Well my RMASFAA friends, it appears that 2016 is nearing its close. I really could swear that it was just yesterday that I was making my 2016 New Year’s resolutions, none of which were actually sustainable, but hey, ancient history…right? In a few short weeks I’ll have the chance to start over. The beauty of a new year is always that spirit of hope and renewal.
There are a few things I won’t miss about 2016 (the election, recertification for yet another GE program, the election…). But overall, it’s been a pretty amazing year. Here are some of my highlights:
- Summer Institute – Once again the SI Committee put on an incredible week of training that as a faculty member, always regenerates my enthusiasm for this industry. We rolled out the new NASFAA University materials replacing the old CORE, met an incredible new group of neophytes in the industry as well as some individuals who have been around awhile, did some credentialing, and as always had a ridiculous amount of fun! If you haven’t done so already, put Summer Institute on your calendar for this coming June…either for yourself or for one of your staff. No region in this country does SI like RMASFAA does!!
- Annual Conference – We rocked Rapid City!! What an amazing conference it was! The South Dakota crew treated us to an amazing opening night at Mount Rushmore, complete with Joe Massman singing America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner with those amazing heads in the background. What an inspirational way to start a conference! I had my first Transitional Board Meetings with a great group, which left me confident that this coming year as RMASFAA President will be productive, rewarding, and exciting. The Conference itself was amazing, and hats off to the Conference Committee for a job well done. Between board meetings, conference, and the post-conference Leadership Pipeline activity, I spent seven days in Rapid City, but wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.
- Committee Construction – President-Elect Ken Kocer has been putting the finishing touches on recruiting Vice-Chairs for all of our committees and the full committees will be updated on the RMASFAA website soon. As always, RMASFAA never falls short in the volunteerism department. We are the smallest region in the nation, but the mightiest in terms of member participation. Hats off to all of you for your spirit of commitment and service!!
- Regional Presidents Meeting Washington DC – in October I had the privilege of attending a meeting with all of the Regional Presidents and the NASFAA leadership to have a conversation about Alignment between our professional associations. We’ve been having conversations for years about delineating the roles of the state, regional and national associations so that we aren’t duplicating efforts between them. We all agreed that it was time for the rubber to hit the road, so each region has now set up their own four-member task force to put together their thoughts and ideas regarding this topic, and we will all convene on February 6th in Washington DC to bring our regional thoughts together and move the conversation forward. This task force is a minimum three-year commitment, therefore providing continuity to this movement rather than re-starting the conversation every year when the Boards turn over. The four RMASFAA members who have been assigned to this Task Force are: Brenda Hicks, Southwestern College, Winfield, KS; Art Young, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; Mary Sommers, University of Nebraska at Kearney, NE; and me, Vicki Kucera, Central Community College, NE. We’ve already met and put together what we believe to be a very insightful position paper, and we are very excited about sharing this with the other regions and the NASFAA staff. I hope to be able to share the progress of this Thought Force with you when I see you at your State Conferences in the spring!
- In November I attended my first NASFAA Board Meeting as an observer. Past-President Joe Donlay serves as our Regional Representative during this coming year, and after the NASFAA Conference in San Diego, I will become an actual board member and move out of the peanut gallery!! Justin Draeger and his crew of professionals are doing an amazing job representing us and voicing the concerns of our industry during this transitional period. None of us know what post-election changes may be in store for us, but I feel confident that as we move into the new administration, the NASFAA staff will keep the needs of our students at the forefront.
I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I am incredibly honored to have been chosen to represent RMASFAA as your regional President, and I am looking forward to the amazing year that lies ahead. Thank you all for your commitment to this industry and to our students. I am so very proud of our region and can’t imagine this industry without all of the wonderful connections I’ve made with all of you.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season and best wishes to all of you!!!
Vicki Kucera, RMASFAA President