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News & Press: Association News

Letter from NODA President Heather Kovanic

Wednesday, January 22, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Happy New Year, NODA!

I am honored to officially start my term as your President. NODA has been my professional home since 2006, and the relationships I’ve built through my involvement have enriched and sustained me both personally and professionally. In the past year as President-Elect, I have been inspired by the energy and commitment of NODA leaders, members, and staff, and I am thankful for the efforts of so many who have contributed to NODA’s success. 

Reflecting on 2019, I want to highlight several noteworthy NODA accomplishments:

·       The NODA Board of Directors voted to establish a new Executive Committee position, an Equity & Inclusion Officer. The professional elected to this role will serve a three-year term, and their focus will be on providing strategic direction for equity and inclusion within the Association, building on the tremendous work already started by the Diversity & Inclusion standing committee. The election will take place this January, and I encourage everyone to participate by voting.

·       NODA honored the inaugural Circle of Excellence nominees at our 2019 annual conference in Houston, TX, and announced the exceptional 2020 nominees:

o   Charlie Andrews, Assistant Vice President for Academic & Career Success at Florida International University

o   Bonita Jacobs, President of the University of North Georgia

o   Andrene K. Kaiwi, Director of New Student and Transition Programs at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)

The Circle of Excellence recognizes individuals who have served as outstanding professionals, teachers, leaders, and scholars in the fields of orientation, transition, and retention in higher education. Each nominee strives to raise $3,000 to support the NODA Excellence Fund, and these funds directly support NODA members by providing scholarships to enable participation in leadership roles or professional development opportunities. I encourage you to learn more and consider making a contribution in honor of the 2020 nominees.

·       NODA released two new exciting publications - Building Successful Foundations: Best Practices in Orientation, Transition, and Retention, and ASCEND to Higher Retention Rates. I hope these publications will enrich your practice as OTR professionals and provide inspiration for how to enhance students’ transition and success on your campuses.

·       NODA launched a brand-new website, designed to be more user-friendly, accessible, and responsive. Visit today to see the exciting upgrade and while you’re there, consider ways you can get more involved in the Association by reviewing the involvement opportunities available for members.

As we celebrate these accomplishments, we must also look to what lies ahead and build on these successes. The NODA Board of Directors and other Association leaders will need your input and involvement as we:

·       Identify strategically how to engender a culture of equity and inclusivity, honoring the diversity of our members and institutions

·       Position NODA as a leader in OTR and seek strategic opportunities to partner with other Associations given the increasing complexity and intersectionality of our work

·       Clarify our goals and vision as an Association to chart a path forward by revisiting our strategic plan

·       Develop emergent leaders to aspire to volunteer leader positions both regionally and nationally and encourage involvement at all levels

I look forward to serving as your NODA President and invite you to actively engage with me and the Association as we find our focus, gain clarity about our goals, and collectively shape our vision for the future in 2020. I encourage you to connect with me directly at hamaginn@udel.edu to share your thoughts and ideas for moving the Association forward.

Best wishes for a wonderful year!

Heather Kovanic

President, NODA: Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education

Director of Orientation & Transition Programs, University of Delaware


1.866.521.NODA (6632) | 1200 S Washington Ave, Suite 215, Minneapolis, MN 55415