Elections

Elections

Dear Members, 

We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and that you are hanging in there as best as possible this year! 2020 is coming to a close and it feels like we just met not that long ago for the Annual General Membership meeting at the virtual 2020 International ACAC Conference! Thank you to those who attended and to those as well who shared their ideas and perspectives at our Town Hall, the NACAC AGM, Listening Tour sessions, and DEIJ focus groups.  

As an International ACAC Executive Board, we have heard your concerns and have taken steps towards a more inclusive and transparent election process. For 2021, International ACAC will be electing a new President as well as four Delegates to the NACAC Assembly. As we as a community navigate these uncertain times as our members continue to support students and the communities they serve, it is essential that the International ACAC Executive Board have a full slate of Board members. The Executive Board’s work will ensure that we are moving forward as an organisation and having diverse voices and perspectives will be key. We hope that you will take advantage of these updated resources:

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President's Column

President's Column

Greetings! Wow, we are almost at the end of 2020 – for better or worse. However you are ending this year, I wish you all health and comfort. We are grateful that you have stuck with us through one of the most momentous years in all of International ACAC history. I remain proud of how our organization has proactively moved in needed directions but I might speak for us all when I say I look forward to the new year. In my world as President, we are about to start our annual efforts to promote our elections to the membership. It has given me pause to think about what membership has meant to me over the years, especially as a member of the Board.  It has only been in the recent few years that our elections have garnered strong interest. When I first ran for the board in 2007, I was the only person to put my name forth for delegate and I was told this was not unusual. At that time, the board was smaller and we met once a year for a few hours before the conference. It was the late Gwen Martinez, who was President at the time, who encouraged me to run for office. I have kept her congratulatory email (dated April 10, 2007!) and remember thinking that delegate was just the right place for me.  Over the next decade, I served in that role for over three terms and watched the organization go from strength to strength and gain depth and breadth. Board service has been a very fulfilling way to learn about the organization and grow professionally as an individual. 

I am indebted to several colleagues who “tapped my shoulder” and encouraged me along the way. I also ventured to put myself out there for positions I thought I might be suited for. The risk is always that I wouldn’t get voted in, or that I wouldn’t get selected and it is the same risk I ask of my students every day as I encourage them to join a sports team or club, run for student council or apply to university.  If they ask me “what if I fall” I answer with “but what if you fly?” As we embark upon our election for 2021, I encourage all of you to reach out to someone to suggest they run for the Executive Board or Committee service. And don’t just tap the person next to you – reach three shoulders down. When I have had the opportunity, I have tried to appoint people to positions who have not had the chance to serve before. It is an initiative I am committed to. 

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Perspectives on the Effects of Covid-19 on the Submission and Review of U.S. College/University Applications

Perspectives on the Effects of Covid-19 on the Submission and Review of U.S. College/University Applications

 

Dear Members,

As many of us are preparing to help students apply to college and/or read the many applications that are received, I thought it would be helpful to gather some perspectives during this year of unending change due to the effects of the pandemic. This document was created by fellow board members and community members in an aim to compile suggestions and tips that may shed light on this cycle of application review. This application cycle presents many new variables that admission officers and counselors have had to manage. While this collaboration is focused on international applicants applying to US colleges and reflects the lens of the US application reading approach, our hope is that it encourages other regions to develop a guiding document of their own to share. 

Dean Mendes
Associate Director of Admission
Williams College

If you would like to help inform our community about the application season in non-US regions, please submit a blog to be published on International ACAC’s website. Send your blog to [email protected]



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Diversity Committee Name Change Response

Diversity Committee Name Change Response

It’s All About the Issue 

In July of 2017, I joined the Ad Hoc Committee Co-Chaired by Erick Núñez and Malika Ramdas. We met for the very first time with the sole purpose to discuss “Issues of Diversity”, a name that would follow our transition into a Standing Committee years later.  From the very beginning, the underlying emotions when putting topics on the table have been as raw as the issues that have emerged. 

There had been pain, there had been hurt and there had been unintended exclusion. Hence the emergence of a Standing Committee that hit the ground running. Thank you Co-Chairs Erick Núñez and Dean Mendes. Thank you Marie Vivas for leading us in this journey.  

By 2019 we all knew and confirmed that there was no easy way to center conversations from the very diverse International ACAC membership, in particular from the perspective of non-dominant voices. We were energized by the intent to celebrate the unique differences within OUR membership and the opportunity to help identify the barriers that prevented the full and even participation of our membership.

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Did You Know?

 Did You Know?


Next week, during our General Membership Meeting, we will be voting on important Association business. 

The Governance and Nominating Committee reviewed International ACAC’s bylaws and inserted NACAC required changes to bring us into compliance with NACAC Bylaws and with their US Department of Justice Consent Decree. We also took this opportunity to update some wording to adjust to the fact that our world has been drastically changed by the reality of a global pandemic. This includes decoupling our business meetings from our in-person conferences, and allowing a membership grace period for colleagues who are changing jobs in the midst of tremendous upheaval in our profession.

This is also a great opportunity to officially change the name of the Diversity Committee as this requires a bylaws change. 

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College Counseling in the Age of COVID

College Counseling in the Age of COVID 

One of  joys of working in a college counseling office is helping our students visualize their future. Clarifying their goals and exploring opportunities, many of which they have never considered. You can see their eyes shift upwards, seeing themselves on a campus, or in a new city, or learning a new language. In the busy life of a high school student,  asking them to stop and consider what life beyond high school looks like can be empowering, but sometimes scary as they consider moving from a fairly structured life timeline to one that is now theirs (and their parents) to decide. 

Here in Singapore, we do an exercise with our grade 11 students where we ask them to visualize their future lives at age 30. Where will you live? What kind of city will you be in? What does your home or apartment look like? Where are you working?  Our students find this challenging to say the least. Teenage brains are not well equipped to think beyond lunchtime, let alone 15 years into the future. 

In the past, for our office, the graduates’ immediate future felt predictable as students chose pathways well trodden by their older siblings to recognisable universities or gap year programs. We felt secure in advising our students towards those institutions.  But in March 2020, Covid-19 threw all of this into disarray, and the uncertainty of the near future became fraught with thousands of unknowns. Will I be able to enter that country?  Will my university be teaching online or in person?   Will my parents be willing (or able) to pay $45,000 USD for an online learning experience?  Are my gap year travel plans completely blown!? 

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2021 Opportunity Grants & Membership Dues Waivers

2021 Opportunity Grants & Membership Dues Waivers

Now more than ever, International ACAC understands the importance of creating connections and fostering a global community. Two practical ways in which our members can support members is through Opportunity Grants and Membership Dues Waivers. 

Opportunity Grants

The Opportunity Grant program, which initially launched in 2018, is designed to support our members around the world as they assist students and families in the search for higher education. As a geographically diverse organization, our membership is operating under new circumstances as they navigate the different phases of the COVID-19 response and impact. With Opportunity Grants now open for 2021, some may be able to plan in-person events in their country, while others will need to rework their program to fit the online format. Previous Opportunity Grant recipients used their awards to assist in funding college fairs, regional counselor workshops, and programs for local students. With a stable internet connection and an electronic device, many of these initiatives can be adapted to the hybrid or virtual setting, potentially expanding and extending the event's reach. A grant that goes towards technology can also make the virtual learning environment more accessible and universal. The 2021 Opportunity Grant application form is open until November 9 and can be found through this link.

Membership Dues Waivers

The purpose of dues waivers is to engage and support less-resourced community members around the globe. Open to both new and existing members, the award is designed to assist our colleagues in gaining or maintaining membership with International ACAC. The 2021 Membership Dues Waiver form is open until December 1 and can be found through this link.

2020 Opportunity Grant Recipients

Congratulations to our 2020 Opportunity Grant recipients!

Susana Aguilar de Urruela - APDE Schools in Guatemala
Funding to support lunches for university representatives attending a college fair.
Shannon Bracken - Ontario Tech University in Canada
Hosting a joint Canadian higher education event for counselors in Doha.

Neeraj Mandhana - The Next Genius Foundation in India
Funding flights for counselors to attend Next Genius Training in Mumbai.
Heather Thompson-Cavalli - Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz
Creating workshops that support regional counselors with the intricacies of the Swiss college application process.

 

Questions about Opportunity Grants and Membership Dues Waivers
can be emailed to [email protected].

President’s Corner: As We Move Into the 2020 Application Season...

The yellow dot. I look down at my passport and see the round yellow sticker that adorns my passport.  I haven’t removed it since March 18, 2020 when I arrived back home to the Shanghai airport from Sweden last spring. There was one of three colors affixed to passports once you landed– green, yellow or red. Green meant you proceeded through immigration and were able to go straight home. Yellow and Red meant COVID-19 testing, then, dependent on a negative result and apartment complex acceptance, you were able to go home under strict government and medically monitored quarantine. I was traveling with my two young children and tried to look strong and confident but I was very frightened as our passports were taken away and we were unsure of what would happen one moment to the next. All told, it took nearly 50 hours from the time our plane landed in Shanghai until we arrived at our flat to serve out our quarantine. Yet, throughout the process we were treated with such kindness and thoughtfulness and I was simply left with the impression that no one in the country wanted to get sick or get anyone else sick.  Everyone followed the rules. As I was preparing to move my family to Zurich, a position I accepted long before COVID-19 hit the world, I felt an immense sense of gratitude towards the city of Shanghai, its inhabitants and my wonderful former colleagues who made me feel welcomed and cared for over the last difficult months.  I also keenly recognized my privilege in never having experienced before the lack of control over my physical and emotional safety.  The memory of that time, the fear and responsibility of protecting my family, is like a small black dot in a sea of the blue sereneness of that period.

In Shanghai, towards the end of May, we were able to live and work without masks. As I entered Switzerland, the country was just introducing masks again. Despite feeling a bit triggered by covering my face again, I feel fortunate to have ridden the wave of “normality” as I have shifted locales.  I am in a school, working face to face with students, trying to help them navigate the shifting sands of university admissions. I am impressed with their optimism and flexibility, just as I was inspired by my Shanghai students’ resilience as they worked through extreme isolation and uncertainty.

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Member Spotlight: Jacquelynne M. Modeste

Member Spotlight: Jacquelynne M. Modeste

Name: Jacquelynne M. Modeste

Title: International Program Director & College Advisor

Institution: The High School Attached to Jiangxi Normal University

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The Structure and Function of the Governance and Nominating Committee

Did You Know?

The Structure and function of the Governance and Nominating Committee. 

In the past two weeks the International ACAC Board approved a motion to amend our Policies and Procedures to restructure the Governance and Nominating Committee. The goal was to expand member representation and to create a more transparent committee member selection process. 

Formerly the Governance and Nominating Committee (GNC) was comprised of individuals from the following areas:

1. Two most recent Past-Past Presidents,
2. Author of the most recent version of the Bylaws, 
3. International ACAC members serving on current NACAC committees or Board of Directors, 
4. International ACAC President-Elect, and 
5. Other (as determined by the Past President)



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Overcoming Virtual Professional Development Fatigue

Overcoming Virtual Professional Development Fatigue

Professional development in our industry is comprised of learning experiences which enable us to grow and educate ourselves in an effort to best serve students, colleagues across the desk, and those in our office. Over the past few months as virtual opportunities have flooded our inboxes, we have all been challenged to find time and space for concentrated learning.

As the annual International ACAC conference approaches, we are mindful of this missed opportunity to connect in-person and step away from our day-to-day responsibilities. In a recent conversation, we realized we needed to be intentional about setting “space” to maximizing this year’s virtual professional development opportunity. With two and a half days of programming, 50+ sessions to select from, and forums that are both live and recorded, we know the learning and networking will be fruitful. 

To get the most out of this year’s International ACAC Conferenceor any virtual conferencebe purposeful with your virtual attendance. Here are some tips:

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President’s Corner: Reflection and Pivots After a Year

President’s Corner: Reflection and Pivots After a Year

Hello,

As I finish my term as President, I write with a heavy heart for the challenging situations we are living through. The continued individual, institutional, and structural racism and injustices that permeate international education and the lasting effects of a pandemic that has crippled access have heightened our need as a professional community to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The two-year antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice on NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices led to the removal of four sections of the CEPP that brought to the forefront the notion of “restraint of trade” among NACAC colleges and universities. International ACAC as a membership organization has not been immune to these difficult times. They are and will continue to be messy, uncomfortable, and painful.

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International ACAC Executive Board Interviews Article

International ACAC Executive Board Interviews Article 

The month of June marks the end of the term for some members of the Executive Board. As we welcome new members to the Board starting July 1, International ACAC wants to recognize the individuals who have served our organization and applaud the work they have done. Below you will find information about these individuals and their numerous efforts over the past few years. 

Aaron Andersen

Director of International Recruitment (AMEA), University of British Columbia, Canada

Role(s) on the Executive Board:

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Member Spotlight: John Liu

John Liu Member Spotlight 

Name: John Yi Liu

Title: Regional Coordinator for University and Career Guidance 

Institution: Yew Chung International School of Shanghai and Yew Wah International School 

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Advocacy in New and Strange Times

Advocacy in New and Strange Times

March 22, 2020
By: Anne K.W. Richardson

The American School in London

I was going to write about NACAC's Advocacy Day.

Two weeks ago, this is what advocacy looked like for me. I was spending my Sunday in Washington DC with college admissions counselors and college/university counselors from across the world, preparing to go to Capitol Hill on Monday to meet with House and Senate members and their aides, to remind them about the importance of international students in higher education – the many and extraordinary benefits they bring to campuses, classrooms, residence halls, surrounding towns and cities.  In cold hard cash, international students inject over $50 billion each year to US states. But they do so much more – and I include here all of our students who have grown up abroad.  Their presence contributes to and expands the cultural competency and global outlook of all, really so much more valuable and lasting than all of those dollars.  In our many visits on Monday, crisscrossing the Capitol, from Dirksen to Longworth, many listened - some more attentively and closely than others - to this strong advocacy for international students.


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Reflection on Town Hall Webinar and Impact of COVID-19 on Secondary Schools

Reflection on Town Hall Webinar and Impact of COVID-19 on Secondary Schools

By: Ning Deng
Vanke Meisha Academy

Changing hats from an audience member to first-time panelist, the COVID-19 International ACAC webinar marked a personal milestone. Of course, I never expected this switch to happen in such a challenging time—the outbreak of COVID-19 spurred my engagement in the Town Hall discussion as an Advocacy & Outreach Committee member. As Christmas is to Westerners, Spring Festival is for Chinese the time to travel home, celebrate and enjoy festivities, and hang out over nice cuisine. However, the “STOP” button was pressed for the 2020 Spring Festival when Wuhan locked down on January 23rd, a day before China’s New Year’s Eve. Life changed for students and teachers at every school in China, unable to return to campuses and with no clear return date. Consequently, new buzzwords of “cancellation”, “online learning”, “college admissions impact” spread quickly among concerned students, parents, and counselors.

A first impact on students has been online learning, which started mid-February with technology support from Zoom, Teams, Dingding, etc. In the webinar, panelists shared counseling best practices such as periodical online counseling workshops/classes/one-on-one counseling sessions with students, virtual parent meetings, WeChat sharing, E-documentation—all of which are keeping students informed and prepared. Panelists also fielded tough questions about online learning quality and assurance measures and how to maintain engaged learning and quality services during this difficult time.

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Member Spotlight Todd Johnson

Member Spotlight 

 

Todd Johnson
College Counselor
Colegio Americano de Quito


What drew you to the world of international admissions? 


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President’s Corner: Disruption, Innovation, & Strength in Community

President’s Corner: Disruption, Innovation, & Strength in Community

Hello from Silicon Valley,

The news of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) continues to lead the headlines across major media outlets around the world. However, in our global community, I am seeing shared resources, virtual connections, and student-centered approaches to offer college counseling and recruitment efforts. Jumping into action to serve is what our members do best. The dynamic and evolving nature of the impacts surrounding the Novel Coronavirus outbreak will continue to continue to result in new policiesor updating practices to meet governmental policies. Staying connected with the International ACAC membership has allowed for dialogue and advocacy, while each higher education institution and school community implements these evolving plans.

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We’re All in This Together

We’re All in This Together

 

By: Sherrie Huan
Senior Regional Manager (China/North Asia), The University of Sydney

When reflecting upon the two Coronavirus Member Forum Webinars run on the 18th February, I couldn’t help thinking of this scene in “High School Musical.”

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Educational Equality in China: How Online Learning During Coronavirus Has Changed the Status Quo

Educational Equality in China: How Online Learning During Coronavirus Has Changed the Status Quo

By: Francis Miller
Director of College Counseling, Xi'an Tieyi High School International Curriculum Center

Make no mistake, much of China is currently in lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. In urban centers, streets are empty and many businesses remain closed. Subways and buses are shuttered or running on limited service. The most visibly functioning public places are supermarkets, but even those lack their usual hustle and bustle. 

While the lockdown continues, educators are doing what they do best: making do with the time and resources available. Public schools across China have been ordered by the Ministry of Education to put off the spring semester, and to tíngkè bù tíngxué 停课不停学 — stop classes but don’t stop learning.

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