NACUFS: The National Association of College & University Food Services
Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Jun 20th, 2018 1:56pm

Only 21 days until we kick off NACUFS 2018 National Conference celebrate our 60th anniversary as a community! Registration is near an all-time high and we have an excellent line-up of learning opportunities, networking opportunities, and 60th celebration events for you.

Keynotes and super sessions this year offer you a wide-array of topics where you can take quality content and learning back to your institution including: 

  • Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – presenting on competition and collaboration.
  • John DiJulius – how a culture of communication, trust and alignment can help you create engaging customer experiences.
  • Ron Paul, Partners in Leadership – how to build a culture of accountability to deliver results
  • Rafi Taherian, Yale University – moderating a media panel on the evolution of collegiate dining
  • Jerry White, Plate Magazine, moderating a panel – how industry research drives and influences trends in the food industry and what you will serve on campus
  • Mike Ritz and Kevin Cooper, Leadership Rhode Island – leveraging the power of your own strength
  • David Schonthal, IDEO – design thinking

This year we also provided our presenters new resources to enhance the quality of learning and assist our members, including a speaker guide and four video micro-lessons on learning. 

In other news, earlier this month our body of knowledge task force spent two days in Michigan wrapping up our knowledge domains and sub-domains to present to you at conference for member input. I was impressed with their passion, knowledge, and spirited discussions to further develop this resource.

 If you recall, the benefits of a body of knowledge to you as an individual are to help you:

  • Assess your competencies.
  • Identify gaps in your knowledge and skills.
  • Select learning programs that meet your development goals or that are relevant to your current work and interests.
  • Define yourself as a professional.

A body of knowledge is also the framework for NACUFS to:

  • Further define & elevate our profession.
  • Guide decisions regarding association resources.
  • Conduct an educational gap analysis & determine next steps.
  • Ensure alignment of all learning opportunities across the association (e.g., conferences, institutes, webinars, etc.).

We look forward to sharing this with you at conference.

The operating performance benchmarking survey task force also met in June. This team worked diligently to update many of our key performance indicators and simplify the tool which will reduce the time it takes to complete significantly. Their commitment to creating a more effective measurement and reporting tool was commendable. More to come on this as we roll it out this fall. As data, metrics, and dashboards become more important to our campus leaders, NACUFS is here to help you remain competitive and relevant.

Our marketing committee has worked diligently to complete an initial case for support to help tell our story of value to campus leaders. Documenting our value and communicating our relevancy to campus leaders is more important than ever.

I invite you to attend our general membership assembly at conference (Friday, July 13 at 4:45 p.m.) where we engage with you in a dialogue regarding a vision for NACUFS.  

As my term as president comes to a close, I am amazed at how quickly the year has passed. Thank you to every member for your commitment to NACUFS and to every volunteer for your hard work over the year. I look forward to seeing you all very soon in Providence!

Patti Klos

NACUFS President

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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on May 2nd, 2018 3:06pm

As I return from whirlwind travels to all our regional conferences and the spring NACUFS board meeting, I’m energized by the member dialogue and engagement around pertinent topics of learning and vision.  I’m similarly empowered by the high quality of work the board of trustees is engaged in.  As the board focuses our attention on setting organizational direction and vision for the future, we are embracing and growing into our role as a high-performance board.  As we do our work, our committees and task forces can work at very strategic levels producing valuable resources for our members like these. 

To support you in your daily work, we continue to engage our members in dialogue around new initiatives.  We recently received quality member input at our regional conferences regarding one of our major initiatives, development of our body of knowledge.

 A body of knowledge is the identified sum of what a professional needs to know and be able to do in order to be successful, arranged by functions of the field and the job tasks required for each function. Many of our peer professional associations have comparable bodies of knowledge to define their professions.  Our members are developing this tool to guide all our professional development initiatives and help you equip your team for tomorrow’s environment.  We will share updates at our national conference and continue to seek your input as we build this valuable tool. 

Another major initiative is boosting the quality of learning for all event attendees.  To do so, early next week NACUFS will launch a number of tools to enhance speaker presentations.  These tools will also help our employees build their presentation skills on campus.  A Speakers Guide will provide a valuable starting point for understanding adult learners, organizing content, developing effective materials, preparing handouts, and delivering effective presentations.  Videos will reinforce content in the Speakers Guide with quick access to information and tools for presentation success including:

  1. How Adults Learn and Why
  2. Writing Effective Learning Objectives
  3. Developing Your Session Plan
  4. The Power of Visuals: Slides

I look forward to seeing you all at national conference and continuing this dialogue focused on our future.


Patti Klos, President


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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Apr 3rd, 2018 1:20pm

Happy spring!

Notions of spring usually conjure up images of green grass, trees in bloom, and longer, brighter days. In our NACUFS world, it also means Regional Conferences! I have had the pleasure this year of attending all four, and the experience has been priceless.

NACUFS is all about the people, our members, connecting and learning from each other, sharing best practices, exciting innovations, headaches and solutions, learning from industry and seeing new products. The University of North Texas hosted us at the Southern Regional in Denton, Texas, and we spent a day on campus. What a treat! Great learning, sharing, and terrific hospitality.  The Continental and Pacific Regions held their conference in Salt Lake City – a complete change of scenery for me from the south – and equally friendly and wonderfully informative. The Midwest Region held their annual conference in Madison, hosted by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and again we had much time on campus to experience their various operations and learn from each other. (Full disclosure – I was raised in the Midwest so it was a double treat to be back in “home territory!”) As you read this, I will be rounding out the circuit at the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Region Conference in Binghamton, NY where we will spend time on the campus of Binghamton University. I have appreciated the many conversations I have had this month with members I have just met as well as those I have known for some time. As I listen and learn from each of you, this helps me lead in my role as president of the board of trustees, committed to a bright future for our association.

Attending all of the regional conferences also afforded me the opportunity to help present our exciting Body of Knowledge initiative. By now, you should have received the Place: developing a learning culture, which is a brochure that provides the results from the 2017 Learning Survey and an introduction to a new NACUFS benefit, an industry-specific Body of Knowledge.  At each conference, we held an interest session where we introduced this concept and held a dialogue with members on what this means for the future of NACUFS. We will repeat the session at the national conference in Providence, and there will be other opportunities to participate and provide input throughout the process.

I also had the opportunity to co-facilitate a session with our President-Elect, Robert Holden, on creating a vision for the future of NACUFS. Again, this session focused on a dialogue with members to get to the heart of what members are most passionate about, what their vision of the future of collegiate dining will be, and what NACUFS can or should do to support continued excellence.

Spring is a time of renewal and fresh beginnings and it is a pleasure being here with all of you. Enjoy the days!

Thank you,

Patti Klos

NACUFS President


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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Feb 7th, 2018 11:13am


At the Food Service Directors’ Symposium in Charleston two weeks ago, 40 operators joined together to share best practices, opportunities and solutions to vexing challenges we all face.  Topics ranged from staffing shortages and training, to elevating the story of our value on campus.  New friendships were made as new faces joined the table continuing to build what our members value most – our network of peers. 

During our session on the vision for NACUFS, common themes reinforced some of what we know – our network and access to peers is our greatest value and professional development is critical to our success.  A new theme that is emerging is how we can best involve our next generation of leaders with their distinctive time and technology demands and expectations.  This excellent conversation will be continued at each regional conference so please plan to join us for this continuing dialogue.

Our marketing committee, chaired by Terry Baker, SUNY at Cortland, met this past week and developed the baseline work for our case for support to elevate dining.  This is a sharp team of next gen leaders who will be the face of our future.  Listening to their passion about what drives us to be the best we can be is inspiring and motivates me to continue to build NACUFS for the future. 

Our body of knowledge task force, co-chaired by Colleen Wright-Riva, University of Maryland, and Dr. Dawn Aubrey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will meet February 18-19 to initiate work on this critical tool which will lay the foundation for all our learning opportunities.  There is more to come on this topic, including a session at regionals so please plan to attend.

A task force to review the operating performance benchmarking survey, co-chaired by Mark Kraner, George Mason University and Christopher Toote, University of Chicago, just kicked off.  This team will explore how to update OPBS, which was last reviewed in 2012 and how we might simplify the tool for greater ease of use for our members. We’ll also be exploring possible dashboards of key performance indicators to describe excellence throughout the collegiate foodservice industry.

Our spring series of webinars is a Focus on Health and Wellness.  Please note the following topics and dates: Plant-Based Menu Strategies April 10, Accommodating Allergies and Celiac Disease on Campus April 24, Using Social Media to Highlight Menu Items that Support Healthy Eating, May 8. 

Finally, our regional conferences are just around the corner.  I look forward to seeing you and meeting you if you’re new to NACUFS.  This is a great year to celebrate and look forward.  Please join me on our journey!

Thank you, 

Patti Klos

NACUFS President


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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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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Nov 1st, 2017 1:49pm

Fall has arrived, the weather is turning and as we prepare for winter, NACUFS is gearing up for new initiatives. The board of trustees held our fall meeting this past week at our new office in Lansing. It was an excellent meeting filled with positive energy, traction, and all the elements of a high performing board. Board work is currently focused on vision, strategy, and building a culture of accountability. All decisions are to be aligned with vision, mission, desired ends, and key results.

As a board, we devoted time to vision. Our mission is to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining. We aspire to become the source, the place, and the voice for the success of dining services professionals. And, we are engaging in discussions about vision. How will the world will be different as a result of our contributions and how we will position ourselves in the larger world? What is our story of excellence and how do we tell it on our campuses and to the world? The conversation was bold. We look forward to engaging you in these conversations at our regional conferences.

We know on our campuses that we touch the lives of students every day and are part of the fabric of our institutions. We are also accountable for measurable results. Board work is being devoted to confirming those key results and aligning our entire organization to delivering on those outcomes.

The board approved the recommendations encompassed in the learning strategy report from the education committee. The education committee successfully implemented new decision-making models and carried through a very successful process to bring data-driven recommendations for the board to decide upon. We want to congratulate them on being an exemplary group of individuals who managed an arduous task, while applying their individual competencies to achieve an outstanding outcome for the association. This work represents the input of over 40 volunteers and is a huge step forward. Priorities for the near future include:

  • Establishing a task force to develop a body of knowledge
  • Further definition of the operations/management learner audience and attending to the broader learning needs of foodservice directors
  • Deploying a standard evaluation form, beginning with the regional conferences in March 2018
  • Developing and deploying speaker support and training, beginning with the 2018 interest session speakers for national conference in Providence
  • Exploring sustainable business models for current and new learning opportunities at NACUFS.

Stay tuned for an open call for volunteers next week for the Body of Knowledge task force. This team will be charged with working with an association learning consultant to develop a body of knowledge for collegiate foodservice that describes what designated professionals need to know to be successful, for use in making association-wide strategic decisions regarding NACUFS learning opportunities. A body of knowledge articulates what a professional in the field needs to know and be able to do to be successful. It differs from professional standards which are a comprehensive listing of effective practices.

The board also approved an Operating Performance Benchmarking Survey (OPBS) task force. This team will be charged with making short-term improvements to OPBS to help operators perform their day to day jobs better and to help them educate campus administrators about our operations. They will also lay groundwork to define key performance indicators that tell our story of excellence. And they will explore future trend data opportunities. Stay tuned for an open call next week for this team as well.

In other news, the 2019 national conference task force kicked off their work last week in Denver. This team, chaired by Janet Despard, is our first nation-wide team. They will continue to build on the improvements introduced by the 2017 national conference task force to continue enhancing the quality of our learning. Finally, preparations continue to our 2018 regional and national conferences as we look forward to celebrating our 60th!


Thank You, 

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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Oct 4th, 2017 3:13pm

NACUFS – Award Winning Association

Did you hear? On Thursday, September 14, Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) honored NACUFS with a Diamond Award (the highest honor in its category) for its myNACUFS membership campaign, which utilized our members’ stories to create current member engagement and acquire new members. For NACUFS, people and data created noteworthy results. The success of this campaign is indicative of where we are headed and how we intend to get there. As we strive to continue growing as a high-performing board—building a culture of accountability that we can replicate on our campuses—this experience demonstrates how we’ll succeed. First, the board delegated this work to staff and a volunteer-led committee. This award-winning campaign wasn’t a one and done event; rather, it took five years of attention to prospective member research, data analytics, and disciplined execution. The campaign met or exceeded expectations on all three objectives of our strategic plan (i.e. financial net return, appropriate capacity, and membership growth). Moreover, the campaign itself was driven by measurable website analytics that support our strategic objectives.

As importantly, it included human touch and personalization. Thank you to Gen Hickey and Lisa Krausman who led the committee during two transitional years as chair of the membership committee along with all committee members. Together, we are an award-winning association!

Appointment to Fill Open Board Seat

We received five strong applications for the open board seat. Given our short window of five days to apply, there was a very positive response and an exceptional application pool. The caliber of candidates has made this a difficult decision. The appointment will be announced next week.

Thank You,


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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Sep 7th, 2017 1:09pm

A new school year has begun—for most of us—and you can feel it.  There’s excitement in the air as our campuses come back to life. Students are back, new programs are underway, and operations are up and running full steam.  As hectic as the start of the year can be, I find it useful to pause to reflect on what we, in our fast-paced environment, can do to slow down and have dialogue about managing the future for our staff, students, and campuses. As with summer preparations at our colleges and universities, NACUFS leaders kept the momentum going on several strategic initiatives for the association.


As I mentioned in my previous blog, we are focusing on the education strategy and why it’s important to our members. Later this month, the education committee will be meeting to review the learning survey results and the summary report from our education stakeholders’ retreat. The board will review the committee’s recommendations in October to establish the strategic pathway for NACUFS’ education.

What does that mean for our members and their teams? NACUFS members want and need to be actively engaged in the process of learning, in any setting, in order to retain and apply new knowledge.

We’re all looking for content that is relevant to our work. We want content that addresses our specific challenges. We seek ways to relate the content to what we already know, so we can understand and build upon it. We’re looking for content that promises a practical and immediately applicable outcome. And, we want to contribute our own thoughts and experiences, sharing our ideas and hearing the ideas of others.

Just recently, during mandatory allergy training for our staff, an associate commented that they felt challenged by the material, saying “there is so much to remember at the start of the school year, after having been away over the summer.” I stopped to think about the expectations we held for our staff, and how they were able to absorb and apply knowledge. I was relieved when they went on to say that they didn’t mind too much, because at least they would put what they were learning to use right away, since the lunch counts were going to go from 200 daily to 1200 practically overnight.  Well timed, well developed, relevant information is what we all seek in order to do our jobs well.

Learning is becoming inseparable from daily work and life. NACUFS is striving to be the leader in learning for our members. I am excited about the continual research and dialogue around member learning needs. The education strategy will complement our strategic plan and mission, ensuring excellence in member learning.

I will continue to communicate the progress, highlights from the learning survey, and the final education strategy. I am dedicated to showing you why being a NACUFS member will continue to be one of the best investments for your staff, students, and institutions.


As the board of trustees continues our work, one of our responsibilities is to appoint for vacancies in the office of at-large trustees for the remainder of unexpired terms when vacancies occur. We will be doing so, as we were recently notified by Alecia Stultz of her decision to resign from Kansas University to pursue other personal and professional opportunities. We are grateful for Alecia’s commitment to NACUFS over many years and her contributions and service on the board. Her knowledge, history and experience with NACUFS added value to board discussions and deliberations. We wish her well in her future.

The board will seek a candidate who meets the board approved competencies. We will also consider the work ahead for this year to balance the board composition. There are two other individuals from the Midwest on the board so geography is not a determining factor. This will be a short-term, interim appointment through July, 2018. According to the bylaws, the individual appointed to serve shall not have the time served to fill that position count towards his or her term limits. 

We will seek input; however, we will not conduct an open call for nominations due to the time constraints posed by this resignation. If you have questions, please contact me directly at


Continue to read and share our e-newsletters with your team, so you can follow closely the stories of your peers and association news. As a reminder, submit your news here: for inclusion in our e-newsletter and social media outlets.

Please be on the lookout for my monthly blog, the first Wednesday of every month. Next month, I’ll include an update on the education committee meeting, as they prepare to go to the board with their recommendations, strategy, and timeline. We’re prepping for 2018, celebrating our 60 years as an amazing association – a community of campus dining professionals, serving our students by creating positive and memorable experiences for them each and every day. 

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Posted by Mrs. Patricia Lee K. on Aug 9th, 2017 3:14pm

Dear members,

It was wonderful to see you all at the NACUFS® 2017 National Conference! Here we are already in August! I’ve had the honor of being your president for just four weeks now, and I am feeling the positive momentum set by the presidents before me. We have come a long way in just a few short years of setting our 2020 strategic plan. I want to take this time to update you on a few major initiatives. Please read all the way through for important updates as well as information on the Customer Satisfaction Benchmarking Survey (deadline to participate is September 18).

Last week, our regional directors and directors-elect met at our new home in East Lansing, MI. This was our first volunteer meeting in the new space, and we were all very pleased with the accommodations. With NACUFS continuing its transition from a managing board of directors to a governing board of trustees, the regional directors discussed how they see themselves as conduits, connectors, and change agents to engage the membership and facilitate communication. Their role is instrumental in maintaining alignment with our strategic plan. I’m thrilled with this group’s excitement for what’s ahead—and for what’s possible.

As a follow-up on developing our comprehensive education strategy, the education committee will be meeting in September and the strategy is slated for board approval in October. After the board approves, we will share the results of our learning survey in upcoming blogs and other communication vehicles. NACUFS strives to provide you and your team with best possible professional development opportunities to help your programs succeed!

As we continue to work on member value and telling your stories of success, I also want to remind you of a very important deadline. All voting delegates will be receiving a mailer in the coming week encouraging you to take advantage of the Customer Satisfaction Benchmarking Survey. This survey provides a customized report giving you the data to tell your story of value on your campus. If you haven’t participated in the past, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this unique member benefit.

This year, we added three new student questions: 1.) How important was the perceived campus dining experience in terms of your decision to attend this institution? 2.) How important is the actual campus dining experience in terms of your decision to remain at this institution? and 3.) How important is the campus dining experience (i.e. wi-fi, social interaction, comfort, etc.) in terms of your academic success at this institution? You’ll also want to note that we updated the survey’s mobile app to provide a better user experience. You won’t want to miss out on this incredible opportunity to gather data to support your programs, innovations, and your own campus mission. THE DEADLINE TO PARTICIPATE IS SEPTEMBER 18.

To register or learn more, visit:

Together, NACUFS members are focused on the mission to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining. Help us help you to tell your stories of success to your students, your administration, and the public. NACUFS is the Voice, the Source, and the Placeoffering you the most incredible opportunities and connections to elevate your purpose and define the highest level of excellence in the foodservice industry.

Wishing you all the best as you prepare to welcome your students for another successful and exciting year!

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