Salt Lake City, Utah - 1997

Good Morning!

Ten years ago I interviewed for the position I presently hold at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. One of the questions I was asked during the interview process was Why was I interested in the position? I have been reminded of my response almost daily and it is for the same reason when asked to be considered for a leadership role in my professional association, AACRAO that I agreed. My response was that I liked, and actually thrive on challenges. It seems that everything I've undertaken at one time or another has been because of the challenge. This year has been no different. It could not have been possible without the support of my office, my daughter, the high school senior, and particularly the individual I report to at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. I'd like to take a moment to publicly thank all those people and especially my boss, Dr. Gloria Raines, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who is with us today and who gave me the opportunity to meet those challenges just you have. Gloria, thank you.

Serving as your President this year has been both challenging AND exciting. Past president Henderson referred to it as an adventure. It has been that, too. In my role as president I have had many opportunities to meet with AACRAO members across the country and to represent you in many forums in the U.S. and abroad. I have had the opportunities to interface with representatives from the United States Department of Education, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and to both represent and observe the distinct and positive differences we in our profession can provide to our colleagues abroad. This was most apparent when I had the opportunity to participate in a session in which AACRAO's Directors of Special Projects Betsy Bainbridge presents part of a session on EDI along with individuals from the Netherlands and Great Britain. I saw that we are truly leaders in technology. We have the support of AACRAO and the dedication of our membership that have put us there. Likewise, we are recognized by our own government agencies as the authority in electronic data exchange in education. This is just one of many areas in which we have excelled. We will continue to provide leadership in this area for our colleagues, both here and abroad. As you heard from our keynote speaker on Sunday, the ground on which we walk is shifting rapidly as we hurtle toward the 21st century, now less than 1,000 days away. The hallowed halls of ivy, which are so much apart of our lives, are being challenged by distance learning programs and virtual universities. Remember when putting a man on the moon was a six-year-old's dream? Technology is becoming both our ally and our adversary. It has the potential to enable us to do far more than we have been able to do in the past, with greater ease and efficiency. But it also has the potential to overwhelm us and replace us. For this reason we must be prepared individually, institutionally and as an Association to set the direction that will affect how we do business in the future. Along with this we must work in partnership with those with similar interests. Much of this is happening because of the foresight and direction that began eight years ago.

In 1989 your AACRAO Board of Directors under then president Bob Cyphers recognized the need for a long-range planning process and began that process by developing goals and objectives. The plan, in its current form, recognizes several environmental factors affecting higher education. These include:

  1. Education is being delivered in increasingly different ways.
  2. Colleges and universities are making increasing use of technology.
  3. Information is being made available in new ways. The Strategic Plan clearly states the need for various institutional offices -- such as admission, registrar, financial aid, institution research, and marketing -- to work together to achieve the goals of the institution efficiently. Additionally, it says, The increasing demand for standard and advocacy, as well as rapid advancements in technology, provides opportunities for the Association to exert its leadership role on behalf of all those it represents, as well as the higher education community as a whole.

Since the adoption of our plan, the Board has concentrated on its implementation by tying each item on Board meeting agendas to the Strategic Plan. We can say the same about our budget and the annual business meeting agenda.

However, as your Board acknowledged and deliberated on the rapid changes taking places in education, and their implication for members, it became apparent that AACRAO must move more rapidly to place members in appropriate strategic positions on their campuses for the 21st century. We have called that process transformation. But transformation is just an extension and rapid implementation of our Strategic Plan. This is what I believe your leadership to do and we have embraced this stewardship.

For years registrars and admission offices have expressed concern that new layers of administration were being added above their own position in the institutional hierarchy. We are no longer being consulted on matters of policy. We are continually faced with the very real possibility that many of our positions may be eliminated in just a few short years unless AACRAO as our professional association takes appropriate action on our behalf. Several of our colleagues here today are already facing this challenge.

Many of our senior members feel that AACRAO no longer serves their needs and interests or takes advantage of their years of professional experience. Their professional association is not providing the programs and activities that will help them move into the policy-making arena on their own campuses.

As a board we discussed the pervasive impact of technology on our institution and our professions and that we must integrate technology into all that we do. We also discussed that we need to work more closely with people in other sectors of our institutions, particularly student services, with whom we often come in contact and with whom we share information and data.

Two years ago the Board of Directors appointed Task Force 2000: Towards Century II to work with members to identify the professional programs and activities that could help them in their positions today and prepare them for the years ahead. It appointed the Task Force to Redefine the Role and Function of Enrollment Services Officers and the Task Force on Certification and Credentialing, and began its own examination of the directions in which AACRAO should head. The Board also sought input from experts in the field, such as futurist Michael J. Dolence, to facilities its work in preparing the Association for the future, even as it continued to serve the current needs of members

The members of the Task Force 2000 have been gathering data for over a year now and are beginning to mold what they have learned into recommendations. The National Certification and Credentialing Task Force has unveiled its proposal for a professional certification program which the Board approved at this meeting. The Task Force on the Role and Function of the Enrollment Services Officers and the Virtual Learning Task Force”two separate Task Force “are continuing their work. The Technology Task Force has also made several recommendations.

The Board has moved ahead on a wide range of issues designed to strengthen the Association and its members on campus. You will be voting on many of these issues at this meeting. Your volunteer, elected leaders have devoted much of their time and efforts over the past several years to discussing the mission and future of our Association and its member on campus. You will be voting on many of these issues at this meeting. Your volunteer, elected leaders have devoted much of their time efforts over the past several year to discussing the mission and future of our Association. Knowing we must continue to support our members and members and protect the future of our professions. It was out of these deliberations that the concept of categorizing our roles into six interrelated professional domains emerged. We shared this vision with you in Reno and have been sharing it at state and regional association meetings throughout the past year, and through the Data Dispenser, NetNews, and College and University.

We have sought and received feedbacks from many members who feel they are excluded from the domains because of the labels we've given some of them. Our intent was exactly the opposite-to make the Association and the members it represents more inclusive than the specific job titles used today. Borrowing from information prepared by the National Task Force on Certification and Credentialing the four primary domains might include the following areas:

Enrollment Management
Financial Assistance
Institutional Research

Instructional Management
Records Management
Facilities Management
Institutional Research

Student Service
Career Planning

Information Technology
Data Management
And, we would add, Communication

Instructional Management is the term we coined for the domain of registration and records because of it's inclusivity and its ability to ELEVATE the positions under it on campuses-much as Enrollment Management (already a recognized area) has done in the admission area.

Again, turning to the work of the National Task Force on Certification and Credentialing we compiled responses from AACRAO colleagues to identify terms used to describe AACRAO members, especially those outside the professions. Many of the terms which they identified: roadrunners, clerks, recruiters, bean counters, expendable, inflexible, sales, and gatekeepers, are of a derogatory or demeaning in nature. By using the broader reference in the domain name, we are hoping to overcome these views, show how registrars relate to the rest of the institution, and help to elevate the perception of those in this area. I might mention that the label identified with Instructional Management has stirred more discussion than any of the others and this has been good. We intended the labels as identifiers not as something set in stone.

The impact of globalization of profession and our institutions and the need to extend our reach internationally led us to focus attention on the world American in our name. Technology and the ease of travel have expanded our reach worldwide and our services to our international colleagues. As a Board, we had many lengthy discussions as we searched for a way to reflect our internationalization and the fact that an increasing number of our member do not bear the title registrars or admissions director. We looked at the many titles our member's hold-5,135, to be exact- and concluded that no one term could identify all that we as professionals really do. Technology has expanded our reach and will enable us to offer our services worldwide.
We discussed dropping one word and becoming the Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers. We considered adding an I for international to become AACRAO-I. But neither of these reflected all of the professions now comprising AACRAO. Our current mission statement lists admission, advising, data management, enrollment, management, financial aid, institutional research, learning skills, orientation, records, and registration. In addition we have affiliate, associate and corporate members representing, many other areas. Partnering with others on and off our campuses is becoming increasingly important, and we did not want to exclude people. AND, to be honest, we did not want to lose the visibility we gained when AACRAO appears at the top of alphabetical listings of associations.

We examined what APPA: The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, CAUSE: Association for Managing and Using Information Resources in Higher Education, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators had done and felt it appropriate to follow their lead.
The proposed new name retains our well-recognized and highly respected acronym AACRAO and couples it with a descriptive tag line: The Association for Enrollment Policy, Practice, and Technology. Each word in the proposed tag line was carefully selected, after much discussion, to best describe who we are, what we have done in the past and where we are headed in the future in as few words as possible. Additional words considered included instructional, international, and higher education or just education. Enrollment as it is used here is intended to reflect that we are all involved in some aspect of student enrollment. It is not intended to represent only the area of enrollment management.

Change creates uncertainly in all of us, but failure to change with the times can make us obsolete as professionals. We know you've been discussing the proposed name change. We heard you yesterday at the round table and look forward to the discussion today as an opportunity to hear and address your questions and concerns.

One of the points made abundantly clear in the planning process over the past several years is the need for all of us to do more with less. Hence, our goal to develop non-dues sources of revenue for the Association, couple with the goal to position us in the policy arena and to improve programs and service to members prompted the development of a series of summits, three of which are being held this year, including the international Student Bill of Rights which was presented yesterday that addressed major policy issues. Each of these is providing an opportunity for us to establish working relationships with other associations and organizations and to enhance revenues to support program and services. We are doubling the number of professional development programs we will be offering in the coming year and continuing to offer additional services to members, such as our government relations program, research projects, web site, and document on request system given the proposed revenue neutral budget before you for approval for the coming year.

Finally, we are implementing a five-year planning budget which puts the actual dollars to the Association's strategic objectives. We have tried to share our thoughts with you throughout the year through articles and write papers in the Data Dispenser, College & University, and NetNews; through presenting to committee chair at the July Leadership Conference last year; and through presentations at state and regional meetings. Much of what we have discussed and shared may not have become real to you, our members, until it appeared in the form of proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws and a new budget plan. We hope you understand our thinking and show your support by voting to approve to approve the budget and the changes we are recommending.

In reflection, what have we done? We've set before you elements of AACRAO's Strategic Plan and visions for the future, and we've identified new challenges. Review, if you will, the many elements that I have presented here and see how they are an integral part of our Strategic Plan and our Association.

The membership, through AACRAO¦

* will continue in its leadership role as an advocate for issues affecting the higher education community.

  • will continue to take the lead in developing and disseminating standards and policy guidelines for the profession,
  • and must continually reevaluate its programs and activities to ensure that they meet the needs of members and other constituencies in the best ways possible.
Finally, to those who have serve with me on the 1996-97 Board what has come to the membership throughout the year has been the result of long and reflective deliberations and visions for the future. Your wisdom and counsel are cherished. To my colleague, Fred Fresh, as the incoming president, and those who will serve with you, this challenge I've spoken of becomes yours. It has truly been a pleasure serving with you as AACRAO's president. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.