Admissions Practices Committee In Depth

Admissions Practices Committee In Depth

In the past few months you may have heard a lot about the NACAC and International ACAC Admissions Practices (AP) Committee. So how does this whole AP thing work? Our wonderful Vice President of Admissions Practices, John Wilkerson, has written a blog post to explain it all! We hope you, the membership, will find this helpful and as always, if you have any questions, let us know! Happy reading. - Johanna Fishbein, President of International ACAC

International ACAC members’ commitment to ethical and principled conduct in our work is regularly displayed.  As massive shifts in global dialog unfold, and civil discourse and behavior are often less prevalent among influential world leaders, the importance of conducting our work with integrity and reliability cannot be overstated. 

Late last year, the NACAC legislative assembly unanimously agreed to adopt a new incarnation of the Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).  Now titled, SPGP: NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices (SPGP: CEPP), the standards of consideration and behavior set forth in the new document provide clearer guidance and increased transparency regarding the ethics and governance of the work of association members.   As a membership organization, the code of conduct and the bylaws that govern them are written by and voted upon by NACAC members. 

 “Is this a violation of SPGP: CEPP?”  That question is regularly posed to members of International ACAC’s Admissions/Enrollment Practices Committee, the “AP Committee.”  It’s the AP Committee’s responsibility to examine questions that may arise surrounding practices or behaviors that are questioned by others in our association.  As an affiliate of NACAC, the principles and structures outlined in SPGP: CEPP apply to all International ACAC members, and it’s this document that informs and guides the work of the AP Committee.

Considering the scope and scale of the work of International ACAC members, the number of inquiries received by the AP Committee are large in importance but small in number.  This low number of inquiries is not surprising, as the majority of our members are dedicated to the ethical principles that have helped shape the SPCP: CEPP.  However, when complaints are received, SPGP: CEPP’s Section IV: Education, Monitoring, and Compliance Procedures, provides clear protocols for how they are to be adjudicated. 

The work of the AP Committee is largely outlined in 20 pages of single-spaced text.  That may seem imposing, but the SPGP: CEPP is an efficiently designed document.  The investigation portion of the work can be digested to a few steps.

  1. When a complaint is received by the International ACAC AP Committee, the committee members deliberate and determine whether there appears to be a violation of SPGP: CEPP.  All complaints are processed with strict adherence to confidentiality guidelines outlined in SPGP: CEPP.

  2. If a violation is suspected, the AP Committee Chair confers with the National AP Committee to determine jurisdiction. 

    SPGP:CEPP assigns the investigation to the affiliate where the respondent (the subject of the investigation) is located.  For example, if a complaint were received from a counselor in Brazil about a possible violation of SPGP:CEPP made by a university located in Massachusetts, the New England Association for College Admission Counseling would be charged with investigating the complaint. 

  3. The officiating affiliate AP committee then conducts an investigation.  The respondent has 30 days to reply to the initial request put forth from the officiating affiliate.  

  4. After receiving response, the affiliate AP committee then deliberates.  Ideally, the respondent agrees to make corrections to practices that are out of compliance.  If voluntary resolution is not reached, the affiliate AP committee provides a recommendation to the NACAC CEO as to whether or not sanctions should be imposed.

  5. If sanctions are recommended, the NACAC CEO notifies the respondent and advises them of the appeal process. 

  6. If an appeal is submitted, NACAC’s AP Committee will review the appeal and make a recommendation to the NACAC Board of Directors, regarding the imposition of sanctions.

  7. The NACAC CEO and NACAC Board of Directors, in consultation with the officiating affiliate’s leadership, and the NACAC AP Committee may impose any of the following sanctions:

The role of AP committees is primarily educational.  Throughout the investigation process, the hoped-for outcome in cases where a violation has occurred, is that the offending party resolves to adjust or correct the offending behavior in order to align with SPGP: CEPP.  When that does not occur, and sanctions are considered, they may include:

  • Exclusion from NACAC events
  • Suspension of NACAC membership
  • Termination of NACAC membership

If sanctions are imposed, NACAC will recommend that all affiliates members impose matching sanctions.

Throughout the investigation and processes, SPGP:CEPP requires strict adherence to confidentiality. 

SPGP:CEPP, Section IV. H. Confidentiality

All parties involved in any compliance procedure should keep entirely confidential the fact and substance of all complaints, responses, investigations, information obtained during investigations, reports, decisions, and recommendations, except that NACAC, when appropriate and at its discretion, may post on its website, without comment or explanation, that the Respondent or an institution or other entity is not eligible to participate in NACAC-sponsored events or that its membership in NACAC has been suspended or terminated.

Beyond the standards of ethical conduct and procedural protocols of our association, are the individual commitments exhibited by International ACAC members to the betterment of those who surround us, and to those whom we serve.  In countless actions, to countless people, our members simply do what is right, and behave toward others in ways that support the principles to which we aspire.  It’s perhaps the character, honor, and perseverance of our membership that can best be relied upon to further these goals, and there’s no greater ally to our work than our own composition. 

John Wilkerson is the VP for Admissions Practices Committee of International ACAC and serves as the Director of International Admissions at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

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