Welcome to May, RMASFAA!
Springtime is definitely here in the Rocky Mountain region – and although some of us are still enjoying a final bit of snowy weather, we all know that warmer days, graduations, and plans for summer vacations are just within reach! April is when the majority of RMASFAA states have their annual conferences and I am happy that President-Elect Vicki Kucera, Past-President Art Young, and I have been able to travel to Lincoln, NE, Rapid City, SD, Billings, MT, Jamestown, ND, Provo, UT, Manhattan, KS, Thermopolis, WY, and Crested Butte, CO to represent RMASFAA. We have been so pleased for the opportunity to spend time with you all and see first-hand how engaged our state associations are – each conference has featured a fantastic program with exceptional networking opportunities, and it was wonderful to see so many friendly and familiar faces.
The RMASFAA Board of Directors met March 4th and 5th in Denver for our annual “winter/spring” meeting. The Board had a truly jam-packed (and transformational!) agenda for our two-day gathering and was able to mobilize several key components of the 2015-2018 strategic long-range plan (SLRP). One primary discussion item centered on the role of our association Treasurer and the tenure and responsibilities of that position. By the time you read this, I expect that a proposed bylaws change creating a new role of Treasurer-Elect will have been approved by the institutional voting members and will permit the Board to begin reimaging this key position for RMASFAA. I am excited to see the Association support this change, which will reduce the administrative burden on our future volunteers while affording us with some additional Board-level accountability. Other initiatives coming out of the Board of Directors that serve to advance the SLRP will be forthcoming, and I invite your participation in the discussion as we work to make RMASFAA a better association positioned to deliver on its mission to our membership.
In addition to SLRP-related action items, here are some additional highlights from the meeting:
- The Board heard from Annual Conference Co-Chairs Carolyn Halgerson and Laura Schultz regarding plans for our upcoming meeting this October in Rapid City. Needless to say, the conference committee is outdoing themselves with a tremendous agenda that will kick off with a Sunday evening welcome event at Mount Rushmore! With transportation arranged from the conference hotel, we’ll enjoy a private dinner in the Visitor Center while overlooking the monument. I can’t think of a more spectacular way to kick off our 2016 conference!
- Creation of an ad-hoc committee was approved by the Board with the task of reviewing RMASFAA’s existing website (and database) to evaluate if our current and projected needs are being met and how we might improve our web-presence for the benefit of our members and member states. The committee is still being formed now, so if you have interest in assisting us with this endeavor, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline is in the process of finalizing its curriculum and agenda for a new 2016-2017 Class to be launched at the 2016 Annual Conference in Rapid City! In addition to weaving the Leadership Pipeline experience throughout the conference program, accepted participants will remain after the conference for a day-and-a-half “leadership symposium” focused on specific leadership topics including professional association involvement, navigating campus politics, communicating with administrators and “making the case”, managing financial aid staff, and being an advocate for students. It’s an exciting new direction for the program and additional details and application materials will be available this summer! Questions can be directed to Shauna Savage, Leadership Pipeline Chair, at email@example.com.
As a member of RMASFAA, you have the opportunity to partake fully in your regional association and provide your input into its direction! Your Board of Directors maintains all officer reports, committee reports, and meeting minutes on the RMASFAA website, under “Inside RMASFAA”. I invite you to take a moment to peruse those documents and see firsthand all of the tremendous work being performed by the Board Officers and Committee Chairs on your behalf. If you ever have a question about RMASFAA business, or would like to offer up a suggestion, we warmly invite your feedback.
Speaking of participation, the 2016-2017 Officer Election will soon be underway! I would like to extend my sincere appreciation and congratulations to President-Elect Vicki Kucera and the members of the Nominations and Elections Committee on developing a full ballot with the names of exceptional colleagues who will be considered for regional leadership. Stay tuned for information on all those who are running for RMASFAA elected office and related details for how your institutional voting designee will be contacted to cast their vote.
If you haven’t already done so, be certain to mark your calendars for RMASFAA’s Annual Summer Institute June 12th – 17th at the Colorado School of Mines! Join your colleagues from around the region and beyond for “Winning the Financial Aid Game”! With the NASFAA University curriculum and the opportunity to become credentialed for FREE in two subject areas, there is no better training opportunity in the nation for new and seasoned aid administrators. We’re also excited to host NASFAA 2015-16 National Chair Dan Mann and key NASFAA Staff this year as we spend the week learning, engaging, and networking in one of the most beautiful campus venues around.
Time and time again, I am amazed and inspired by the wonderful people who are our Rocky Mountain region. It is my pleasure to serve as your 2015-2016 President!
-Joe Donlay, RMASFAA President