What’s Happening in Dubai…

With the onset of cooler weather, Dubai comes alive with so many outstanding and exciting indoor and outdoor entertainment options for people visiting over the winter months. If you are attending the NACADA Conference in February, 2016 why not consider some of the following events that coincide with the conference.

When visiting Dubai a must do is to savor the sumptuous cuisine that is widely available. And if you are a foodie, well you are in luck! Check out the Dubai Food Festival which begins on February 25 and concludes on March 12. This festival is an annual city wide celebration and promotion of all the different, local, regional, Arab and international cuisines on offer in the city. With over 150 cultures represented in Dubai the food scene here is truly global.

In addition, this event caters for all budgets and so you will have an exciting array of venues to visit ranging from five star hotels to budget cafes and street vendors.

Check out this link for more information: http://dubaifoodfestival.com/

In addition to the Food Festival, The Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival held from February 24 – 26 is really worth a visit, as the venue is an open arena that soaks up the lovely mild winter weather. This jazz festival has been running since 2003 and is now a permanent fixture on Dubai’s entertainment calendar. The jazz festival is held at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Gates open at 6 o’clock with entertainment beginning at 8:30. Getting to the venue is straight forward as the Dubai Metro Red Line passes by the concert arena.

Want more information? Check out this link: http://www.dubaijazzfest.com/

Dubai is also renowned as a shopping mecca with numerous malls to tempt anyone’s wallet or purse. In addition to this vast array of shopping venues, it is also worth considering a visit to Global Village. Global Village offers visitors a unique shopping experience courtesy of 31 pavilions from around the world. It’s an annual event and this year begins on Tuesday, November 3 and finishes on April 9, 2016. Besides the opportunity to secure a unique gift from around the region you can also enjoy numerous entertainment and dining options. The best way to reach Global Village is by car or taxi. In fact, Global Village is not that far away from the NACADA Conference venue at Zayed University. Admission is only 15 AED and it opens its doors at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and stays open late into the night.

Check out this link for additional information about Global Village: http://globalvillage.ae/en/

In our next blog we will look at some other things to do in Dubai that showcases what the city has to offer. Look out for this blog title; Fun things to do in Dubai…


Conference Planning Committee


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Where to Stay in Dubai…

Have you checked out the NACADA website for the excellent accommodation options available for conference attendees in Dubai next year? There are five hotel options for all ranges of budgets and tastes. Let’s investigate this further about travelling from your hotel of choice to the conference venue at Zayed University located in Academic City.

Due to the location of Zayed University, being just outside of the city centre located in the suburb of Al Ruwayyah in Academic City, the conference will lay on transport from a central point close to your hotel. However, you can also choose to travel to the conference site independently. The best transport option for travelling from one of the five hotel suggestions to the conference venue would be via a taxi. In the table below you will find a list of the hotels and estimated taxi fares and travelling times from each hotel to Zayed University at Al Ruwayyah. These taxi fares and travelling times were calculated using the taxi fare calculator found on the Dubai Taxi Corporation website: http://www.dubaitaxi.ae/en/Pages/Home.aspx

You can even book a taxi via this website, but having said that, taxis are really plentiful around hotels and so, you should not experience too much of a delay in obtaining a taxi. Remember you only pay what is on the meter unless you wish to tip. If you have an Uber account you can also request a taxi using the following Uber website: https://www.uber.com/cities/dubai

Prices quoted below are based on the current fixed rate of 3.67 AED = 1 USD. Please note travelling times are naturally dependent on prevailing traffic conditions.

Arabian Park Hotel, Jaddaf
Oud Metha Road, Near Latifa Hospital,
Bur Dubai, UAE
Taxi fare: 66 AED
Traveling time: 16 minutes
Crowne Plaza
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, UAE
00 (+971) 04 – 331 5555
Taxi fare: 75 AED
Traveling time: 22 minute
Towers Rotana
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, UAE
00 (+971) 04 – 343 8000
Taxi fare: 75 AED
Traveling time: 22 minutes
Al Murooj Rotana
Al Safa St
Dubai, UAE
00 (+971) 04 – 321 1111
Taxi fare: 76 AED
Traveling time: 22 minutes
Premier Inn, Silicon Oasis
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Rd
Dubai, UAE
00 (+971) 04 – 382 1555
N.B. A complimentary shuttle service operates between the hotel and the city.
Taxi fare: 23 AED
Traveling time: 9 minutes

Now that we have presented some transport options to the conference venue for your consideration, let’s look at other transport offerings you may be tempted to use to explore the city of Dubai. Getting around Dubai is easy, even for those new to the city. Nearly everyone speaks English so asking for help, directions is not a problem. The city of Dubai has an impressive transport system including a Metro, light rail and buses which helps carry people to and from work each day in key city zones. If you choose to stay in any of the hotels located on Sheikh Zayed Road these travel options would be an ideal way to explore the city of Dubai. As you can see from the map, the Dubai Metro services the key shopping, financial and airport districts of the city on either the Green or Red lines. A feeder bus service is closely integrated with the Dubai Metro Dubai Mapstations, enabling passengers to reach stations from nearby communities. Look out for bus route numbers starting with the letter ‘F’.

To access the Dubai Metro you are required to purchase a Nol* travel ticket prior to boarding the metro or a bus and these are available from dedicated outlets and ticket vending machines. For residents, the purchase of a Nol* Card is the most cost effective way to access the metro as the savings on fares are very good. However, seeing that most of you will be in Dubai just for a few days and if you wish to ride the Dubai Metro, purchasing a single journey ticket might be the best option with prices ranging from AED 2 to AED 6.50. If you think you may make several trips on the Metro during the day then a daily pass for AED 14 might be a more economical option for you. Don’t forget when you leave for the airport at the end of your stay in Dubai, and if you are staying at the Crowne Plaza or Rotana Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road, you can take the Metro direct to the airport terminal at a much cheaper tariff than a taxi!

* Nol is an old Farsi and Arabic word meaning fare or transport cost.

Our next blog posting will discuss some exciting leisure opportunities for impending conference attendees in Dubai. Look out for this blog title; What’s happening in Dubai…


Conference Planning Committee

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When in Dubai…

Being a resident and having raised my children in the United Arab Emirates over the past 15 years, I can honestly say that this country is a welcoming, tolerant and extremely safe place to live and work, let alone visit. Dubai is a prime example of this where one can see a rich tapestry of divergent communities, cultures, and religions that coexist in relative harmony. This harmony of coexistence is synonymous with the country’s strong and traditional Islamic culture and values. Bearing this in mind it is important for travellers to Dubai to appreciate that while the United Arab Emirates does promote tolerance and acceptance of many cultures, it is still a conservative country and that certain behaviours that may seem appropriate in another country may be unacceptable in the United Arab Emirates.

Let’s tackle the issue of alcohol. Yes alcohol is freely available in Dubai and trust me there are a large number of drinking venues to select from in the city. However, alcohol can ONLY be consumed in licensed hotels, restaurants and nightclubs and as a tourist you will soon realise, that these venues are located at the major hotel chains across the city. So as a visitor, you must remember that drinking alcohol outside of these venues is unacceptable and illegal. In addition, there is zero tolerance for drink driving in Dubai. Not too surprising really as this is the norm in some countries around the world.

Another issue to be aware of is one’s dress, especially for women. Of course visiting women are not expected to cover their hair or wear an abaya*,  but in terms of modesty women should in public areas such as shopping malls or while attending the conference venue at Zayed University, etc. dress conservatively ensuring that shoulders and knees are covered and their neckline is not too revealing. Regarding men and what to wear, it would be considered appropriate to dress in good casual attire especially, if attending the conference venue. In addition, it is also very important to refrain from public displays of affection towards members of the opposite sex. These are just some examples of how important modesty and propriety, as reflected in Islamic teachings, are in Emirati society.

For a more comprehensive discussion of what is socially unacceptable in Dubai, please refer to the following link http://www.dubaifaqs.com/dubai-code-of-conduct.php To be perfectly honest some of the behaviours mentioned in this URL link would be inappropriate, if not illegal, in many countries around the world and so in reality travellers to Dubai should have an enjoyable experience as long as they remember that when in Dubai, you need to be aware of the cultural mores and values of the society and act accordingly.

*A traditional Arabian Gulf robe like dress usually black in colour

Our next blog posting will discuss some exciting accommodation options for impending conference attendees in Dubai. Look out for this blog title; Where to stay in Dubai?


Conference Planning Committee

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Welcome to Dubai! مرحبا بكم في دبي

It is our pleasure to welcome you to the forthcoming NACADA International Conference to be hosted by Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from February 22 – 25, 2016. For many of you this may be the first time you have visited Dubai and accordingly we trust that the ensuing blogs on this website will help acquaint you with this fascinating part of the Middle East. Each blog posting will pertain to a theme and provide you with some important information about Dubai, to ensure that your conference experience is both professionally rewarding and enjoyable for you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any additional conference information or travel tips and advice you may require, prior to arriving in Dubai. Our first blog posting pertains to a brief overview of the United Arab Emirates. It is titled Marhaba* Dubai! (Arabic word meaning hello)

Marhaba Dubai!

Welcome to Dubai everyone! Steeped in a rich history of trading, commerce and more recently tourism, Dubai is a vibrant cosmopolitan destination that has welcomed and continues to welcome visitors from around the world. Because of its geographical location, Dubai offers convenient flying times to other Middle Eastern destinations as well as many European, African and Asian countries. Dubai is renowned for being an extremely tolerant and safe holiday location and for many expatriates, a prime employment destination too.

The city of Dubai is in fact one of seven emirates or states that comprises the relatively new country of the United Arab Emirates, which was founded on December 2, 1971. The other six emirates include Abu Dhabi, which is the capital of the country, Ajman, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujeirah and Umm Al Quwain. The United Arab Emirates lies within the Arabian Gulf and in the past its geographical position established Dubai as major trading hub with other ports in the Middle Eastern and India. The United Arab Emirates is sometimes referred to as a Gulf State and this is because it is one of several member countries that comprises the Gulf Cooperation Council. The other countries include Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. These countries meet on a regular basis and are very close culturally and economically.

Since its foundation in 1971, the United Arab Emirates has witnessed meteoric development in its infrastructure. This is primarily due to the immense wealth generated by the discovery of oil in the mid 1960’s and the prudent leadership and guidance of the late founding President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nayahan. Due to this development the United Arab Emirates is now considered a prosperous and modern country and the city of Dubai has been at the forefront of this progress and its infrastructure and amenities are first class. For a visitor, Dubai offers tremendous holiday experiences with accommodation to suit all budgets and a host of exhilarating leisure activities.

Can’t speak Arabic? Hey that’s no problem, because English is the Lingua Franca here as there are over 200 hundred different nationalities who call the United Arab Emirates home. Yes Arabic is the official language, but rest assured that when holidaying in Dubai you will see that all road signage and shop fronts display both Arabic and English. Because of this large expatriate population, English is spoken widely and therefore any visitor to Dubai should not experience any hardships in communicating with people, Insha, Allah!* (Arabic word used when speaking about plans and events expected to occur in the future).

Would you like another home grown perspective of Dubai and all it has to offer? Then click on the following link http://www.visitdubai.com/en/ and check out what is on offer in Dubai. The website is full of useful travel tips and things to see and do in the city.

The United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf

Region Capture

Our next blog posting will address some important cultural mores and values about the United Arab Emirates. Look out for this blog title; When in Dubai…

Glen Persello
Zayed University



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Putting the Energy into a Plan

I know it was a great conference when, even with the long list of to-dos and the lack of vivacardssleep from enjoying the sights and experiences of Las Vegas (#VivaNACADA2015), I am still excited to put into practice all of the wonderful information I learned. Thank you to all the 2015 NACADA Annual Conference committee and presenters. I learned so much and was energized by your commitment to our profession and your insights and examples.

As I sit here (admittedly procrastinating the email, to-do list, and grading I should be doing), I am reminded of sage advice I once got about how to take advantage of great experiences like the one I just had, “Don’t allow the excitement of a conference to fade before you put toAssesment 10.22.15gether a plan of how to make the most of what you learned.” For me a lot of the things I learned had to do with the exciting realm of assessment of advising. As I was contemplating all of this, I opened my email and low and behold I saw the Winter Events email from the executive office.  I was immediately reminded about my own impactful experiences at both of the Assessment Institutes which I have attended.

Most of my understanding on assessment of advising I attribute to these institutes and this year’s special topics session between the Assessment Institute and the Administrators Institute seemed to be the exact answer to creating a plan for myself. I found myself asking and heard a lot of questions about how to handle and work with the great data we already have and will garner in the future as we carry out our assessment plans. I love how NACADA helps us anticipate and plan that which will help us most. As we all move forward in putting into practice what we just learned and figuring out the best ways to do this, I highly recommend and look forward to working to coordinate and get funding to attend such awesome events which will continue to shape my career and the needs of my office.

Join us for the 2016 Assessment Institute held
February 11-13, 2016 in Mesa, Arizona!

Dan Chandler
Brigham Young University
NACADA Assessment Institute Advisory Board

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#vivaNACADA15 Tuesday Wrap-up

For those of you staying on the strip, Monday night was filled with much excitement: The Forum Shops (connected to Caesar’s Palace) went dark due to the weather. Some were left a little “lost” over there…hope no one else bought a $20 umbrella just to stay dry for the night!


Tuesday morning, before sunrise, our Las Vegas Conference Committee Wellness Chair Kaleigh Mancha and over 100 others participated in a run/walk on the Las Vegas Strip.  NACADA Executive Director Charlie Nutt, outgoing President JP Regalado, and Conference Chair Gayle Juneau-Butler joined the fun.  What a beautiful way to start the day!  No rain, and not too chilly!  With this many NACADA members interested in wellness activities, I can bet that they will be included in future conferences!

2nd run collage run collage @NACADA

single run pic The Commission and Interest Group Fair was also held Tuesday morning during breakfast, where members could meet up with their commission, or look into joining others.  If you weren’t able to get in touch at the fair, you can always go to the NACADA website, www.nacada.ksu.edu/Community/Commission-Interest-Groups.aspx, to get more information on any of the commissions and groups.


Then Tuesday took off with about 180 concurrent sessions, covering topics from Academic Affairs/Student Services Collaboration to Undecided & Exploratory Students.  Gotta show some love to my fellow UNLV Peeps who presented a panel on Non-Traditional Students!  I apologize for not knowing who presented this leadership slide, but I thought it was very relevant to our group:  Academic Advising is not a cookie-cutter undertaking!

leaders slide

UNLV nontrad panel

Today will wrap up with another 90 concurrent sessions to send you home with opportunities to improve your advising practice! We hope your last day is a blast!

Additional pictures of yoga, the run, and others will be posted at https://www.facebook.com/NACADA15

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NACADA Annual Conference Day 2 Wrap-up

Whoa.  4223 NACADA annual conference attendees sure do fill up a ballroom – EVEN a Caesars Palace ballroom!

This morning, the NACADA 15 conference committee kicked off the inaugural breakfast networking session!  Hundreds of early-riser participants connected with each other over egg sandwiches and thoughtful questions.  Given that approximately 30% of this year’s attendees are first-timers, this was a great way to kick-start the 2015 generation of the NACADA family.

Following breakfast, President JP Regalado introduced incoming President David Spight and incoming Vice President Dana Zahorik.  The recurring message from their welcome addresses was that NACADA is a place of belonging and high-touch professional development for academic advisors at all levels of their respective professional careers.  In addition to these opening comments, Executive Director Charlie Nutt thanked the NACADA Board and the NACADA Council.  It was a feel-good, empowering way to start the second day of the conference.

The keynote speaker for the plenary session was Casey Self.  His talk addressed the richness of the educational experience that happen across the student and academic advisor relationship.  As Executive Director of Academic Advising at Arizona State University and past President of NACADA among numerous related roles, Casey was able to delve into the intricacies of the academic advising role as it influences student success.  One major theme of his message is that Advising is Advising.  It was clear that the profession of academic advising is becoming recognized for its unique and significant impact in the academic experiences of students.


Across the day, there were well-attended concurrent sessions.   Many of these sessions were standing-room only.   Also, the Region meetings were held this evening.  In addition, it was the start of the Health & Wellness series.  Kaleigh Mancha hosted a game room for attendees as well as a yoga class this evening.


All in all, it was a productive, inspiring, successful day for NACADA attendees!   The day’s events certainly kept the Old Vegas-styled conference committee busy!



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