About NAFA: President's Welcome, History and Purpose

A welcome from NAFA's President


Dear NAFAns:

As the summer turns to fall, and we can take our first collective breath of the new academic year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and to look ahead at the upcoming biennium. We have closed the book on another successful conference in Minneapolis, MN. We had record attendance and, as always, it was a wonderful week to come together to share ideas, best practices, and camaraderie around our noble pursuit of fellowship advising. The chance for us all, advisors and foundation representatives, to charge our collective batteries is always welcome and most appreciated. Our shared stories of the students who both inspire and frustrate us has always grounded me in the value and the great joy in our work. I wanted to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the conference. It was a mammoth team effort. I want to thank all who took the time to provide thoughtful feedback on the conference; our current Vice-President, Cindy Schaarschmidt is hard at work with a team of NAFAns on our 2021 conference in New Orleans, and she is working to make that experience even more impactful for us all. As we grow as an organization, we want to develop our programming to meet the varying needs of our membership. 

Looking ahead to the next two years, we have a lot to be excited about as an organization. As NAFA grows, we have a renewed interest in our own opportunities for professional development and support. I am excited to turn our pedagogical tools that we use for our students' growth toward our own benefit as an organization. We will have an exciting slate of workshops and study tours this summer. The communications team is hard at work on developing a series of webinars for the upcoming year as well. The board will be working on the professionalization of the organization by hiring a brand new professional NAFA staff member to assist with the conference planning. Be on the lookout for the newly approved membership structure this coming year. 

We are also focusing on areas for our collective growth and improvement. I have created new committees to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion and also graduate advisors and their needs. Since I first joined the organization over ten years ago, NAFA has always been about collaboration and support (much to the confusion of friends and colleagues who expect us to be rivals and find the rising tide philosophy we share a bit confounding). Perhaps most importantly for me, and I hope for many of you, NAFA is about relationships-the ones we have with our students, those between foundations and advisors, and of course, the relationships we have with one another. I enjoy your company more than you may know. You inspire me and challenge me to bring my best effort to all that I do. I cannot wait to see what the next two years hold for us, and I am humbled every day to be in this position to serve NAFA, as we charge into the exciting future of our organization.


D. Craig Filar, Ph.D.

President, National Association of Fellowships Advisors

Associate Dean, Director, Office of National Fellowships, Florida State University