The Opportunity

Just over 110 years of age, AACRAO is one of the nation’s oldest and largest membership organizations. In the span of a century the organization has advanced from its original 15 members, who held their first meeting in 1910, to a multinational membership organization representing over 11,000 individual members and 2,600 institutional members in 40 nations. Its mission is to provide professional development, guidelines, and voluntary standards to be used by higher education officials regarding the best practices in records management, admissions, enrollment management, administrative information technology, and student services. AACRAO represents institutions in every part of the higher education community, from large public institutions to small, private liberal arts colleges

AACRAO has remained focused on providing members with professional development opportunities requisite for meeting industry change and best practices, as well as information on the changing regulatory environment and trends in public policy. Throughout its history AACRAO has been a dynamic organization, adapting and updating its services and professional development opportunities as higher education has evolved.

Today, AACRAO is at an exciting juncture in its history. With its broad reach and scope of expertise, it is well positioned to both lead and innovate during an unprecedented period characterized by the interplay of accelerated change, uncertain funding streams, and a national call for increased accountability and access. To this end, AACRAO is seeking a forward-looking executive director who appreciates and is energized by the opportunities presented by the contemporary challenges faced by higher education institutions and associations.

The Position

Role of the Executive Director for AACRAO

Reporting to the AACRAO board of directors, the executive director serves as the association’s chief executive officer and is responsible for the leadership and management of the association, and of its office and employees. The executive director provides leadership in the development of the association’s vision, mission and goals and of the corresponding strategies, plans and budgets to achieve them;  advises, makes recommendations to and assists the board of directors in formulating policies for the association; and monitors the development of strategic plans, priorities, performance measurements, management controls and critical success factors, ensuring the effective design, marketing, promotion, delivery and quality of the association’s programs, products and services. The executive director supports the operation and administration of the board by advising and informing board members, facilitating communication between board members and staff, working to achieve the goals set by the board, and participating in the assessment of those goals. In addition, the executive director recommends the annual budget for Board and membership approval and prudently manages the association’s resources within the association’s budget guidelines and in compliance with current laws and regulations; develops and maintains an effective staff organization that provides appropriate policy and program recommendations for consideration by the board of directors and efficiently delivers services, programs and information beneficial to the members.

Additional responsibilities of the position include:

  • Directs the operations of the AACRAO office and directs the work of the associate directors and senior members of the staff;
  • Serves as the association’s executive liaison with other higher education associations and the federal government and acts as the association’s spokesperson with the press; and
  • Identifies opportunities and establishes strategies for securing external funding of association initiatives.

History of the Position

AACRAO executive director Mike Reilly will retire in June of 2021. Reilly has served as AACRAO’s executive director since 2012. Prior to coming to AACRAO he served as the executive director for the Council of Presidents, an association of the six public baccalaureate degree granting institutions in the state of Washington.  Mike has 25 years of experience in university administration, admissions and enrollment management, including having been the associate vice president for enrollment management at both Central Washington University and Humboldt State University.

During his tenure, AACRAO has undergone major transitions and undertaken some unique and exciting projects, such as the purchase of office space in D.C., the development of core competencies and proficiencies, and the Comprehensive Learner Record.

Jerry Sullivan served as executive director from 1998-2012. Jerry previously served as director of financial aid at the University of Colorado Boulder and Iowa State University, and spent a year at the Department of Education in 1995 to lead the streamlining of the student aid delivery system. Jerry guided AACRAO through very lean years and built a strong financial foundation for the association. During his tenure AACRAO focused its attention on electronic standards, privacy issues in higher education, distance education, comparative international education research and transfer credit.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The next executive director will join the association at a critical time as AACRAO transitions from a position of reacting and adjusting to the COVID-19 crisis to a proactive and forward-looking stance that embraces the new opportunities that can arise out of a period of upheaval. Additionally, fluctuating federal and state priorities, the upcoming demographic shifts and concomitant enrollment challenges will continue to reshape the work of enrollment management professionals for years to come. The executive director will be expected to quickly formulate and articulate a positive vision for AACRAO that will transform and strengthen mission and service to the membership. Top priorities to be addressed as outlined by key stakeholders include the following:

Diversification and sustainability of funding

The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the changing landscape of higher education broadly, has placed significant financial strains on Council of Higher Education Management Associations (CHEMA) member organizations, and AACRAO is not immune to these dynamics. In-person conferences and events have been moved to virtual offerings in the short term, and existing conference contracts and commitments will require a high degree of creative and confident oversight. The new executive director will be expected to collaborate closely with the board of directors and AACRAO staff to explore and cultivate new, diversified avenues for sustainable and predictable funding. In order for the association to be successful, the executive director must have a strong entrepreneurial sense, and an ability to identify and leverage significant sources of revenue apart from membership dues and in-person conferences/events.

Corporate partnership

AACRAO understands that current and prospective corporate partners and sponsors are under extreme pressure to justify their spending and their partnership, and to be successful in a rapidly-changing and competitive business environment. The association has an opportunity to make changes that will transition the corporate partners program into a valuable relationship that will provide sustainability for AACRAO, value for members, and value for corporate partners. In July, 2020 the association received a final consulting report that identifies a specific plan to transform the corporate partners program. The new executive director will play a significant role in implementing the recommendations.

Member engagement

The executive director will be asked to increase member engagement, with particular attention paid to supporting and delivering value to professionals of color, members from small institutions, and emerging professionals. Stakeholders also expressed a desire for greater representation and involvement from admission professionals. Finally, AACRAO’s evolving relationships with the state and regional associations, and with those overseas, will also need thoughtful attention in order to strengthen and diversify the association’s perspectives and impact.

Intellectual leadership

An important aspect of AACRAO’s service to its members is its function as a thought leader and information source. The association also adds value by conducting relevant research, analyzing professional trends, creating opportunities and channels to share ideas and best practices, and producing and curating knowledge. The executive director must understand the profession’s historical, contemporary and emerging issues at a high level and be able to put in place procedures and mechanisms to quickly and efficiently harness the thought leadership within the organization.

Advocacy role in public policy

Given the prominent role that higher education has played in the broader national agenda, particularly during the last 10 – 15 years, AACRAO must maintain and strengthen its presence and influence in public policy deliberations. The executive director will be expected to be an adept public spokesperson, communicating confidently about such issues with the membership, and ensuring that the association continues its leadership role in these conversations, interacting frequently and persuasively with the national media, U.S. Congress, foundations and federal officials. The capacity to build on AACRAO’s existing strong relationships with all of these sectors is paramount.

Digital delivery of professional development offerings

Recent surveys of the membership have brought to light the need for accessible and high quality continuing education and professional development offerings that support the career advancement of the members. In response, AACRAO staff are engaged in creating a badging and credentialing system and are moving aggressively to make professional development offerings available through digital channels. The COVID-19 crisis has further sharpened the imperative for high quality, intentional training and development programs.

Organizational structure and management

Stakeholders describe the AACRAO staff as dedicated, collegial, talented, and hard-working. They are often faced with “doing more with less” and are being stretched to fulfill their multiple responsibilities. The current staffing model would benefit from an evaluation of the reporting structure currently in place. Furthermore, stakeholders indicated the need for the implementation of a human resources system or operation to better support staff development, performance management, and organizational priorities.

External collaborations

Stakeholders across the association spoke energetically about the importance of identifying and taking advantage of opportunities for AACRAO to be proactive and strategic in seeking collaborative opportunities with sister organizations within CHEMA.

Measures of Success

The following items will define the new executive director’s success over the first few years of employment:

  • successful integration into the culture of the organization;
  • quality of relationships, communication with, and support for internal stakeholders and members;
  • quality of relationships with the leadership of related organizations, government agencies, and the higher education industry;
  • development and implementation of long- and short-term strategic plans to position AACRAO to be responsive and proactive in a changing environment;
  • development of operational plans to ensure alignment between board and staff on agreed-upon initiatives and outcomes and effective and efficient organizational operations;
  • enhanced support for volunteer management, recruitment, engagement, and recognition;
  • stability, morale, development and exceptional performance of the professional staff;
  • responsible stewardship of the organization’s financial health and identification of prospective new revenue sources; and
  • demonstrated ability to listen carefully to all constituencies and develop an understanding of their interests, issues, and needs.

Qualifications and Characteristics

A bachelor’s degree and successful leadership and management experience at a senior level with fiscal responsibility for an enterprise with a large staff and significant annual operating budget are required. An advanced degree and experience in non-profit organizations or mission based for-profit organizations, educational institutions or association management are strongly preferred. In addition the ideal candidate will possess demonstrated success in effectively leading change and organizational growth; significant experience in fiscal management; a track record of hiring outstanding people and building a strong team; demonstrated public affairs skills, including electronic and print media relations; the ability to work collegially with senior management and staff, board members, members, and external partners; and a substantial understanding of current national issues in higher education. Demonstrated success in promoting and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels and functions of an organization is essential.

Additionally, the following characteristics, experiences, skill and abilities were identified by various stakeholders when considering the executive director position:

  • Significant and proven leadership skills developed through several years in senior management.
  • Vision, management expertise and administrative experience essential to leading a complex organizational unit.
  • Provide stability and direction with high energy, enthusiasm and informed, decisive action.
  • Experience working in partnership with boards and staff leadership to address issues of both strategic direction and organizational operations, and practices an inclusive decision-making and open communication style.
  • Prior experience in implementing initiatives in line with strategic plans.
  • Financial experience sufficient to address broad institutional financial issues, reallocate resources for emerging or underfunded needs and provide overall stewardship for the association.
  • Experience in a successful non-profit or mission-based for-profit organization and an understanding of both a functional business unit structure and an association management structure.
  • Empowers the management team and holds that team accountable, while giving them the authority to fully carry out their roles and responsibilities.
  • Listens carefully and accepts advice and criticism, yet is willing and able to act independently in matters of principle and integrity.
  • A builder of community, of partnerships, and of successful working relationships with internal and external stakeholders at the local, regional, national and international level; driven by developing relationships and strengthening ties throughout the organization and its partners.
  • Experience with policy development, influence and advocacy along with a commitment to playing an active advocacy role in the shaping of public policy.
  • Refined skills and experience in reaching out to relevant stakeholders in order to position strategic messages successfully including strengths in marketing, sales, public relations and public affairs and the ability to advocate effectively and judiciously in the best interests of admissions, records and enrollment services.
  • A continuous eye to implementing opportunities that strengthen diversity and equity in all its facets to foster an inclusive environment for an organization.
  • A clear understanding of the importance of strategic association alliances and the ability to build and maintain bridges on behalf of the association; a coalition builder.
  • Excellent writing, speaking and presentation skills.
  • Self-confidence and professional poise to provide authoritative and persuasive answers to complex questions.
  • The ability to articulate clearly and effectively AACRAO advocacy positions and to respond to differences of opinion in a politically savvy manner that engenders collegiality and inspires the confidence and respect of members, colleagues and external constituencies.
  • An understanding of how technology can best be employed to advance both the goals and efficiency of the association.
  • Personal qualities that reflect the mission and values of the association, including integrity, energy, respect for diversity, an entrepreneurial spirit, the ability to create common ground among diverse constituencies, the ability to inspire and motivate and a personal passion for higher education.

Institution & Location

Overview of AACRAO

AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education professionals who represent approximately 2,600 institutions in more than 40 countries. The association promotes the well-being and advancement of professionals in the higher education community by engaging members in the collaborative pursuit of excellence in admissions, registration and records management, and enrollment services. The association provides relevant programs, professional development tools, and information resources necessary to chart the course for professional success.

Membership

AACRAO is a member-driven organization shaped and directed by education professionals throughout the United States and abroad. Colleges and universities, almost equally divided between public and private institutions, account for the majority of the membership. The largest group of members is from four-year institutions, and the majority of the membership is from the not-for-profit sector. Two year colleges account for 23 percent of the membership, and another 10 percent are graduate schools or others. Nine percent of the membership represents private, for profit, institutions.

Detailed information on the AACRAO membership from 2007-2018 is available at https://www.aacrao.org/who-we-are/mission-vision-values/demographics.

Governance

AACRAO leadership and direction is sourced from membership. The organization’s ten-member board of directors is elected by the membership annually by electronic vote.  The membership comes together each year at the annual meeting to conduct the business of the organization.

AACRAO’s board is committed to managing the association in a manner consistent with the mission and accepted standards for a non-profit organization, providing high value services to institutions, individual members and affiliates, ensuring financial viability for the organization and developing a strategic plan which advances the AACRAO mission by providing the highest quality commitment to professional development, research, advocacy and services. A list of the 2020-21 board of directors is available at https://www.aacrao.org/who-we-are/leadership/board-of-directors

AACRAO’s activities are managed by the executive director, as well as the national office staff, and those activities take place in concert with committees composed of members. Currently, each of the committees is chaired by an AACRAO member, and reports to the board of directors. Board meetings are called by the association president and the full board meets in person at 3-4 times each year. The executive director attends all meetings of the board of directors and provides a monthly update on activities to the board.

Office and Regional Associations

The AACRAO national office is in Washington DC, located at 1108 16th St NW. This location is a great advantage for AACRAO staff in their work with membership to provide information on regulatory changes, compliance, federal relations and industry developments affecting higher education. The location also enables easy collaboration with other influential membership associations that serve higher education, including and especially the members of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat.

In addition to the national organization there are 39 state and regional associations throughout the United States. While not directly affiliated with these associations, AACRAO is related to each association through the work of the state and regional relations committee and the board.

Organizational Structure (click to enlarge)

In addition to the extensive structure of state and regional associations throughout the nation and the world, AACRAO has a professional organizational structure which supports the efforts in Washington and in the field by providing significant publishing, advocacy, research and professional development on an on-going basis. The executive director is responsible for leadership and oversight of 35 professional staff members and an annual operating budget of approximately $10 million.

Finances

The association’s fiscal year begins on October 1. The 2020 fiscal year will conclude on September 30, 2020 and the FY21 budget has been revised to reflect the expected effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. The association is assuming a 10% reduction in membership revenue and 40% reductions in revenues for consulting and events. The leadership expects to draw on the association’s $10.5 million reserve to cover short-term revenue reductions.

The final budget for the most recently completed budget year is below.

AACRAO Statement of Activities – FY2019

Lumina Foundation/Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs)

In 2015, The Lumina Foundation awarded AACRAO and NASPA: Association of Student Affairs Professionals $1.7 million to pilot a project to develop models for a more comprehensive student record.

After the success of the pilot, Lumina awarded the two associations a $1.2 million grant in 2017 to continue their work on the development and adoption of Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs) in American higher education.

The 2017 grant focused on the development and implementation of a single learner record across a broad number of American colleges and universities. The CLRs seek to capture, record, and communicate learning when and where it happens in a student’s higher education experience. This includes learning outcomes from courses, program and degrees, as well as experience they have outside the classroom that help develop their career ready skills and abilities.

In May, 2020 AACRAO released guidance on the review of CLRs. Click above to view the complete report.

 

Purpose, Values, Vision, and Mission

Purpose

The purpose of AACRAO is to serve and advance higher education by providing leadership in academic and enrollment services.

Values

  • AACRAO believes Collaboration among members and with constituents creates a stronger association leading to continuous improvement of our professions.
  • AACRAO values Innovation which improves service and performance in enhanced and unforeseen ways. AACRAO facilitates process, technology, and practice improvements to provide more personalization with added integrity and fidelity
  • AACRAO is committed to Inclusivity where all are valued and heard, and respect is expected and achieved. AACRAO realizes this through creating and sustaining relationships-based equity, respect, collaboration and community where all have the opportunity to thrive.
  • AACRAO believes Inquiry is critical to advance our professions and their leaders.  AACRAO supports research and scholarship to develop and suggest best practices to its members.
  • AACRAO is committed to Integrity by adhering to the highest standards of honest and ethical behavior. AACRAO fosters an environment of accountability and transparency

Vision

AACRAO will be the leading authority in academic and enrollment services.

Mission

The mission of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) is to provide professional development, guidelines and voluntary standards to be used by higher education officials regarding the best practices in records management, admissions, enrollment management, administrative information technology and student services. It also provides a forum for discussion regarding policy initiation and development, interpretation and implementation at the institutional level and in the global educational community.

Ethics and Practice

The purpose of AACRAO is to serve and advance higher education by providing leadership in academic and enrollment services. In the practice of their professions, AACRAO members carry responsibility for conduct that balance societal, institutional, individual, and professional interests.

To guide its members, AACRAO has adopted the following principles of professional ethics and practice in academic and enrollment services. AACRAO members shall:

  • Conduct themselves with integrity, fairness, honesty, and respect for others;
  • Avoid conflicts between personal interests and professional responsibilities, and resolve perceived conflicts through full disclosure and independent review;
  • Dispense complete, accurate, understandable, and truthful information and advice at all times.

In light of these ethical principles, AACRAO has adopted the following standards of professional practice. AACRAO members shall:

  • Serve and advance higher education by safeguarding the academic integrity of their institutions;
  • Protect the legitimate privacy interests of all individuals and maintain appropriate confidentiality of institutional and student education records;
  • Advance institutional interests through the competent practice of the profession;
  • Act as stewards and objective enforcers of institutional policies and practices;
  • Promote institutional policies and practices that conform with this statement, especially when existing policies or practices are in conflict with it;
  • Promote broad and equal access to higher education for qualified students;
  • Adhere to principles of nondiscrimination and equality within the framework of institutional mission and prevailing law ;
  • Assist students to develop their talents and interests and become responsible citizens;
  • Provide to prospective students and their families accurate interpretations of institutional admissions criteria, transfer credit policies, costs, financial aid availability, and educational offerings;
  • Recruit distinct student populations (international students, students with learning disabilities, etc.) only when appropriate institutional resources and commitment to serve those populations are in place;
  • Avoid practices in the recruitment and enrollment of international students that would not be ethical in the recruitment or enrollment of domestic students;
  • Ensure that information management systems protect and maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and security of institutional records;
  • Provide accurate interpretations of institutional records;
  • Exercise sound management principles, using institutional resources effectively and efficiently;
  • Remain knowledgeable of current principles and practices of the profession;
  • Contribute to the continuing advancement of the professions;
  • Encourage the professional development of individuals at all levels of academic and enrollment services;
  • Ensure that contractors and other third-parties involved in the delivery of academic and enrollment services adhere to the principles articulated in this statement;
  • Adhere to the principles articulated in this statement.

Strategic Framework

Prepare AACRAO members to successfully lead their institutions in meeting the challenges of a continually evolving environment.

  • Establish core competencies for professionals in academic and enrollment services.
  • Provide relevant programming and services to AACRAO members and other higher education professionals.
  • Strengthen our focus on compliance, technology, research services and training for the membership.
  • Continually evaluate the relevance, effectiveness, and sustainability of programs and services provided by AACRAO.

Identify, develop and promote professional standards in academic and enrollment services. 

  • Identify standards that are critical to the profession and to the membership.
  • Establish a set of desirable best practices topics.
  • Develop professional standards and best practices that significantly impact our profession.
  • Serve as a resource on key industry topics.

Advance AACRAO’s leadership in Federal higher education policy development and advocacy.

  • Identify public policy issues for direct involvement, and develop plans of action.
  • Engage the membership in public policy dialogue and understanding.

Promote student access and success, and affordability of higher education.

  • Create alignments with other education professional organizations that promote student success in higher education.
  • Engage in relevant activities that support student access and success, and affordability in higher education.

Ensure that the Association is structured to promote sustained growth and member engagement.

  • Develop administrative capability to engage members in the life and work of the Association through various communication technologies.
  • Continue leadership with technology initiatives in enrollment and academic services.
  • Promote the strength of the Association by periodic review of governance and membership.

Expand AACRAO’s leadership in the global higher education community.

  • Expand professional development opportunities for the international admissions and credential evaluation professionals, engage with institutional leadership to create research opportunities, and identify best practices for enhancing international student enrollment efforts.
  • Lead research and evaluation efforts related to global education systems.
  • Engage in international initiatives and partnerships whereby AACRAO’s collective expertise contributes to a global dialogue and more effective practices in international education, student exchange, and mobility.

Ensure the Association’s resource strength for current and future AACRAO members.

  • Diversify revenue streams to decrease association fiscal risk.
  • Increase net operating revenue to build long-term investments.
  • Ensure the prudent use of resources.
  • Align resources with goals and objectives for the Association.

Aspire to be an intentionally inclusive community that values the unique contributions of others.

  • Serve as a strategic leader connecting and advocating for diversity, equity, access, and inclusion within and across higher education.
  • Promote an organizational culture that focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice strategies to empower educational leaders.
  • Yearly evaluation of our goals and objectives to ensure we remain cognizant of the relationship between access, equity, diversity, and inclusion as it relates to all activities of the association.

AACRAO Leadership

Board of Directors

2020-2021 AACRAO Board of Directors

Jack Miner (President)
Vice Provost
University of Cincinnati

Tiffany Robinson (President-Elect)
Assistant Vice Provost & University Registrar
The University of Kansas

 

Luisa Havens Gerardo (Past President)
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management
Virginia Tech

Cassandra Moore (Vice President for Access and Equity)
Director of Enrollment Development & Admissions
Anne Arundel Community College

Sherry Waldon-Wells (Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment Management)
Assistant Provost
Lamar University

Stan DeMerritt (Vice President for Finance)
Vice President for Student Affairs
South Plains College

Rock McCaskill (Vice President for Information Technology)
Associate Registrar for Operations
Clemson University

Jennifer Minke (Vice President for International Education)
Assistant Director of Admissions
Tarrant County College District

Jerry Montag (Vice President for Leadership and Management Development)
Director/Registrar
Northern Illinois University

Kristi Wold-McCormick (Vice President for Records and Academic Services)
University Registrar
University of Colorado Boulder

Rhonda Kitch (Vice President at Large)
University Registrar
Cornell University

Tim Amyx (Vice President at Large)
Director of Admissions and College Registrar
Volunteer State Community College

Rob Shomaker (External Board Member)
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
CUPA-HR

About Washington DC

To the rest of the country, Washington, D.C., is the nation’s capital. It is where lawmakers sit high and mighty, and it is the scapegoat for every unpopular political decision. But those who live in the District are quick to point out that there is more to their city than the federal government.

The Washington, D.C., metro area has all of the perks of a large urban area. It is serviced by an extensive public transit system and is home to world-class restaurants, entertainment venues, a variety of museums, public parks and other cultural sites. Meanwhile, each neighborhood in the District and its surrounding towns has its own atmosphere. Residents gather for block parties, mingle at dog parks and converse at coffee shops, creating an ambiance similar to that of a much smaller community.

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people’s desire to live there. Washington, District of Columbia is ranked:

Benefits Overview

AACRAO offers a comprehensive benefits program for that includes:

  • Annual leave: Annual leave is accrued at a rate of 16 hours per month (two working days per month), which may accumulate to a maximum of 30 days
  • Sick leave: Full-time staff accrue sick leave at the rate of one day per month of service.
  • Short and long-term disability
  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Retiree medical insurance program
  • Flexible spending account (FSA)
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement plans: AACRAO offers options for a defined contribution plan or a tax deferred annuity plan
  • Employee assistance program (EAP)

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin October 16, 2020 and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Michel Frendian at mrf@spelmanjohnson.com or Mark Hall at mah@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the AACRAO website at www.aacrao.org

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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