IUPUI is often recognized for exceptional and innovative academic advising programs, and advisors participate in professional development both on campus and in the national professional community of academic advising. Thus, it was no surprise that the idea of starting a campuswide IUPUI academic advising association developed in early spring of 2009 during a discussion on the ride home from NACADA’s Regional Conference. Inspired while attending the conference at Purdue University, a few IUPUI advisors strategized the steps they needed to take to initiate the development of an official advisor group.
In June 2009, staff and faculty advisors across the IUPUI campus were invited to participate in the creation of an allied organization with NACADA, which offered a start-up grant of $500. With less than one month to submit the application materials, founding members Amanda Buck, Maureen Kinney, Kristin Lively-Smith, Laura Masterson, Kyle McCool, Asha McCauley, Jessica McKamey, Josh Morrison, Kristi Shea, and Marianne Wokeck scrambled to generate a list of potential members and the rest of the application materials, including a governance structure, constitution and bylaws, a proposed budget for grant money, and an official name. Using the existing IUPUI advisor listserv for voting purposes, the Jaguar Academic Advising Association, or JACADA, emerged as the winning name. Goals and standing committees were created and the application moved forward.
JACADA's first year
Early JACADA members continued to meet through the summer and fall of 2009. In November, a callout meeting raised awareness of the grassroots effort, and a broader group of advisors learned the purpose of the organization, voted on the logo templates designed by Kira Bonnett (a student in the Herron School of Art and Design), and signed up for standing committees.
Much of the early success of JACADA stemmed from overwhelming campus support, including financial contributions from academic schools, including the IU Kelley School of Business, Purdue Schools of Engineering and Technology and Science, IU Schools of Nursing and Public and Environmental Affairs, and University College. Cathy Buyarski, former assistant dean and executive director of academic and career planning in University College, was especially instrumental in the creation of JACADA by providing funds to cover the allied organization application fee.
No time was wasted as the ambitious steering committee pulled off their kickoff event at IUPUI’s Campus Center on February 19, 2010, with over 80 academic advisors, faculty, program coordinators, staff, and even Charles Bantz, former IUPUI chancellor, in attendance. All were present to learn more about the Jaguar Academic Advising Association and its vision to become the model for excellence in advising.
At the end of March 2010, University College's Foundations of Excellence Action Plan Status Report included JACADA as a positive outcome of the work accomplished in supporting professional development and engaging advisors to share information for student success on this campus since 2007.
With a strong response to serve on JACADA committees, the planning teams met again throughout the spring and summer of 2010 to establish a membership process, plan content and format for the first JACADA newsletter, establish professional development activities, and develop an interactive website to utilize existing advising tools and enhance sharing of information to the broader IUPUI advising network. JACADA was born—all in just over a year’s work!