Minneapolis, Minnesota - 2002

Good morning. I call this business meeting to order.

I want to begin this morning's meeting with a few brief remarks about serving as your president the past year. It's obviously an easier path to follow when so many have helped blaze the trail. If you've been able to read my notes over the past year, you've noticed I really appreciated the privilege to follow in the footsteps of a number of giants of our profession through this office. But through my service as an AACRAO leader, I've found giants are not only held this office, they are all around us. A number of them stood up at the opening session of this annual meeting and without their contribution not much would have happened this past year.

I've also discovered the importance of institutional support in order to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Institutions are our members and it is they that we, as individuals, serve. Their resources are very, very important for our association to flourish, it hard to participate without their support.

And there's another group that is all too often overlooked and must be recognized as well. Our families sacrifice greatly for us to be involved. I want to thank my wife, Saunie, for her support over the past years. It has permitted me to be involved in association activities. Her tireless spark has encouraged and provided invaluable support for me. I couldn't have served you this past year without her devotion and understanding.

When I entered this office I had a number of dreams and aspirations for the year that I shared with you. I'd like to report on their status, as I'm about to pass the president's gavel.

The first target was to enhance Board operations. The effort involved attempting to create a clearer distinction in our labor as your Board, the group of officers that act on your behalf, and the individual responsibilities of each officer. You have entrusted the association's welfare to your Board. It is responsible for planning the activities of the association, for setting policies that assure it operates and continues, and for financial oversight on your behalf. We try to work as group to do that. On the other hand, your officers have individual duties and areas of responsibility. Each of us is working with the executive director to accomplish what was planned. I think we have been relatively successful moving this effort forward. But continuing concentration will be necessary to assure its institutionalization.

At the Town Meeting last night our Executive Director reported about our accomplishments this year. I'm sure you'll be reading more about them in the days ahead as we attempt to reduce a report to writing for those unable to join us this morning.

One other thing we've been able to accomplish is that we've greatly improved the infrastructure of our association. We've developed a system and support in the AACRAO office through tremendous efforts of our staff. Yes, there have been some volunteers that have helped a lot and without their support we would not have been able to build this apparatus. Now we have the infrastructure to support us becoming a knowledge organization. It is so important that we capture our professional knowledge, the essence of what it is to be a profession. We now have a way to capture this information and keep it organized for those that might need it. And I am not just speaking our need, but that of our members, the institutions. The public will also benefit if we can get this recorded.

The infrastructure developed is not just a system; it includes a talented and dedicated office staff that has been tirelessly works for us. These people support and move our organization ahead, attempting to meet our expectations and aspirations day in and day out.

But, alas, there are some things that are yet to be accomplished. One of these is meeting the challenge of The Annual Meeting Scholarship program. Your contributions this year have been generous but still not enough to adequately sustain this project. Your Board will try to act in the best interest of the association shortly after this meeting to carefully consider what to do about this important effort.

Another thing yet to be attacked is to design a methodology to identify our best practices. I apologize to you for not accomplishing that. I hope we can work together on this important task in the future. We have moved toward identifying some common practices. The Adequate Transcript Task Force has surveyed members and through your cooperation has collected much more information than we ever knew before about campus practices to record and transcript student's experiences. Through the identification of common practice we will be able to thoughtfully consider what our future practices should be. And that indeed is what makes a profession, the ability to elaborate what best practices are.

One of the things we have not been able to do as a Board is to be able to provide you complete insight into our planning activities. It's a work in progress. I've tried to write about it during the year so you would have some insight into this effort. I'd like to talk to you for a minute about the strategic planning framework. First, we tried to re-draft the mission of our association for planning purposes - not to change our Bylaws but to better focus our thinking. I want to just speak it out loud because this is what has guided our activities this year.

The mission of AACRAO is to engage its members in the collaborative pursuit of excellence in admissions, records and enrollment services.
We've drafted some goals as a result of this planning mission:

  • We want to develop and document professional practice guidelines and voluntary standards
  • We want to provide comprehensive professional development opportunities based on a continuous assessment of evolving competencies and needs of members.
  • We want to advocate the profession's thinking on public policy issues affecting excellence in higher education.
  • We want manage an efficient and effective organization in concert with allies that share any aspect of AACRAO's mission.

Through these goals and the mission, we have looked at the environment in which we find ourselves today, to prioritize and focus our efforts on a number of critical issues. They stand today as:

  1. We need to develop the information about our profession. This has been the target of our effort to engerize committee efforts and to develop the infrastructure to store and organize our collective knowledge.
  2. Information technology affects us everyday. We are moving toward more integrated business processes on our campuses and that is causing changes in organizational structures and those involved with those processes. In a true sense our profession is changing, requiring us to acquire new competencies and it challenges us to adapt to new structures, ones unknown before.
  3. Another issue that affects us greatly is the increasing diversity of the students and their educational experiences along with the mobility of the population. These place a significant pressure on our institutions and our profession to improve approaches to accepting and applying degree credit. This is an area AACRAO needs to focus much time. We haven't yet but we must.
  4. We also need to integrate the activities of our association with those of our colleague associations. In particular with the state and regional associations to which we belong and that share our interests. I think there has been some progress being made there. I hope the state and regional association feel that way too.
  5. The final issue we confronted this year was the tragic threat of war and terrorism in our country accompanied by an economic downturn. That resulted in unusual amount of uncertainty early in the year. It affected our institutional budgets, our office budgets, and student mobility. It added a number of issues to our workload this year.

The future is bright and I'm sure Heather will do a wonderful job for you this next year. I want to end here acknowledging that without your contribution this past year my being able to serve you in this role would not have been nearly as enjoyable. Many of you have shared your appreciation for my involvement but I have to admit that my work was greatly eased by your active interest and participation. I want to applaud you for that effort. It is your involvement that makes the association go. Thank you for the opportunity to know so many others. This year and has been the highlight of my career.