First Impressions

Dr. Wes Habley’s keynote address at NACADA’s Region 9 Conference offered engaging insights into both the history of NACADA and the practice of academic advising.  I’m new to both advising and to NACADA, so attending the Region 9 Conference was a real learning experience for me.   “Attrition” and “relationship” were two key terms from Dr. Habley’s presentation that caught my attention.  I believe that an awareness of these concepts will help me be a more effective academic advisor.

Prior to attending the Region 9 Conference, my understanding of “attrition” had to do with math; it’s a numbers game, right?  We keep track of students who stay, and we record the number that go. We try to grow the active student pool and reduce our levels of attrition.  However, Dr. Habley’s definition of attrition was “the process or state of being gradually worn down.”  Aha.  This explains a lot, doesn’t it?  Few students pack up and leave because of one event.  More often, they are “gradually worn down” and exit higher education only after they feel that they have failed or have grown tired of the academic (or bureaucratic) struggle to succeed.

What will keep these students active?  Positive  relationships.

Since academic advisors are the primary point of contact with the student, it is essential for us to build a strong relationship with each student.  From my own undergraduate experience at a large public institution of higher learning, I understand Dr. Habley’s points from the student’s perspective.  An institution is a nameless, faceless entity until a connection is made between the student and a representative of the university or college.  This is real challenge, but creatively meeting this need for relationships will make a real difference.

Helping academic advisors realize their key role in establishing these positive relationships is the key to success for both students and the colleges or universities they attend.

Katherine Carlman
Academic Advisor
University of La Verne

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Bags packed?

Well it’s only a matter of days till the NACADA Conference kicks off in Dubai, UAE next week. Everyone at Zayed University is looking forward to welcoming you all to the conference. This conference program will offer many interesting presentations over the course of the week and of course will be an ideal networking environment.

On the opening day of the conference you mustn’t forget our cultural night festival that will be held soon after the first day of the conference draws to a close. This event, which has been organized by our student peer tutors (PALs), is set to take place on the campus courtyard from 17:30 and will conclude at 19:30. For those of you unaccustomed to Arabic or in particular Emirati culture, this is a must see at this conference with many traditional activities on show. In addition, during the conference look out for our student peer tutors (PALs), who will be wearing green sashes, as they will be more than happy to assist you with any conference related matters.

As this is our final blog posting for this conference, we would like to wish you all a safe onward travel to Dubai over the next few days.

Finally, if you require assistance during your stay at the conference in Dubai please contact any of these numbers:

Ambulance:             999

Taxi Service:             + 971 (0) 4 208 0000
Careem Taxi:            + 971 (0) 4 440 5222

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How do I evaluate a session at the NACADA Conference with a QR Code Reader?

Evaluating a conference session at the Dubai NACADA Conference has just got a little bit greener! In lieu of pen and paper to complete your evaluation of a conference session we are going to trial an e-evaluation by using a smart phone and a QR Code Reader.

So what is a QR Code? Well QR is an abbreviation for Quick Response Code and was invented in 1994 and used initially in the automotive industry in Japan, to help track vehicles during manufacture. Today, QR codes have evolved into the broader community and are now quite common especially in consumer advertising. It’s not unusual these days to see an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper with a QR Code. The consumer is encouraged to use their smart phone, which has an already installed QR Code Reader, to convert the code into something readable, usually a website which provides more consumer information about a product or service being provided.

However, QR Codes can also be used to record information or collate data and that’s how it is going to be used at the Dubai NACADA Conference. First of all if you have a smart phone that is either an Apple or Android device, and if you don’t already have a QR Code Reader installed, we recommend you download the reader using one of these links:

For Apple iPhone users: Please download Quick Scan QR Code Reader

For Android users:  Please download QR Droid Code Scanner

Once the QR Code Reader is installed onto your smartphone it is then ready to be used to read a QR Code at the NACADA Conference. At each session venue there will clearly illustrated copies of the NACADA QR Codes for attendees to use. Look for this QR Code:

Simply click on the app on your phone, which NACADA scan codewill access your inbuilt camera, to focus on the code. Simply place your phone over the QR Code and the phone’s camera will lock onto the code and then by the magic of Wi Fi technology, open up a URL (website) with the NACADA Conference Evaluation details. From this website you can see clearly the three days of the conference and the sessions listed per day. There is a drop down menu under the heading of Session Title with all of the respective sessions. Simply choose the day and session and complete the questions online by simply touching your smart phone screen. Don’t forget to submit your responses.

There will be people around to provide assistance if you experience any problems with this technology and if you don’t have a smart phone or if you are still experiencing any problems with this technology, we will have paper evaluation forms on standby.


Conference Planning Committee

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Breaking News: NACADA International Conference in Dubai

Breaking News: Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi has kindly agreed to be the Patron of the NACADA 2016 International Conference.

Her Excellency, Minister of International Cooperation and Development and President of Zayed University will welcome delegates to the conference by delivering the Opening Speech on Tuesday February 23, 2016. NACADA and Zayed University community isgrateful for her patronage, presence and continuing support of this conference.Sheikhk Lubna Bint Al Khalid Al Qasimi

HE Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaid Al Qasimi is ranked, by Forbes Magazine, as the 42nd out of the top 100 most powerful women in the world today. Check out this link for a profile of HE Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi:

Check out our next and final blog posting for 2015, ‘Celebrations in Dubai


Conference Planning Committee

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How do I obtain a visa for my visit to the UAE, if I am not from any of the countries listed for a visa on arrival?


The Dubai NACADA Conference is fast approaching and by now we suspect many of you are finalizing your travel arrangements for next month. As was mentioned in an earlier blog posting, residents of many countries from around the world are eligible to obtain a tourist visit upon arrival at any port in the United Arab Emirates. This tourist visa is simply a stamp placed into your passport with your arrival date and is valid for 30 days. Upon leaving the country your passport will be stamped once more with a departure stamp.

Here is the current list of countries and therefore, citizens who are eligible to obtain a free tourist visa at any entry point in the United Arab Emirates. The list includes all 28 European Union member states as well as Australia, Andorra, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, United States of America and the Vatican.

If you are not a citizen of the above countries, then you are obliged to make arrangements to obtain a visa before your impending visit to the United Arab Emirates. Please note that neither NACADA nor Zayed University is able to arrange this for you. Here are three options that you can choose from to obtain a visa for your visit next month.

Emirates Airline

Emirates Airline is a partner airline to the upcoming NACADA Conference in Dubai and as such can help you with obtaining a visa. If you book your return flight to Dubai online, there is provision for anyone who requires a visa to obtain one with the assistance of Emirates Airline. Please check the online booking for help regarding this.

Hotel Accommodation

If you are staying at any of the hotel accommodation options as suggested by NACADA, upon booking your accommodation, please contact the hotel and they will be able to organize a visa for your stay. Remember, you will need to mention this at the time of booking your hotel accommodation.

United Arab Emirates Embassy

Another option is to contact the United Arab Emirates embassy in your home country and obtain a tourist visa from the embassy.

We hope these suggestions will assist any of you who may require a visa prior to arrival in Dubai next month. Please do not hesitate to contact us further if you have any other additional queries regarding this or other matters pertaining to your visit to Dubai.

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Celebrations in Dubai

Because of its large and diverse expatriate population, the United Arab Emirates celebrates a multitude of religious and cultural events throughout the calendar year and there is no better place to experience these occasions than in Dubai. First and foremost, the Holy Month of Ramadan closely followed by Eid Al Fitri and later, Eid Al Adha, are important religious observances by the Moslem population in the country. During Ramadan, it’s a time of prayer and refection and it is quite common to hear the greeting, ‘Ramadan Kareem’ which translates in English as Ramadan is generous. At the end of the holy month, there is a celebration known as Eid Al Fitri where families and friends may exchange gifts and often wish each other ‘Eid Mubarak’ which simply means, Have a happy and blessed Eid. As the Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle these religious events vary from year to year and in 2016 are expected to fall during the summer with Eid Al Adha expected to fall during early autumn.

In early December, the United Arab Emirates celebrates its nationhood during two public holidays with civic ceremonies marking the event during the day, followed at night by some impressive firework displays and boisterous and celebratory car parades through the city. In addition, the streets of Dubai as well as some major buildings are adorned with lighting, bunting and banners reflective of the colours of the flag of the United Arab Emirates.

Not had quite enough of fireworks, perhaps? Well come New Year’s Eve you better get in early to secure a vantage point at the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai adjacent to Dubai Mall, as come the stroke of midnight the tower is emblazoned with a spectacular fireworks display that awes the crowds below. This fireworks display has become a must see for residents in Dubai each New Year’s Eve and is often featured on television reports of New Year’s Eve festivities around the world.

The United Arab Emirates prides itself in being a tolerant and welcoming country in terms of accommodating different religious faiths. For example, Indian Hindu expatriates celebrate Divali or as it’s often referred to as The Festival of Lights. Like many religious festivals it’s a moveable feast and is usually celebrated on the new moon on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartika which usually falls from October or November each year. Furthermore, it’s quite common to see houses and apartment balconies adorned with candles and colourful lighting. During December, Dubai’s Christian population celebrates Christmas and by early December many retail outlets in the city are decorated with traditional festive decorations and it is not unusual to hear Christmas carols in many European retail vendors as well. In keeping with the spirit of good will and friendship there are many family reunions by Christian expatriates during this time of the year as the weather is so comfortable with mild temperatures. Rest assured no matter what time of the year you may find yourself in Dubai, there is always something going on that reflects the city’s diverse culture and history.

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How do I get a tourist visa for Dubai?

Tourist Visas

Over the past 15 years tourist visas have been incredibly easy to obtain at any airport in the United Arab Emirates. For most nationalities it’s simply a matter of queuing at arrivals and receiving a free tourist visa that will be stamped into your passport. This tourist visa is valid for 30 days. So for many of you attending the NACADA Conference you will have a hassle free entry to the country via Dubai Airport. Upon departure your passport will be checked again to ensure you have not overstayed your visa and you will receive a departure stamps. Simple, right?

Here is the current list of countries that are eligible to obtain a free tourist visa at any entry point in the United Arab Emirates. The list includes all 28 European Union member states as well as Australia, Andorra, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, United States of America and the Vatican.

If you don’t see your country listed, then you are required to obtain a visa and a sponsor for your visit to Dubai. The sponsor normally applies for your visa on your behalf. Some examples of sponsors that may apply for a visa for you include hotels and tourist companies, friends and relatives already residents of the United Arab Emirates and organizations based in the country.

Therefore, if you do need to apply for a visa please check this URL link that provides you with concise information to help you find the right kind of visa for you and your circumstances.


Conference Planning Committee

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