Isaiah Vance, President of TEXAAN
As we approach the start of a new school year and the many preparations necessitated by the upcoming fall, I’d like to begin by saying how much I appreciate the work that each of you do. The longer I work in higher education, the more I see just how critical it is to have excellent academic advisors. In fact, it was seeing the value and impact of academic advising which led me to leave a faculty position to advise full-time. No matter how our field is shaped or re-defined moving forward, advising will always be one of the most important services we offer students.
I have worked in higher education for over a decade now, beginning my career immediately after graduate school, so I’ve stopped counting the new years by January arriving. I now count the passage of time according to the school calendar. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I’m always excited and anxious as we enter August, because this time of year offers a new beginning in many ways.
For those of us at public institutions, this time also marks the start of the new fiscal year, and the State’s appropriations for higher education in the new budget have significantly limited financial resources for many of us. I recently read a book by Ryan Holiday titled The Obstacle is the Way, and this work provides great insights that are useful to us in this tumultuous time. The primary theme in the book focuses on our perspective and how we react when challenges arise. In the face of adversity we have a choice to either take on a defeated mindset or to see the problems on the horizon as an opportunity to thrive. I personally choose the latter.
In thinking about how we, as advisors, can tackle the challenges laid before us, I believe there are two great opportunities for us.
First, when faced with limited resources, we must rely on one another to help us improve the delivery of academic advising on our campuses. We have the opportunity and the rationale to focus in, even more than at other times, on developing a strong network of advisors throughout Texas. I’ve personally profited in tremendous ways through the friendships that I have formed with many of you.