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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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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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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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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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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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President’s Corner: The Gift of Our Time

 

President’s Corner: The Gift of Our Time

 

Hello from California,


After an early season of reading and committees on applications, I find myself appreciating the gift of time—time to read for pleasure, catch up on Netflix shows, exercise, or gather with friends. As I try to reaffirm self-care, a significant part of my energy comes from giving back. The various volunteer roles in which I have served International ACAC community have been a way I enjoy spending my time. It has deepened friendships, strengthened skills, and honed my understanding of our ever-evolving profession. I give my time now as President, as many members have given their time to me over the years, and it feels rewarding to build upon the legacy.


Our organization is strong and supportive because of the many members who volunteer. The season of submitting a conference session proposal or chat, joining a conference committee, or applying for a committee or for the Executive Board is upon us. I recognize these are more formal ways to get involved, and perhaps you are one of our many members who stays involved through our Facebook group or encouraging others to submit a session or apply for a leadership role. 


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Member Spotlight: Sarah Loring de Garcia

Member Spotlight: Sarah Loring de Garcia, GEM Award Winner

Name: Sarah Loring de Garcia

Title: Independent Educational Consultant (but hopefully soon I’ll be a Certified Educational Planner… just waiting for my exam results!)

What drew you to the world of international admissions?
I moved to Mexico in 2002 as a science teacher at the American School Foundation of Monterrey, and met my dear friend Monna McDiarmid (currently at UWC ISAK Japan) who later became my roommate. She was the College Counselor, and I remember thinking that her job looked so interesting! When she left ASFM, I applied for the position and was hired in 2006. I did all six courses of the UCLA College Counseling Certificate program in seven months, and did my practicum on the job. It was a huge change, but I’ve never looked back. I love this work. 



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Advocacy Meeting 2020

 

 

Advocacy Meeting 2020

NACAC Volunteers visit Capitol Hill


In my new role as Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach for International ACAC, I am thrilled to participate in the NACAC Advocacy Meeting 2020 held on March 8-9, 2020 in Washington, DC.  We are living through some incredibly turbulent times in global politics, and therefore the opportunity to voice our perspectives with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate has never been more valuable.  As International ACAC members, we can educate US lawmakers about the importance of international students to our educational environment – essential to the experience of higher education in the U.S.

 

The Advocacy Day program offers International ACAC members the opportunity to network with representatives from NACAC affiliates around the U.S. during the educational sessions held on Sunday, March 8.  International ACAC will provide resources to measure the economic impact of international students on a local level, and organize meetings with individual offices to speak directly to the impact of international students.  Additionally, members will receive training for their meetings with Senators’ and Representatives’ offices during these sessions. The meetings will take place on Monday, March 9, and participants will have direct interactions with representatives from congressional offices to advocate on behalf of international students.


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Apply for 2019 Opportunity Grants

2019 Opportunity Grants

 

Do you have an idea you wish you could execute but you don't have the funding? 

Consider applying for an Opportunity Grant from International ACAC! Grants are available up to $3,000 USD to support projects, programs, or proposals that bring resources or professional development to students, families, teachers and counselors around the world when perhaps they would not otherwise have access. 

oppgrant

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2017 Scholar Story from Mabadjam Katawa

How the International ACAC Scholar Program Influenced My Life
and Facilitated Opportunities for Togolese Highly Talented Students

 

As a high school English teacher in northern Togo, my main job has been to teach the English as a second language to Francophone high school students. My journey to counseling and career guidance began when I started looking for ways to bring my support to highly talented, low-income students who often end up dropping out or sometimes attending universities not up to their caliber because of the lack of financial support. I have personally experienced how hard it is to access higher education. I had to stop my studies from time to time to work and get money before going back to campus. And after finally completing my Bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on African literature, I wanted to continue for Master’s and doctoral studies, but was quickly impeded by the lack of financial resources. The little money I could make from my hard work outside school, which I used to pay my school fees and university tuition, could no longer cover all the other expenses (books, room rental, mobile phone airtime and data, etc.). 

I became an English language teacher because I wanted people in my community to learn the English language and be exposed to many opportunities around the world. After I had become a teacher, I looked for ways to help the highly talented students access higher education. I started looking for opportunities online. It took me lots of time and money to buy internet connectivity every day. At first, I had no idea about how the university application processes worked outside of Togo, nor about the different requirements for accessing universities in the USA, UK, Canada, etc. I did not know how to write a strong letter of recommendation or how to guide my students when it comes to writing a good application essay. Google was my teacher and trainer. I downloaded and read sample recommendation letters and sample application essays, I read about the processes and tried to write my own essays, and then coached my students. 


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Survey Results are In!

 

 

Survey Results are In! A Look at the Member Survey

In late April International ACAC polled its members to help advise the executive board on crucial challenges facing our organization.  An analysis of the three major questions we posed is provided below.

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President’s Corner: Reflection, Discourse, and Disruption

President’s Corner:  Reflection, Discourse, and Disruption
September, 2019

Hello from Silicon Valley, 

Tonight while I write, I cannot help but think about the daily fast pace, innovation, and distribution that surrounds me here in Santa Clara, California. As we often work as an institution to remind our students and one another to slow down, let go, love, and to see beauty in all, I am using my own advice to tackle the year ahead. 

As a new travel season for many admission officers has begun with typhoons, hurricanes, protesters, traffic jams, missed appointments, and middle seats, we must remember self-care and safety. I can attest that the beauty in this time of year are the hugs hello or meals shared between members across the world as travels, high school visits, and fairs bring us together. Counselors have been greeted with increased anxiety around the college admission process, ongoing testing challenges, changes in school schedules or course offerings, and learning new software platforms for their daily work in supporting students. The information shared during visits and fairs, the Facebook group’s activity, and Webinar Wednesdays strengthens our membership’s professional development support for one another. It is our relationships that offer calm and purpose during this hectic time. 

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