Did you know
that you can get involved with NODA in numerous ways? There are numerous
opportunities to get involved and get connected through NODA. Any professional
can serve on the board of directors, or help plan a regional conference,
present at an annual conference or write a perspective piece for the Journal of
College Orientation and Transition. The NODA Leadership Development Committee
is here to help you get connected to the opportunities that exist through NODA.
To help you learn more about the value a leadership position can bring to your
professional development, we will be featuring a "NODA Leader in the
Spotlight.” This month the NODA Leadership Development Committee is featuring Rick Sparks from Virginia Tech University!
Dean of Students/Director, New Student Programs – Virginia Tech
When and why
did you join NODA?
I joined NODA in 2003 when I first started at Virginia Tech. Our Dean of
Students, who was a former NODA board member, expected me to join NODA and
leadership positions have you held/currently hold in NODA?
Region VIII conference co-host, 2007
Region VIII conference co-host, 2011
NODA Board of Directors, 2008-2011
Co-Chair, Ad hoc on Leadership Restructuring
getting involved in NODA important to you?
Initially, I don’t think it was. I
didn’t come from a "standard” student affairs background so involvement in an
association wasn’t the top of my list.
Thank goodness it was a priority for our Dean of Students who literally
on my first day on the job told me that I was attending this conference in
November and I was going to attend this thing called OPI. It didn’t take me long for see how naive I had
been. Involvement in NODA is crucial for
anyone working in OTR. Having access to
both the knowledge base and building relationships to have access to
professionals in the field has allowed me to be successful in this position at
Virginia Tech. I don’t believe that
would have been true without NODA.
Why should a
member consider a leadership position in NODA?
The reason NODA works is because of the volunteer leaders in the association.
NODA is extremely fortunate to have an incredibly talented home office staff but
it takes association members to produce the content for our conferences,
drive-ins, web conferences and our journal.
We also need leadership to refine and move forward our education and
research agendas, plan and implement our regional and annual conferences,
coordinate our networks, and we even seek out and develop new association
strongest when we have a large, diverse group of members serving in leadership
roles. I encourage any member who is
interested at all in serving in a leadership position to explore opportunities
under the ‘Leadership’ section of the NODA website at www.nodaweb.org.
you gained from your leadership positions in NODA?
More than I could express (or that anyone would care to read) in this spotlight
– but to boil it down to one item I have to say the biggest thing I’ve gained
has all come from the relationships I’ve had with other NODA members. The work has taught me an incredible amount
but at the end of the day it’s the relationships with people that have
challenged me, changed my thinking, and made me a better professional.
What is your
favorite NODA related memory?
Oh man – there are so many, but the one that sticks out to me was when we were
in Anaheim CA for NODAC. Jon Mark
Bernal, Allison Ragon, Kate Kraus and I went to dinner one night during the
conference. At the time, we were all on
the board and as a result had been in Anaheim for a number of days so this
dinner was out chance to get away for a few hours and relax. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much at
any time in my life than I did that night.
In addition to having a great time, that night was when Kate told us
that she was expecting her first child.
That’s when I realized that through this work some of these NODA acquaintances
turn into close friendships – close enough to share major life events with –
that’s pretty cool!
Not a super
interesting NODA memory to read but the one that sticks out to me.