Passing the Baton

November 29, 2022
  • Competencies
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Enrollment Management
  • Volunteerism
2022-23 ASCEND Cohort at Toronto SEM

The AACRAO ASCEND program reached another milestone at the 32nd AACRAO SEM Conference. The outgoing 2nd cohort completed their year-long training program by presenting their capstone projects to the incoming cohort, the program leaders, and the program coaches. 

“I cannot believe it’s over. I learned so much, was able to secure a new position I never thought I’d have, and now have a new, trusted network of colleagues and friends,” expressed one departing cohort member.

Two ASCEND members enjoying dinner at SEM 2022

Leaders in Enrollment Advancing Diversity

Leaders in Enrollment Advancing Diversity (LEAD) is an AACRAO initiative positioned to ensure enrollment leaders in the pipeline can help campuses meet the future challenges facing higher education. ASCEND is one of the key programs available to AACRAO members in this initiative. Current administration leaders – Vice Provosts, Provosts, and Chancellors alongside AACRAO Senior Consultants — are the backbone of the ASCEND program. These current leaders know the demands of the work and understand the issues facing the field. 

“This program was established in response to our own research that told us enrollment leaders were going to change in 8 - 12 years…mind you, we’re in year 5. Positions were going to open and there were no people to fill the spaces," shared Melanie Gottlieb, AACRAO Executive Director, during her opening remarks at the Sunday kickoff in Toronto.

This research – the 2017 Chief Enrollment Management Officer Career Profile – in addition to data from CUPA-HR on administrators in higher education, revealed the gap of professionals available to fill future positions as well as the lack of diverse candidates successfully advancing into leadership positions. The Covid pandemic accelerated these position openings

Welcoming Cohort Three

“It’s time to invite people to the table or build a new table. You may have the skills but you may not have the network.

You may have the network but not the skills. Or, you may not know how to lean on and leverage the skills and network you have. This is why you’re here,” said Dr. Tina DeNeen, AACRAO Associate Executive Director, Education & Member Development, as she welcomed the Cohort Three to the program.

After a bit of level-setting where DeNeen introduced the cohort to the program for the year, curriculum layouts, and led an icebreaker where participants answered questions such as:

  • If you could change your name, what would it be?
  • If you had a superpower, what would it be?
  • What was your worst job?

The first session – Strengths Finder – began. Led by Dr. Mylene Culbreath, the cohort began the work of understanding their strengths. Culbreath explained Talent as the naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. She explained Strength as the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific task by leveraging a refined talent. 

Over the year, the cohort will meet with Culbreath three times with the goal of:

  • Understand their strengths
  • Acknowledging the realities of their values
  • Unpacking how they show up

Additionally, this program focuses on AACRAO's core competencies in:

  • Collaboration and consensus-building around decision making
  • Change management
  • Data analysis & leveraging technology
  • Financial savviness

These skills are key to successfully leading an institution and the "strengths-finder" sessions set the conditions for this cohort to not only have skills and a network, but to also know, understand, and use their skills and networks.

We proudly welcome the 2022 - 2023 AACRAO ASCEND cohort. Join the list to get updates on their work and receive notifications for future application windows.

AACRAO ASCEND Cohort Three is sponsored by Spelman Johnson.
Text copy of cohort three participants


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