President's Column: Announcement of the Ad Hoc Committee on Leadership in College Admission

President Fonash provided an update to this column on Nov. 15, 2019.

By Jayne Caflin Fonash, NACAC President

At the NACAC conference in September, we made decisions we never imagined having to make. Yet in the interest of preserving our voices, the integrity of NACAC, and the role this organization has played as the ethical compass of our profession for 80 years, we took steps to bring an end to the Department of Justice inquiry into our Code of Ethics and Professional Practices (CEPP).

Now we have the chance to address the changes that have been buffeting our institutions and professional organizations for years; the challenges they pose to the work we all do; and most importantly, the opportunities they present. Moving forward, as NACAC president, I see a pivotal opportunity for our association to lead the effort to strengthen the future of our profession. We have talked for years about the fundamental need to reinvent the college admission process as higher education continues to increase in cost and decline in public trust. In the face of the crises of the past year, it is time to chart a path forward.

NACAC is the responsible leader of these conversations on the future of accessible, equitable, and affordable postsecondary education. To that end I have assembled a group of thought and action leaders to form the Ad Hoc Committee on Leadership in College Admission. The members of this ad hoc will question accepted realities, seek solutions that may well be found outside the usual compass, and consider the opportunity to do things that we could not have done before. They will envision what the future of accessible, equitable, and ethical postsecondary education looks like and determine what changes are needed to make that vision a reality. Questions/topics the committee will address include, but are not limited to:

  • How will we pay for it? Is it possible to admit a diverse class and still balance the budget? What role will funding, discounting, and financial aid models play?
  • What does admission look like with attention to antitrust laws?
  • How do we recruit, reach out to, and enroll students?
  • How do we prepare our students for postsecondary education?
  • What do we consider in making admission decisions—testing, grades, personal history, documents, and letters—and how do we make that process open and fair to all students?

The committee will expand this conversation and chart a path for NACAC members and stakeholders to implement healthy, necessary change in the admission process. It will be asked to prepare a preliminary report for the NACAC Board of Directors by spring 2020, with recommendations of big ideas and themes to pursue in greater detail. As its work continues, the committee will develop a road map of steps to advance this conversation and share outcomes and suggestions with NACAC membership as well as additional admission stakeholders. Ideas may include crafting a white paper, offering webinars, developing presentations for the 2020 National Conference, or producing podcasts to solicit thought-provoking ideas about the future. Finally, the committee will prepare a status report for the Board of Directors by September 2020 and make recommendations for continuation of the work of this ad hoc, if appropriate. Whatever the delivery method recommended, these results will inform our membership and lead the way for the future of professional practice in college admission.

As we embark on a year of change and transition for NACAC and for our profession, I am grateful to the individuals listed below who have agreed to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee on Leadership in College Admission.   

  • Angel Perez, vice president for enrollment and student success, Trinity College (CT), Chair
  • Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication, Lawrence University (WI)
  • Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management, Oregon State University
  • Rick Clark, director of undergraduate admissions, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, vice provost for enrollment management, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Rafael Figueroa, dean of college guidance, Albuquerque Academy (NM)
  • Amy Jarich, international specialist, University of California, Berkeley
  • Cassie Magesis, director of college readiness, The Urban Assembly (NY)
  • Janet Marling, executive director, National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students
  • Katy Murphy, director of college counseling, Bellarmine College Preparatory (CA)
  • Ffiona Rees, senior associate director, evaluation and international admission, University of California, Los Angeles

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