It is such a privilege to write to you in my first message to members as chair of the NACAC Board of Directors. I am so fortunate to serve in this role and to work with such passionate professionals on the board and NACAC staff.
Last week, the NACAC Board of Directors convened at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for our annual strategic retreat and fall business meeting. Immediate Past Chair Ffiona Rees was a gracious host. On behalf of the board, I thank her for her generosity in opening her home campus to us for these important conversations.
I am delighted to continue the tradition of sharing post-board meeting updates with you. The NACAC board is committed to increasing the flow of information with members and creating greater transparency in our work and decision-making.
Governance work is critical for NACAC as a non-profit association, but even as fiduciaries, we must take a step back to think big (and bold) about the future of NACAC and how it serves the profession. What have we learned in the past year? How can we respond to the needs of our members—particularly those historically underrepresented by the association? What are current and emerging trends to watch? We were grateful to be joined by members of the NACAC leadership team to help us contemplate these issues.
We kicked off our meeting with an update from NACAC CEO Angel B. Pérez. He shared reflections on the past several years—noting both challenges and opportunities. His presentation addressed the leadership principles he used to guide his strategic thinking during an unprecedented time in the organization’s history. He also updated the board on NACAC’s progress toward goals.
We then shifted to a conversation about the future of race-conscious admission practices. The board welcomed Jim Rawlins, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management at the University of California San Diego, and Gary Clark, interim vice provost at UCLA, to share lessons learned from the University of California system. In the mid-1990s, California’s Proposition 209 prohibited the consideration of race, ethnicity, and sex in public education. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank Jim and Gary for sharing their expertise with us and offering insight on how the association can support and be responsive to member needs in the months ahead. NACAC is committed to serving as a resource to our members for developments around the cases and will hold informational programs over the next several months.
The board continues to explore opportunities for revenue generation through external partnerships and collaborations, as well as philanthropy and grants. We invited an expert in association fundraising to join us to think about how the association can continue to build on our momentum with grants and creatively seek new funders for our mission-driven work.
Finally, we reviewed results from NACAC’s member needs assessment. Thank you to the more than 4,600 respondents who participated. These results provide important insight into the perspectives of our diverse membership, especially as we continue to develop customized content according to member types, such as secondary school counselors, community-based organizations, independent education consultants, and more. Among the important data points shared, we learned that the greatest challenges faced by college admission counseling professionals are burnout, increased complexity in the admission process, lack of transparency in the admission process, and employee retention. Using these data, NACAC has bold plans to develop resources to support professionals in overcoming these challenges. Look for more about this in the year ahead.
At the board’s business meeting, we had a full agenda, including standard business items and important aspects of our fiduciary responsibility to the association and our membership.
Fiscal Year 2023 Budget
The NACAC team has continued its work to recalibrate the association’s budget post-pandemic. Last year, they constructed a zero-based budget by challenging historic assumptions and realigning revenue projections. They cautiously balanced recalibration with strategic and innovative investments in technology and advocacy.
For 2023, the board recognized that for NACAC to thrive and respond to the evolving needs of members and the profession in the years ahead, we must continue to invest the resources necessary for NACAC’s success. The board is unwavering in its commitment to financial stewardship, but recognizes that to thrive, NACAC must move toward growth and investment to better serve members. Conversations about the fiscal year 2023 budget will continue in December, at which time we also expect to approve it.
2023 Board Goals & Priorities
At the beginning of the month, the Planning Committee of the board convened to review progress on its 2022 ongoing priorities and goals and identify them for the new year. Like the Planning Committee, the full Board of Directors noted that while there was much progress to celebrate, there is still much to do.
- Continue NACAC’s evolution and application of best practices for board governance.
- Bolster efforts to strengthen NACAC’s affinity, affiliate, and volunteer leadership programs.
- Advance NACAC’s ongoing efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within the college admission counseling and enrollment management professions.
- Ensure NACAC’s vision and mission, research, and membership feedback guide initiatives to increase engagement and provide customized content across membership types.
- Lead the national conversation regarding race in holistic college admission, as well as provide resources to and support members post-Supreme Court decision.
- Pursue and strengthen NACAC’s philanthropic endeavors through grants, fundraising, partnerships, and beyond.
- Continue to respond to the professional needs of public high school counselors and admission officers from Historically Black Colleges & Universities.
These goals will inform the work and initiatives of NACAC staff as well as the board’s decision-making in the year ahead. We remain focused on ensuring that every decision we make is inspired by our members and in service to the profession.
On behalf of the NACAC Board of Directors, I hope you find our continued communications useful in understanding our role as both fiduciaries of the organization and ambassadors for members. We are passionate for and committed to NACAC’s mission and vision and look forward to working alongside you in the transformative work of guiding and supporting students on their unique journey to post-secondary education.
I am honored and privileged to serve as NACAC’s chair of the board and hope to hear from you in the year ahead. Please never hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Chair of the Board