Message from the Chair

May 2024 NACAC Board Meeting Update

In our effort to support each other and our members, the NACAC Board of Directors meeting this month blended board business with time to connect on the daily challenges we encounter in our work and time to socialize with NACAC staff. It was inspiring to be around people who care so much about our members! We hope you are finding ways to balance the demands of your work while taking time for the people and activities you care about most.

During the two-day meeting, the board welcomed guest speakers, heard updates from staff members on major initiatives, and provided strategic direction on critical aspects of the association’s operations. I am pleased to share meeting highlights with you.

State of associations

The meeting began with a panel discussion on the state of higher education associations with guest speakers Beth Maglione, executive vice president at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), and Ken Redd, senior director of research and policy analysis at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). Both being former NACAC board members and current members of the Leadership Circle, they understand the role of the board. They offered insights into the challenges for higher education associations, with a discussion that ranged from public opinion of higher education to the enrollment cliff to advocacy.

When to make a public statement

As public pressure has grown for universities and nonprofit organizations to release statements on major world events, the board discussed and agreed on guiding principles to help NACAC leaders determine when it is appropriate to make a statement on breaking news events, disasters, policies, or other high-profile situations. The guiding principles are intended to help NACAC align the use of public statements with the association’s purpose. Similar to how the board established guiding principles for event site selection, we now have guiding principles for public statements.

CEO update

During NACAC CEO Angel B. Perez’s update to the board, he reviewed how NACAC continues to progress as an association through expanded education and training offerings, increased philanthropic support, an evolved approach to advocacy, a focus on staff growth and development, and efforts to increase global engagement. He was also heartfelt in sharing his concern for how geopolitical events, divisive politics, and the FAFSA delays continue to impact our members. He shared his deep concern for the wellbeing of members and reminded us that the theme of this year’s conference is timelier than ever.

Evolving NACAC’s advocacy

NACAC’s Director of Advocacy CJ Powell shared the latest information with the board about how the team is working to create more resources to support state-level advocacy and make it easier for more people to get involved with communicating their priorities to legislators.

Center update

NACAC’s Chief Education and Policy Officer David Hawkins provided an overview of the latest stage of development in pursuit of NACAC’s plan for a new center for reimagining college access. With funding from Lumina Foundation, NACAC is working with consultants from Education First to create a blueprint for the structure and strategic plan of the center. Once established, the center will leverage the power of knowledge and innovation to benefit students and increase equitable college access.

Additional updates

The meeting finished with committee reports and a discussion of potential appointed board members. Thanks to the incredible support of our members, who last year approved amendments to the bylaws, the board can now expand the experiences and perspectives we bring to the table to help with governing the association. The board can have up to five appointed board members, which is an opportunity to appoint people with varied expertise for the benefit of our increasingly complex organization.

The board’s next meeting will be in Los Angeles as we gather for NACAC Conference 2024. Until then, please get to know the candidates running for board service so you’re ready for the annual member vote this summer.

It’s an honor to serve with my fellow board members. Every time we gather, we are reminded of the strength of the NACAC community. Thank you for your service to the profession and our association!


Angelica Melendez
NACAC Board Chair