Thursday, May 13, 2010

ACA Presidential Candidate Speeches

Please vote online here. This ballot will remain open until Thursday, June 3rd at 5pm. Results will be released on Friday, June 4th. An official announcement will follow at the Monday, June 7th ACA meeting.

Kristen Anton: I was warned last year at election speech time to avoid speaking about how my wish to run for office was a way to give back to ACA. I haven’t heard any different for this year so I will proceed as last year and not mention the giving back part. Instead, I would like to focus on moving forward. But, before we get to that I would to tell you a bit about this person who would like to be your next president elect. I have been a part of the UT advising community for a wonderful three years in the College of Natural Sciences. In my three years here, I have taken an increasing number of roles within ACA, starting out as a committee member, then moving on to co-chair Professional Development Day and Advising Expo, and now serving as a co-historian for the ACA Executive Committee. Having been a part of many aspects of ACA I have learned about the many ways in which ACA impacts both its own members and others in the UT community. In addition, as a member of the Executive Committee, I have had the opportunity to understand the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making this organization as strong and as great as it is. Through all of this, I have decided that I would like to continue my involvement and eventually lead this extraordinary group of people.

This year, I have seen ACA accomplish many amazing things. We have greater advisor representation on committees that are creating policies that will affect our students and us as staff as we try to implement policies. We have made efforts to assist and understand transfer students. We had new people co-chair committees. We hosted an excellent professional development conference where we had several new presenters. We made great donations to the community. This is just to name a few.

It would be great to move these accomplishments forward to where they are increased in number and in strength. If elected president-elect, I would do my best to maintain and strengthen the relationships we have formed with the Provost’s office and other administrative offices on campus. On a related note, I would like to work with deans and department chairs that supervise advising centers to help them all understand that advisors don’t simply advise students just a couple of times per year. I would continue the trend of finding excellent individuals to serve on advisory council. To increase the number of members chairing committees and presenting at conferences for the first time, I would help maintain this organization as one that supports the testing of ideas, trying of new things, and the spreading of one’s professional wings. And, I would spend the next year committed to learning more about what I can do to best lead.

And so, in looking forward to the next two years, I will conclude with this…

I look forward to being an organization where individual politics no longer are reason to shy away from running for office and being involved people

I look forward to this organization becoming stronger through the unification of its individual members.

I look forward to the members maintaining a strong voice for advising advocacy.

And, with your votes, I could look forward to serving as your next president elect.

Thank you!

Theresa Thomas: So, the most obvious reason for my decision to finally run for president–elect of ACA is power - this is pretty much the only committee I haven’t chaired.

No, but really…ACA has been such a huge part of my life for the past 8 years. Back when I was what I like to call an “aspiring advisor” in the College of Education, Lovelys took me under his wing. He became a great mentor and a great friend to me and simply told me that I had to join ACA, and Sue and Antoinette and the Richards were right behind him in encouraging me.

At the time, I didn’t really know what it was all about and felt a little like an imposter since I wasn’t really an academic advisor just yet. But that’s a huge part of what ACA is about. Mentoring. Encouragement. Supporting your peers. I am so thankful that they all gave me that push to join.

Since joining ACA, I’ve chaired, co-chaired, or served in many capacities: Professional Development Day, Advising Expo, Holiday Party, FUNdraising, Mentor Program, Co-Vice President/Program Chair, and Advisory Council. I’ve also been a member of the Provost’s Council on Academic Advising for the last two years. I believe this gives me an amazing overview of exactly how ACA works and why it works.

I think that with our budgets being cut left and right, providing our own professional development will become even more important. Brown bags and ROAD events will be in greater demand as fewer of us are able to travel to conferences. But we need to get MORE people involved in presenting. Our ACA meetings are always bursting at the seams with so much information, and I feel like some of that could be presented at brown bags in more detail.

Patty and the rest of the executive officers have done an amazing job this year of getting our name out and letting the big wigs know that we deserve to have a seat at the table – that we are the front line in reaching our students. I want to make sure that continues and becomes a tradition that doesn’t phase out with the changing of ACA officers and UT administration.

Thanks for your time, and remember – a vote for me will mean your first ACA president-elect/former National Karaoke League Champion!

Nathan Vickers: Good morning! Looking out over this great group of people, I know nearly all of you well, but for anyone who I may not know, my name is Nathan Vickers, and I’ve spent almost seven years as an Advisor in the Department of Government. Last time I saw many of you, though, I didn’t have this full beard. Don’t let it throw you, despite my being on the lam from the law, and needing to alter my appearance, it’s nothing really, just something I thought I’d try out. So if anyone “official” asks if you’ve seen me, the answer is NO!

Seriously, though, I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to run for President-Elect, and thank you to the person who nominated me, whomever you are. The first time I attended an ACA meeting, I felt a little overwhelmed, there were so many people, and so much information to absorb. Despite that overwhelming feeling, I walked away from it with an observation that can only be described with one word: fellowship. As I attended more and more ACA meetings, I began to learn everyone’s name, understand the plethora of information being shared, and the fellowship I felt between advisors grew and continues to grow today.

ACA has always been that for me, a chance to see people that campus geography and busy schedules may prevent me from seeing, an opportunity to catch up with friends, and a time once a month to enjoy each other’s company and learn from each other. During the last several years, I’ve been involved with ACA as a co-chair, and then later, committee member for PDD, a member of the ACA Scholarship committee, a member of the FUNdrasing Committee, the Advising Expo committee, I’ve also had the opportunity to serve as co-chair of the ACA Mentor Program, and have served as VP/Program chair. All of these opportunities have only strengthened my belief that ACA is a place for members of the campus community to come together with a common goal: to provide opportunities for professional development for ourselves, so that we can in turn better help our students.

No doubt, we’ve all heard that UT-Austin is facing a difficult time, budget cuts are probably the two most used words among members of the campus community of late, and sadly, ACA is not immune to the effects of these cuts, but what we can do, is to continue to let our voices be heard to those people who make these difficult decisions. There is not one student at this institution who can say that he or she has not been affected by someone in this room, that alone bonds us together, and allows us to express in a common voice the impact we have on students’ lives. ACA Advisory Council, along with the seat the ACA President is given on the many committees, task forces, and councils, affords ACA a seat at this table, and I think it’s vitally important that the ACA membership is part of that discussion as well.

I would venture to say that most faculty members on this campus have no idea what ACA is, what we do, or even what ACA stands for, and I think that needs to change. I’d like to see ACA spotlight, and possibly invite, a faculty member who strongly supports what we do to an ACA meeting, if nothing else, it provides an opportunity for ACA to connect further with faculty members and increase the visibility of the great work this group does. Also, I’d like to see the same thing for student workers who support advising. Sometimes simply recognizing the support given or assistance provided in the day-to-day running of our offices, greatly impacts others, and by doing so, faculty members and student workers may better understand our goals and mission.

Finally, I would like to close by saying thank you again, it’s very humbling to stand before you as a nominee, and if given the honor of being President-Elect and then President of ACA, I would like to be the conduit through which your needs can be expressed. Thank you.

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