BATON ROUGE, La. – Staff members representing LSU’s Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes (CCACSA) were very involved at the recent National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) Convention held in Orlando, Florida.
The National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics has been in existence since 1975. At Michigan State University that summer, Dr. Frank Downing (University of Kentucky) and Dr. Clarence Underwood (Michigan State University) met to outline the development of the National Athletic Counselors Association (NACA). The current name, the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A), was adopted in 1977 at the second national convention in Miami.
Kenneth O. Miles, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director at LSU, joined Jean Boyd (Sr. Associate Athletic Director – Arizona State University), Kim Durand (Associate Athletic Director for Student Development – University of Washington), and Magdi El Shahawy (Senior Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services – University of Southern California) in a panel discussion entitled, “Getting Involved in Other Aspects of Athletic Department Administration.”
This workshop was geared toward individuals who are aspiring to not only become directors of athletic academic support units, but those looking to become senior level administrators involved in other aspects of athletic department administration (sport administrator, oversight over other athletic department units, working in development, marketing, becoming a future athletics director, etc.).
“The other presenters and I felt it important for leaders in our field to begin to see opportunities in all aspects of athletics administration,” Durand, who also served as President-Elect, said. “There are dynamic, respected, talented leaders in Student-Athlete Academic Services who can become Athletic Directors, Provosts, and Deans if they set their minds to it and develop a career plan.”
Additionally, along with Miles, Colleen Campbell (Director of Academic Affairs for Student-Athletes – Loyola University-Maryland), Alyssa Gates (Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement – Marist College), Genese Lavalais (Assistant Athletic Director for Academics – Jackson State University), and Felicia Martin (Associate Athletic Director – Texas Tech University) participated in a “Recommendations for Rookies” panel.
This panel discussion began in 2007, when Campbell and Miles felt the need for there to be an orientation for new advisors, growing into a featured presentation at the conference because of the influx of new members. Participants received advice about the profession as it relates to mentoring, collaborations, understating climates and defining authenticity.
“We should all ask ourselves ‘am I living a life and operating day –to- day in a way that is in tune with my authentic self?’,” Martin asked. “Addressing the challenge to accept and embrace one's authentic self affects not only our personal lives, but also impacts our professional lives. In addition, you need core values to guide you when making difficult decisions, and dealing with challenging situations. I believe a component of success is knowing who you are and staying true to that core.”
Walt Holliday, CCACSA Director of Academic Affairs, serves as the Region II Director of N4A. Holliday serves as an advisor to the N4A President and act as a liaison between the Executive Committee and general membership of the region.
“The N4A is going through an exciting time as we are now an affiliate of NACDA,” Holliday said. “Our membership continues to grow, and our programming offered to student-athletes continues to expand. The National Convention provides a great opportunity for colleagues to network, learn and share best practices that will help all of us continue to shape the future of intercollegiate athletics. I am privileged and honored to represent the LSU community as a member of the N4A Executive Board.”