together to provide UNESCO with a formal critique of this document, and to suggest ideas for meeting the strategic objectives laid out in this plan.
While it was a bit overwhelming to be representing Western higher education in such a high-level strategic discussion with professionals from all over the world, I was struck by the global scope of UNESCO’s vision, and in particular, by one of the functions of the organization: To strengthen international and regional cooperation…and foster alliances, intellectual cooperation, knowledge-sharing and operational partnerships. As Joyce and I debriefed our experiences afterward, we immediately agreed that NODA has an opportunity to address this core function, by taking intentional steps to center the Association in a global discussion of issues surrounding Orientation, Transition, and Retention.
With this goal in mind, the Board of Directors formally approved the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee to address the Globalization of NODA, and to provide a set of recommendations for how the Association can take the lead in guiding international discussion of OTR issues and share the knowledge and expertise we can offer as an Association, while gaining valuable perspective and insights from our colleagues around the world. As I end my year as the President of NODA, I am truly excited by the opportunities this could present our Association, and I am looking forward to seeing the many doors this will open for NODA in the years to come!
NODA Past President
Florida Gulf Coast University