NACUFS: The National Association of College & University Food Services

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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Jan 10th, 2018 2:26pm

Greetings and Happy New Year!

As we enter 2018 I’m excited about what’s ahead for the year. As we celebrate our 60th anniversary we will look back to celebrate what made us great. Our focus is now to the future, to build on our foundation to ensure that we remain relevant and excellent for the next 60 years. In doing so, this year will be marked by several key milestones and initiatives.


First, we will engage you, our members, in a discussion about vision. Given the accelerating pace of change on our campuses and in the world, the problems we faced yesterday are different than what we’re facing today and will encounter tomorrow. Anticipating what’s ahead, what do we as the NACUFS community, need to prepare for to remain relevant? Let’s envision a future that is bold and affirmative while being honest about our willingness to grapple with complex and overlapping issues such as shrinking and strained resources, talent management, declining enrollment, technology, global competition, and sustainability. Our own accountability will determine our relevancy and success for decades ahead.

You’re Invited

I invite you to join us at our regional and national conferences to share your thoughts and dreams about a bold vision for our future during a session on vision. Similarly, join us for a second session devoted to the development of the body of knowledge, and details about our learning strategy and survey results. This is an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and ideas about learning and deliverables.

Finally, please make plans to join us at our national conference in Providence where we will celebrate each other and our vision for the future.

the PLACE: Learning Community  

Our learning strategy is complete. As we continue to set the bar for excellence on all collegiate dining campuses, NACUFS is making a strategic shift from focusing on educational events to focusing on lifelong learning. This includes an examination of how NACUFS delivers relevant content to our operations and management staff, optimizing schedules through various delivery channels. Our next-gen leaders have very different expectations around learning and we will need to meet them where they are to remain valuable and give access to more people. 

A major initiative this year will be development of a body of knowledge for collegiate dining. This influential work will be the definitive body of knowledge for the profession to elevate the bar for all collegiate dining programs and professionals. Through this work, NACUFS will develop a clear picture of associate job responsibilities, career paths, and developmental needs for our members to succeed in a changing environment. This task force will be led by Dr. Dawn Aubrey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Colleen Wright-Riva, University of Maryland. 

the SOURCE: KPI Dashboard

Excellent performance is measurable. Last year we made improvements to the Customer Satisfaction Benchmarking Survey where we now collect data on the extent to which dining services contributes to student attraction, retention, and success. This year, we will examine our Operating Performance Benchmarking Survey. We are laying the foundation for key metrics which can be used to position dining services on our campuses with senior leaders. We are exploring a dashboard of key performance indicators to articulate metrics by which we will all define excellence. Be on the lookout for a member survey on data and key performance metrics this spring. This Task Force will be led by Mark Kraner, George Mason University, and Dr. Christopher Toote, University of Chicago.

the VOICE: Your Story

NACUFS aspires to continue telling your story of excellence to the world. It is our role to tell the stories of how NACUFS members have a positive impact in the lives of students on our campuses, in nutrition, wellness and sustainability for generations ahead, and in academic excellence and community building at our institutions. This year we will take concrete steps toward this aspirational goal with a video encapsulating our story—past, present, and future—to be featured at our national conference. We will also write a case for support for dining services that will enable us to be more proactive with the media and be a template for you on your campuses to tell your own story of value. 

CONNECTIONS: Association Management System (AMS)

NACUFS has successfully completed an audit of all systems, which outlined many necessary improvements not only for functionality but for member relations as well. Staff completed individual assessments of finance, awards applications, event registration, membership renewals, advertising purchasing and website integration. A new system will be acquired to create a better member portal as we continue to build a virtual community. Members will have better access to each other through NACUFS back of the house improvements allowing us to connect and tap our passions and talents, while networking as a community. 

As always, your feedback is welcome! Please email me if you have input or questions or would like to talk in more depth at

Thank you,

Patti Klos

NACUFS President

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