AACRAO ASCEND Program Application Now Open

August 23, 2021
  • AACRAO Leadership and Governance
  • Learning Mobility
  • Professional Development and Contributions to the Field
  • ascend
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Launched in 2019, AACRAO LEAD (Leaders in Enrollment Advancing Diversity) serves as the umbrella for AACRAO leadership development programs focused on training individuals in the pipeline for chief enrollment management officer, university registrar, and chief admissions officer positions. 

The first leadership development program housed under the AACRAO LEAD umbrella is ASCEND, designed to prepare mid-level professionals in the competencies required to take the next step in enrollment management leadership. 

First offered in 2019, the ASCEND Program has been retooled based on participant feedback. The result is an even stronger program that is more flexible, more tailored, and full of mentoring and networking opportunities that will give aspiring enrollment leaders the foundational tools required to advance in their careers. In addition, the ASCEND leadership program seeks to prepare a diverse group of enrollment leaders to take on leadership roles in Enrollment Management in North America and across the globe. Through ASCEND, we aspire to: 

  • Advance the careers of program participants and provide them with important professional development;

  • Help AACRAO and regional associations develop a “deep bench” of talented, motivated leaders from diverse backgrounds; and

  • Provide individuals from identified under-represented groups in the association community (i.e., people of color, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, people with disabilities) with support, access, an expanded network, and leadership opportunities.

Program Design

The ASCEND program is a unique year-long intensive experience comprised of two components: 

  • Program curriculum. Will focus on the development and application of senior-level enrollment and leadership competencies with an emphasis on four broad-based learning outcomes and their interconnectedness to diversity and inclusion: 

    • collaboration and consensus-building around decision making, 

    • change management, 

    • data analysis and leveraging technology, and 

    • financial savviness.

Learners should be prepared to engage with faculty in a virtual workshop setting once a month for two hours. A self-paced program curriculum aligned with the core competencies and professional proficiencies required for enrollment leadership will be provided. Completion of the self-paced modules will be recognized with an AACRAO micro-credential. In addition, a capstone project will be completed over the course of the year that will provide opportunities for applied learning. 

  • Coaching. Each participant will be assigned a chief enrollment management officer to serve as an additional support and guide. Participants will have individual monthly meetings with coaches who will provide a customized experience to meet the individual needs and goals of the participant.

Participants should be prepared to engage with faculty and the program curriculum in a virtual class setting once a month for 2 hours, in addition to other self-paced activities and capstone work.

Interested in Participating?

Participants will begin the year-long ASCEND leadership development program by attending the Strategic Enrollment Management Conference November 14-17, 2021, in Miami, FL. Their program will culminate at AACRAO SEM 2022 in Toronto.

Ideal candidates will have a minimum of seven (7) years of leadership experience in one of the enrollment service areas, including but not limited to:

  • Enrollment Management

  • Admissions

  • Registrar/Enrollment services

  • Advising

  • Financial Aid

  • Academic Support Services

A demonstrated commitment to the principles and actions of diversity and inclusion are crucial to the success of this program.

Apply Now

The ASCEND Program Application is now open! This intensive year-long experience has a total value of $6300. AACRAO is committed to finding ways to make this program accessible, offering it to participants at a low cost of $925. 


  • Application Open: 8/24
  • Application Close: 9/24 Extended to 10/8
  • Applicants notified: Mid-October
  • Program kick-off: Sunday, Nov 14 in Miami, FL 


  • Program fee: $899
  • Participants will need to budget: 
  • Travel to SEM: approx $1500-2000 for each meeting


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