Inside the 2022 AACRAO Leadership Meeting

July 11, 2022
  • AACRAO Leadership and Governance
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • Leadership
Representation of diverse group of people.

By Michael Bilfinger, AACRAO Communications Intern

The 2022 AACRAO Leadership meeting was in-person this June at the Yours Truly Hotel in Washington, D.C. This meeting is an exclusive opportunity for volunteer leaders to gather together to connect, learn, and re-invigorate one another while also exploring strategic opportunities for AACRAO. These volunteer leaders, many of whom hold roles such as committee and caucus chairs, leaders of workgroups, sitting members of state and regional committees, etc., are a critical part of what we do at AACRAO.

The efforts of these individuals are essential to both the community groups they are leading and generating engaging and relevant content through efforts like caucus-led webinars, member-submitted session proposals for the Annual Meeting, and the creation of actionable research reports. In addition, because of the positions these volunteer leaders hold within AACRAO, they are uniquely positioned to comment on topics related to the organization's future, such as what issues are affecting the groups they lead and what support members need from AACRAO. The Leadership Meeting is also an important opportunity for AACRAO staff to listen to highly engaged members to best drive the organization forward.

Saturday’s “Reimaging the AACRAO Community” session led by Christine (Chris) Apple, AACRAO’s Community & Volunteer Manager, demonstrated a renewed focus on community. The discussion covered questions like:

  • What has been working with AACRAO’s various community groups, and what hasn’t?
  • What areas do volunteer leaders need greater support and/or guidance from AACRAO staff?
  • What are the expectations of committee chairs?
  • How can AACRAO improve the volunteer experience?

Although Chris was standing on stage, she spent much of her time listening because her role as Community & Volunteer Manager, a recent addition brought about by our new signature initiatives, is focused on responding to and supporting the needs of the AACRAO community. To put it in her own words, Chris said:

Since stepping into this role, I have found the AACRAO membership to be highly committed and engaged in driving this organization forward. The development of the Community and Volunteer Manager role was a strategic priority for the organization, and with this stronger focus on supporting our community segments and the partnership of our current volunteer leaders, I believe we can level-up the amazing work already being done and co-create an even stronger value proposition for AACRAO members.

While the Leadership Meeting is an important opportunity for AACRAO to listen to membership, it also serves as a chance for us to hold sessions geared towards professional development and to share important updates. On this note, Friday’s keynote session facilitated by Deedre Daniel offered insights on a variety of issues, including:

  • How to be more authentic and engaging
  • How to identify habits that may be standing in the way of personal or professional success
  • How to be a better communicator
  • How to leverage teams for new ideas

This session was particularly relevant for registrars and admissions officers as they navigate staffing challenges and are often asked to do more with less.

Regarding industry updates, AACRAO’s own William Gil and Michelle Mott presented a session covering a wide range of federal relations and policy updates on Saturday morning. For instance, their session included an update on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), a comprehensive federal data privacy bill recently unveiled as a legislative proposal by the House and Senate. The proposal was inspired by similar laws in other countries like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the E.U. and the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) in China. The session also included coverage of Veterans-related issues and, in particular, focused on an update to the 85/15 Rule reset, which you can read more about here in AACRAO Transcript. Beyond these two topics, Bill and Michelle also provided several regulatory updates, including the Education Department's negotiated rulemaking process to rewrite rules governing institutional and programmatic eligibility, affordability, and student loans. They also discussed potential updates to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Department of Labor's overtime rule salary threshold, among other things. 

If you want to stay current on key actions and public policy issues impacting AACRAO members, consider joining the government relations listserv by emailing Additionally, you could make your voice heard in the Capitol by joining AACRAO Congressional Hill Day and becoming an advocate for issues affecting higher education. Finally, for those looking to get involved in AACRAO, but not necessarily related to Federal policy, check out the Join the Conversation page on our website to learn about all the ways to engage.