ASCEND program announced: Standing by our commitment to nurturers of diversity

April 29, 2019
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Increasingly our campuses are looking to their enrollment managers to assist with, or lead, their long-term campus enrollment planning, address budgetary challenges, and meet the demands and expectations of your students, Board members, legislature, and the public.

However, our own research projects reveal several strong indicators of vacant Senior Enrollment Management Officer seats in the next decade. This demand on the profession in conjunction with the dwindling pool of talent creates a unique opportunity for AACRAO to take meaningful action on behalf of our diverse membership.

Leaders in Enrollment Advancing Diversity (LEAD)

Last fall, AACRAO introduced the LEAD Initiative, an umbrella program for all leadership development focused on advancing diversity in the profession. This program will help ensure current and future enrollment leaders are positioned to help your campus meet the evolving challenges higher education is facing.

With expected declines in high school graduates, the constant media attention on cost of higher education and campus budgetary challenges, and the ever-changing demands of our institutions and the students we serve, it is critical that our campus enrollment team has the expertise to provide the leadership we need to effectively carry out your institution’s mission. Diversity in leadership is crucial to the success of our institutions, and AACRAO’s commitment to diversity and inclusion are more than buzzwords. As leaders in the field, our commitments require action.

AACRAO Stands by Our Commitment to Nurturers of Diversity (ASCEND)

The ASCEND Program is designed to prepare midlevel professional in the competencies required to take the next step in enrollment management leadership. The year-long intensive program seeks 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, and opportunities for leadership.

The curriculum design incorporates AACRAO Professional Competencies and Proficiencies and also leverages existing professional development opportunities offered by AACRAO.

Get Involved

Like all successful AACRAO programs, member involvement is crucial. The LEAD Curriculum Work Group is accepting applications for ASCEND faculty and mentors. Apply now.

As Dr. Alton Austin, Registrar/Director of Enrollment Services, College of Central Florida and LEAD Curriculum Work Group member, shared on Twitter, "[the AACRAO LEAD program] is one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have been involved with.” We encourage you, too, to take part in this uniquely rewarding experience that will shape the future of enrollment management.


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