What a week! Your NACAC Presidents, NACAC Board, affiliate leaders, and the over 140 people who participated in Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill all came together in Washington, DC, in early March. It was an incredibly busy but exciting few days, and I think all of us came away feeling that we gained new perspectives and are ready to do our best on behalf of our colleagues and the many students we serve throughout the world.
Through it all, the NACAC staff was absolutely incredible! I’m not sure many members have any idea how hard this group of individuals works behind the scenes. With an organization of almost 16,000 members in so many different areas of the world, staff members are the glue that holds us together, working hard every day to implement the decisions we make and to support our profession.
We continue to recognize the concerns before us in today’s complex world. From the almost-completed NACAC strategic plan and SPGP, to the new US president and administration—there are important challenges ahead with all the intellectual, political, social, and economic issues that beset our admission world.
So what did we accomplish in our meetings this month? Here is a quick summary of our week’s work. We welcome thoughts, questions, and concerns as we continue these efforts together.
- NACAC’s presidents (current, past, and president-elect), under David Burge’s leadership, finalized and obtained board of directors’ approval of new committee members for our 11 standing committees. Seventy-eight members applied for 21 spots, and choosing members who represent our membership was incredibly hard. New standing committee chairs include: Liz Cheron, Admission Practices; Stefanie Niles, Current Trends and Future Issues; Phil Trout, Governance and Nominating; Bill Hughen, Member Relations; and Terry Knaus, Professional Development. Ka’rin Thornburg was asked to continue as chair of Inclusion, Access, and Success for one more year. All have agreed to serve, and their new committee members have been contacted and are in the process of accepting their new positions.
- The Planning Committee, chaired by Gwen Kanelos, continued work on finalizing specifics of the new strategic plan. The NACAC board has already approved the four pillars: I. Advocacy for Access, Diversity, and Inclusion, II. Professional Standards, III. Professional Development, Research, and Knowledge, and IV. Organizational Effectiveness. Work continues on particular tasks under each section and will be shared in coming months.
- The Performance Committee, chaired by Jayne Fonash, discussed the 2018 Budget assumptions developed by staff and the Finance Committee, examined membership dues structure possibilities for 2018, and obtained board approval for these reports. Director of Finance Joan Burdette presented the latest figures on last year’s revenues and expenses. We also received an update on the 2017 budget.
- The board looked at the work of the Steering Committee on the SPGP, and the latest draft of that work has now been distributed to the entire membership for comments. Please note that member comments are due back to NACAC by April 28. It is important that as many of you as possible weigh in on this important document.
- The board heard presentations on governance from Richard Legon, president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, on a new study of NACAC’s membership categories from an expert consultant on nonprofit organizations, and on new research from the National Student Clearinghouse from our board colleague Doug Shapiro.
- Affiliate leaders under Presidents Council Coordinator Tara Lebar’s leadership held their winter meeting right after the board finished its work. One highlight of the meeting was a two-hour, interactive session with Ali Michael of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, who led a workshop on challenging racism and stereotypes.
- The Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee met in the same hotel during this week and discussed important initiatives they are taking the lead on and hope to see many other members undertake. Several of us sat in on parts of their meetings, and the energy and enthusiasm they had was exciting to see. Other standing committees have already met or will meet soon to continue their work.
- Advocacy Day trainings were held with important updates and printed material that more than 140 members (the largest number to attend in recent memory) from states and the international arena then took to Capitol Hill on that Monday for discussions with staffers for various members of Congress.
As I think about the week’s work, I am reminded of all that our members do, in this country and around the world – in our “day jobs” but also in our conferences, drive-in workshops and mini-camp colleges, NACAC and other college fairs, CBO efforts, financial aid programs, mock admission programs, social media, and on so many other fronts. I trust that all of us believe that the work we are doing is as important now as at any time.
We are many different people, working in incredibly different arenas, giving our best. We don’t always agree politically, socially, or personally, but I think it is safe to say we are in this profession because we care about students and the power of postsecondary education to help them find meaning and success. We have “miles to go before we sleep,” but we have the ability and skills to accomplish much together. Once again, I am honored to serve as your president.
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