Guidance and Admission Assembly Council Explores New Programs and Policies During Recent Meeting
Guidance and Admission Assembly Council Explores New Programs and Policies During Recent MeetingAbby Hexter
The Guidance and Admission Assembly Council (GAAC) met in New York City, May 13–14, 2014. The GAAC is a group of member professionals that considers issues and actions related to providing educational opportunities for all students at crucial transition points in their academic experience to help them succeed whenever or however they enter higher education. During the GAAC’s most recent meeting, the council discussed several important issues and programmatic developments, including:
- Examining ways to better engage College Board delegates
- Communication strategies around Access to Opportunity™ and the redesigned SAT®
- New programs including AP Capstone™ and the College Financial Information Program
- SAT and college application fee-waiver policy
- Higher Education Act Reauthorization recommendations
The council also discussed possible speakers, discussion points, and session topics for College Board Forum 2014. Philip Ballinger, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Director of Admissions for undergraduates at the University of Washington, College Board Trustee and Chair of Guidance and Admission Assembly Council discusses the work of the council below.
College Board All Access: What are the top priorities of the Guidance and Admissions Assembly Council and how do they reflect major issues affecting guidance professionals right now?
Phillip Ballinger: I will highlight only a couple of the many priorities. Clearly, the College Board is on the move, and the pace is rapid. We are concerned with growing and fostering member engagement.
David Coleman has been both clear and accurate – the efficacy of the many student access and success initiatives of the Board will depend in large measure upon the engagement of the members.
With good reason College Board leadership stole Frank Ashley away from Texas A&M to head up this effort as Senior Vice President of Membership and Higher Education Engagement. One of his first initiatives will be centered upon onboarding new delegates of the various assemblies. Frank has also made it very clear that we have a lot of work to do in communicating more effectively and usefully with College Board members in general.
Of course, a new SAT is in our future. Implementing such a significant shift affects students, teachers, and administrators at every level – one can imagine all the practical issues that could and will arise. GAAC is a superb gathering of colleagues from high schools and colleges of every type to discuss these issues together, and to make helpful suggestions and recommendations to those responsible for the implementation.
CBAA: Talk about some key takeaways from the council meeting. Were there any surprises throughout the discussions? Were any topics particularly divisive among council members?
PB: Yes, we did have some surprises – positive ones. We are encouraged by the entrepreneurial leadership in place at the College Board. Of course, to be entrepreneurial is to also be creative and willing to take risks. People have different thoughts when it comes to some creative thinking.
For example, what could be the role – if any -- of various types of corporations in the College Board’s initiatives around student access and success? When could there be conflicts of interest or possible mission drift at play? The dynamics between a broad engagement of societal resources of every kind -- whether public, private or corporate -- and the good of students are complex, and members of GAAC have definite (and various) opinions about what is and what is not appropriate. My GAAC colleagues are not a shy bunch!
CBAA: Are there any new topics on the horizon that assembly members can expect to see on the agenda for the next meeting?
PB: Certainly testing and related items will be in the forefront. Also, assembly members will hear about and engage much more with developing access initiatives.