The who, what, why, when, and where of professional organizations.

A long time ago when I was but a wee graduate student at the University of Akron studying Higher Education, we did a lot of talking about professional development and research.  We also discussed the multitude of positions in higher education and organizations that related to those positions.  Some of our peers at OSU have asked me the question, “How do you even know about these organizations, Katie?”  “I found out about them in graduate school” is my typical answer.  And that got me thinking…there are a lot of advisors on campus that didn’t get their start in advising through a higher education graduate program. So, I wanted to offer an insider’s view of what these things are all about.

Who are these organizations?  There are many to choose from and I would say it all depends on your role and job responsibilities.  This is a fairly complete list of higher education professional organizations:  Do some online research for each organization, and talk to co-workers or peers to get thoughts about what organizations they’ve joined (and what they do with that membership).  There isn’t one organization that works for everyone.

What can you do for professional organizations and what they can do for you?  Most of us think of a professional organization and think, yeah, they offer a conference, maybe a journal, but not much else.  That is so not true!  They offer outlets to collaborate with our peers from across the country, improve our leadership skills, improve our writing and or research abilities, and about a ba-zillion other things that I won’t drone on about.  I chose to use The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), and our on-campus organization Academic Advising Association of The Ohio State University (ACADAOS) to improve my leadership abilities, to work collaboratively on research and presentations, and to learn best practices from other advisors.  Think about what you can do for the organizations you are joining, don’t just join to add a line to your resume.

When should you join?  Now!  Most organizations take memberships year round and will give you access to their online resources right away.

How can you get involved?  It depends on the organization.  It will typically be listed on their website, and most organizations have commissions or interest groups.  If there’s a commission that catches your eye, email the chair and ask how you can get involved in their group.  In most cases the level of involvement is up to you.  I started by reading presentation proposals for the Region 5 conference for NACADA, then moved up to helping plan the region conference, to being a part of the STEM commission, to chair of the commission.  I always think about professional organizations the same way I tell my students to think about their student organizations, “You get out of them what you put into them.”

If you don’t know where to get started, ask someone you know that is involved.  Anyone on the ACADAOS executive board would be great people to start with 🙂


~Katie Bush-Glenn

ACADAOS Mansfield Trip

Hello ACADAOS Members and Friends,
On December 5, 2014, the folks at the Mansfield campus were gracious enough to host a group of ACADAOS members. I have been asked to blog about my experience. This is my first attempt at a blog, so here goes:

Our journey started on a very nice OSU shuttle. There were about 20 of us in total, which was enough to feel like a big group, but still give us an opportunity to chat with one another. I made the mistake of telling one ACADAOS member that I never have, never plan to, nor have any interest in ever visiting Disney World or Land. After she picking up the pieces of what appeared to be her broken heart, she then proceeded to tell me what is, I am assuming, everything any human being will ever need to know about the park.

When we arrived on campus, we met with Dr. Terri Fisher, Asst. Dean, and Rick Stewart, Academic Advisor and Program Planner. Rick and Terri took us through some of the exciting new things that the campus is working on. The Mansfield campus is really pushing their students to get involved in undergraduate research. They have had a lot of success getting undergraduate students involved in research with faculty members. They have created a great site which can direct students on how to get involved with research, and how to apply for a research grant:

We also learned about the Haiti Empowerment Project. This is an initiative developed by Dr. Terri Bucci, in which students can travel to Haiti and work on projects designed to help the local community. Students work to develop education programs, engineering projects, and assist with entrepreneurship ventures. It’s a great opportunity for students to help others, immerse themselves in another country, and continue to develop career-related skills. You can find a video about the project here:

We were also given a tour of the campus by some of the student leaders. We have some pictures from the tour below:


The brand new open study space in the Bromfield Library:


The Eisenhower Student Union:


Steven Mousetes creeping out some stagehands in the Founders Auditorium:


We were also shown the Pearl Conrad Art Gallery. They were holding a Biotic exhibit, which featured organic works such as the history and significance of ginseng. You can find out more information on their website:

Finally, Professors Phil Mazzocco and Amy Brunell put us through an implicit bias workshop. The purpose was to get us to understand that we all have biases based on our experiences and sociocultural conditioning. This is a workshop that Professors Mazzocco and Brunell have given to local and campus groups with great success, and we had a great conversation among the advisors about our own biases.

We had an outstanding time, and we cannot thank our colleagues on the Mansfield campus for opening their doors to us, and creating such a fantastic program. Thank you to everyone involved, and we hope you can join us next time!

Barry Tolchin, President-Elect