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Nominee Statement: Vern Granger

Nominee for President-elect:

Vern Granger

Vern Granger
Director of Undergraduate Admissions

University of Connecticut

 

Board members contribute many valuable skills to their work on the board, including leadership abilities, budget or financial planning, communications and media relations, advocacy and strategic planning, and other skills. How does your experience and skill set prepare you to be an effective board member? 

*Statement submitted June 3,2021

I consider myself very fortunate to have worked in the admissions counseling profession for my entire professional career. While our profession continues to evolve, one constant that continues to drive me is the importance of mentoring and the work of supporting students – particularly those from underrepresented communities. The knowledge that what we do directly affects growth in students as they mature from young adults to professionals is at the heart of why I am an “admissions counseling lifer.” As a candidate for NACAC President-Elect, my hope is that through my LOVE of this work I may continue to impact our profession and organization in a positive, forward-thinking way.

Leadership roles at both large, complex institutions, along with two professional organizations, has more than prepared me for this work.  As a first-generation student of color, I realized very early how access to enriching and multifaceted educational experiences would open many future opportunities and focused much of my career on providing the same for all students. This belief transferred to my professional career, and I would always include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a strategic pillar in measuring the success of the organizations I led.

Disparities in access to resources for students and schools provides NACAC an opportunity to become the foremost voice in areas of DEI at our places of learning, and to advocate the urgent need to focus on affordability at our institutions. As such, NACAC will need strong leadership to shape our vision in addressing its role, which includes supporting members’ work with an increased emphasis on the diversity of students. Throughout my tenure, I have demonstrated a track record of developing, and implementing, strategic plans involving a wide array of stakeholders to advance each organization’s mission. NACAC is composed of educational organizations of varying sizes and scopes that also face a myriad of challenges. Despite these differences, we need to understand our obligation to team up in order to positively impact the growth of the students we engage. 

Most recently, the pandemic has accentuated the importance for institutions and organizations to revisit their approaches for counseling and engaging with students, staff, and other constituents in unique and, as of recent, uncharted ways. Additionally, the pandemic has created, and exacerbated, financial issues that exist at many educational institutions and organizations, even some of the most well-resourced. While both are real problems we face, the importance of preparing our professionals for this work has only increased and requires the need for open-minded and strategic leadership to address these great challenges for all members. My wide-ranging experiences in addressing similar concerns should assist in my ability to work with the amazing practitioners and researchers that comprise NACAC’s membership, to focus our efforts in this important work.

I believe the need for a stronger NACAC has never been more paramount, and we have a unique opportunity to enhance our role in “providing knowledge, networking, and ethical standards for the college admissions profession.” As the organization with the power to implement positive change, NACAC must be at the forefront of reestablishing trust and confidence that all students have access to postsecondary education that supports the transition from young adult to professional, in the same way we have benefitted.

 

 

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