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CEO Update: End of Year Recap

By Joyce E. Smith

CEO Joyce E SmithBefore I recap NACAC’s very eventful year, I must begin with a sincere thank you to all members, leaders, and staff for engaging in special ways throughout 2016.  Managing the FASFA shift, the change in test offerings, and the launch of a new admission application, along with the political and social unrest on our campuses and communities, made for an unsettling year.

I saw a term in a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education–"productive discomfort"–that suggested that if handled well, discomfort can prod change. As we reflect on the past year and look forward to 2017, I encourage you to read an article from our national conference keynote, Dr. Patricia McGuire in which she acknowledges the change we have experienced but provides hope for moving forward. As noted in a recent message to all members, I am committed to advancing NACAC’s legacy of supporting the profession and the students and families we serve.  

The Year in Review

The CEO Report is a snapshot of association activities of which members may or may not be aware. With less than one month remaining in the year, NACAC’s 65-member staff is winding down many department activities and gearing up for 2017. Deputy Chief Executive Officer John McGrath and I will assess the end-of-year status of programming and budgets and provide the Board of Directors with a firmer projection of fiscal and programming goals achieved in the weeks to come.  

2016-2017 Board of Directors

NACAC is blessed to have yet another outstanding governing body guiding our association.

At its November meeting, the Board of Directors approved annual goals, discussed and approved the final framework of the Strategic Plan for 2017-19, approved the 2017 budget with a focus on fiscal responsibility, participated in a presentation from Hobson’s Stephen Smith and Mary Docken, and engaged in a four-hour training experience focusing on conscious and unconscious bias. It was an exceptional meeting managed by President Nancy Beane.

NACAC Accomplishments

In addition to ongoing programming throughout the association, the NACAC staff embarked on a number of new initiatives that required a considerable investment of human and fiscal resources to achieve our goals.

Review of the Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP)

The Steering Committee on Admission Practices, under the leadership of Todd Reinhart, University of Denver, was charged with examining the SPGP, the Education, Monitoring Procedures and Penalties (EMPP), and related documents. A writing subcommittee met in November and expects to issue a draft in early 2017. Members will be encouraged to comment on the proposed new content and framework through their affiliate conferences in preparation for the national conference in Boston, where we may seek action on the revised code of conduct.

National Counseling Council Start-Up

In response to the needs of school counselors, NACAC has played a major role is shaping a new national council that includes NACAC, ASCA, NCAN, The College Board, ACT, CACREP, College Advising Corps, ACA, and several other counseling-related associations. A new website and new report, Building College Access/Admission Counseling Competencies: Review of the Coursework was recently released. More work is underway to collect and offer resources for all counseling professionals via the website.

International and Three Pilot STEM Fairs

In addition to slate of National College Fairs and Performing and Visual Arts Fairs offered each fall and spring, the NCF department staff and the appointed the STEM Committee, chaired by Jonathan Hoster, undergraduate recruitment specialist at Syracuse University (NY), planned and launched three new pilot STEM fairs in Houston, New York City, and San Francisco in 2016. Staff has new ideas to enhance these offerings in 2017 in response to feedback from families and the participating educational institutions.

NACAC also launched a successful Vancouver International University Fair in May 2016, which will be offered again in 2017.

Selecting and Implementing a New Customer Database

Replacing the outdated CRM system was a major internal undertaking. Staff has implemented a system called NimbleUser, geared toward the unique needs of associations. We have reviewed ongoing program and business practices and fine-tuned registration and financial transitions for users. The first online membership renewal process was conducted in October with over 15,500 renewals completed so far.  

Creating New Association Website(s)

So many factors come into play when you change one thing. Consideration for a new CRM and its functionality tied into the website and the need to update/upgrade the functionality of the site for member engagement. NACAC launched its revamped core website and the new National College Fairs microsite in mid-November. The national conference microsite now under construction will launch in 2017.

International Advances

Efforts to enhance NACAC’s visibility in the international community and support for membership needs began three years ago.

There is now an International Standing Committee, under the leadership of Anne Richardson, Kents Hill School, and several resources to assist members. Planning is underway for a new preconference international gathering in Boston in 2017. The recently released Guide to International University Admission helps counselors and families navigate the confusing search and application process for international postsecondary institutions as more and more US students seek education opportunities abroad.

The Guide expands the list of resources produced by the Department of International Initiatives, which already includes:


Membership Options Research

Over the years, NACAC established a very complicated hybrid membership structure with over 100 sub-codes for membership categories for institutions, districts, individuals, and organizations. In the weeks to come, segments of the membership will be surveyed to explore the importance of our governance structure, the relevance of voting and non-voting status, who should be in our membership, and more.

The association will initiate research to gather information to help guide discussions on which membership model provides the broadest appeal and preferences for our association. Qualitative research will also help the leadership consider a new membership model and potential dues structure.

National Conference

The national conference in Columbus was highly successful with 6,665 attendees.

The NACAC Board of Directors selected the conference locations through 2022.

Education and Training

The Education and Training Department is committed to delivering relevant, rigorous, and timely educational programming to NACAC members and constituents. Programming emphasizes excellence and sustainability while strengthening current relationships and advancing new institutional and individual relationships. Along with the Professional Development Committee, the Education and Training Department provides direct assistance with and oversight for content delivered at the national conference.

The department also offers year-round training opportunities for members, including webinars, Essentials onsite program of professional development for public school districts, Emerging Admission Professionals programs at National College Fairs, and in 2016, Critical Components.

Membership and Affiliate Relations

Renewal invoices for 2017 have been sent to all members. For the first time, these were sent via email instead of mailing paper invoices. The total number of members as of Nov.1 is 15,533.

The membership staff is also working on a member census campaign to be launched in mid-December. Members will be encouraged to update their profile to allow for more targeted communications within our membership segments.

Public Policy

The Public Policy Department provides advocacy and content on policy issues related to college admission counseling. The annual Advocacy Day for government relations committees and assists with state-level advocacy efforts will be March 6 in Washington, DC.

This is only a small portion of the work underway but I hope this summary helps inform you of our efforts on your behalf.  Happy Holidays for those who get a break, and Happy Application Reading for those who do not!

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