In 2012, representatives from countries around the world met in Groningen, the Netherlands, to discuss the electronic exchange of student data and records. From those initial conversations grew the Groningen Declaration, a loose, voluntary network of organizations and institutions with a collective mission of building capacity for student mobility through digital exchange of secure student records.
AACRAO Executive Director Mike Reilly has been on the GDN executive committee for five years, and was elected Vice Chair of the foundation last fall, when the GDN was formally recognized in the Netherlands as a foundation, with a slate of officers, articles of incorporation, and bylaws. Other board members include stakeholders from South Africa, India, Belgium, Spain, Australia, U.S., and the Netherlands.
“Over the next year, our priority is to build up the infrastructure to make the GDN sustainable,” Reilly said. GDN will recruit new members, establish a dues structure and registration fees for the annual meeting, and continue to seek sponsorships.
Access & equity
“In the big picture, our goal is to facilitate student mobility for citizens worldwide, not just in highly developed countries,” Reilly said. “The GDN will reach out to nations that may not have similar resources. We’ll look to Latin and South America to get them engaged. We’re already working closely with Africa and India, and folks from Vietnam and the South Pacific came to our meeting in Australia.” (The Groningen Declaration Network (GDN) recently held their annual symposium in Melbourne, Australia.)
“The ultimate idea is global mobility. Once countries build internal capacity -- for example, Australia’s national digital student record initiative, that will facilitate exchange internationally,” Reilly said. “Equity and access are the real priorities.”
AACRAO & student mobility
AACRAO has been a leader in both international student mobility and the development of electronic student record exchange, and the AACRAO SPEEDE (Standardization of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange) Committee has been at the forefront of the development of electronic student records exchange. AACRAO signed on to the Groningen Declaration in April 2013.
“Many of the underlying issues associated with electronic exchange of records—i.e. student privacy, comparability of data, acceptance and recognition of digital student data—are all issues that are of concern to AACRAO members,” wrote Reilly. “The Groningen Declaration effort provides a global platform to examine these issues. AACRAO and its members have considerable expertise in these areas and can contribute to the ultimate success of this enterprise.”