NIRSA State of the Association Address
Association highlights from the past 12 months
The 2007 State of the Association provides validation for the unofficial theme of the year, “High expectations beget high performance.” This year commenced with a concerted effort to put the right people in the right positions, clearly communicate elevated expectations, provide necessary resources and training, and ensure accountability. And as expected, our members stepped up to the challenge and gave NIRSA an outstanding year.
The involvement of our members continues to impress. This year over 400 members served on committees, work teams, and as liaisons to other organizations. Fifty-one members served as State/Provincial Directors. Twenty-four members served on the NIRSA, NIRSA Services Corporation, and NIRSA Foundation Boards. And countless other members donated their time and efforts to planning and hosting conferences, institutes, and symposia or coordinating National Campus Championship Series events.
Detailed information about the 2006-2007 activities and achievements is available in the following documents:
Here is a brief overview of our accomplishments, and priorities, this year:
Desired Image/Strategic Position
NIRSA has actively pursued and embraced opportunities to develop strategic partnerships to advance and support our mission. And those efforts have been successful, as measured both by the number of collaborations and in the increased recognition and respect given our organization. Notable accomplishments include:
- Served as a full partner in the Learning Reconsidered Institute, a cooperative venture of the Student Affairs in Higher Education Consortium.
- Collaborated with the Council of Higher Education Management Associations (CHEMA) to produce the “Future of Higher Education” report.
- Supported our Executive Director’s election to a two-year term as CHEMA Steering Committee Chair (2006-2008).
- Established an “Affiliate Status” and approved Affiliate Status for the American Leisure Academy.
- Accepted invitations to appoint NIRSA representatives to the US Lifeguard Standards Coalition and the University Risk Management and Insurance Association’s Inter-Association Alliance Committee.
Knowledge-Based Governance/Operational Efficiency
NIRSA has benefited exponentially from intentional efforts to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of operations. The expectations of the NIRSA BOD positions have grown and changed significantly, making it necessary to reprioritize and assign responsibilities appropriately. Notable efforts include:
- Realigned Executive Committee duties to better utilize skill sets and to make the requirements of office more reasonable. Actions included moving the responsibility for chairing the Annual Conference Program Committee from the Past President to a member; moving the responsibility for hosting the New Member Welcome from the President to a member; and moving the responsibility for conference representation for the Make a Child Smile philanthropic program to the Student Leadership Team.
- Revised board travel expectations to balance the need for fiduciary responsibility, member contact, and prudent use of BOD member time.
- Introduced the consent agenda and committee-of-the-whole processes to board meetings, which greatly increased the time devoted to proactive thinking and future planning.
- Realigned the Extramural Championship Committee and the Sport Club Championship Committee to the NIRSA Services Corporation.
- Created a Vice President’s Evaluation Tool to help first-year Vice Presidents identify their service strengths and their improvement opportunities.
- Filled the Chief Operating Officer position on the National Center staff, enabling the Executive Director to appropriately focus on Association leadership while the COO focuses on staff and operations management.
- Adopted a one-year spending limitation from the Initiatives and Reserves Budget; initiatives then need to be moved into the Operating Budget or discontinued.
To be fully effective at our institutions, we need to have data supporting our work and validating our worth. NIRSA is committed to developing and supporting a research agenda and increasing our research capacity. Notable efforts include:
- Scheduled assessment of the 2007 Volleyball Sport Club Championship participants, with an anticipated expansion of participant assessments to include a diverse participant base.
- Collected data for the NIRSA collegiate recreation facilities standards inventory.
Member Recruitment, Development and Retention
Member benefits have been the cornerstone of NIRSA’s value, and this year, important efforts were made to expand and strengthen valuable benefits. Notable efforts include:
- Extended membership benefits to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- Launched the new NIRSA website and introduced a new web-based membership database management system.
- Approved the development of an Intramural Symposium.
- Administered the 2007 NIRSA Salary Survey.
- Conducted a comprehensive membership survey, which will allow the Board of Directors and the NNC staff to make informed decisions about programs, services, and priorities.
This year we have focused our attention not only on immediate improvements but on building a strong foundation to support future improvements. We invested in our future by creating Knowledge Communities in Student Learning, Health & Wellness, and Sustainability, and are looking forward to receiving recommendations so we can be proactive in pursuing our preferred future. We’ve recognized shortcomings in our governance structure and our nominations and elections procedures and have begun to educate our members and initiate discussions so that together we can explore a more effective model. We are proud of our achievements, but we also recognize that there are still many opportunities for improvement. It is important for members to know that the BOD has been deliberate in using time and resources, in maintaining appropriate focus, and in ensuring clarity of purpose. We’re on the right track.
The list of people who deserve credit for NIRSA’s success this year is lengthy. Thank you to everyone who donated time and effort to helping make NIRSA stronger. Whether you served in an elected position, served on a committee, presented at a conference, donated to the Foundation, mentored another member, hosted a workshop, or volunteered at the Annual Conference every effort contributed to our overall success.
Two years ago, I shared with you my belief that the election process was not about individuals in isolation, but rather about our ability to work towards common goals. It was about our willingness to step up and make a difference. It was about our partnership and teamwork. So thank you, because we as an Association have done well.
And a special thanks to my colleagues at DePaul and Centers, my NIRSA friends, the NNC staff, my fellow board members, and my family. It is impossible to succeed without an incredible amount of support, encouragement, and help; the aforementioned folks provided more than I asked for and I am exceptionally grateful.