Majority of Admissions, Enrollment, and Academic Records Professionals See Student-Records and Data-Systems as well as Crisis Management Training as Pressing Need

April 28, 2021
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Contact: AACRAO Communications

AACRAO Releases 2021 report on professional development and training in higher education

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) released a report today on Professional Development and Training (PD&T) needs as identified through surveying AACRAO members -- In Their Own Words: Perceptions of Training Needs Among and Between Professional Employee Levels. This research, conducted in February of 2021 with the support of InsideTrack, looked at the similarities and differences in perceived PD&T needs between front-line staff, managerial staff, and senior leadership.  An additional component of this research was in examining AACRAO member PD&T needs in relation to AACRAO's competencies and proficiencies.

Key Insights:

  1. Senior leadership and managerial staff agree on the top five core competencies training needs for front - line staff : problem solving, communication, service orientation, technical knowledge, and diversity and inclusion. Front-line staff does not agree with the assessment of senior leadership.
  2. Managerial staff have the greatest level of interest in the competency area of student success before any of the other competency areas and communication was left out of the top five altogether.
  3. The majority of respondents, regardless of position, are most interested in professional-proficiency training for one or more aspects of student-records management or data-systems management. 
  4. Ultimately, the primary challenges in PD&T were summarized as lack of time and funding.
  5. Finally, in the open-ended responses, we found interests in crisis management and de-escalation training for all levels, as well as training on collaboration, team-building, inclusion, and leading with compassion, to name a few.

This report also features interviews with six members of leadership regarding their perspectives on various aspects of PD&T implementation, impediments, results, and change. 

Conclusions from this research include:

  • Preferred PD&T Delivery Methods
  • Importance of Tangible Recognition
  • Perspectives by Position (Front-line Staff, Managerial Staff, and Senior Leadership)
  • Core Competency Priorities for PD&T
  • Interest in PD&T Associated with AACRAO Core Professional Proficiencies
  • Interests & Challenges Associated with Needed PD&T
  • And more

In closing the report researchers noted the necessity of finding new ways to engage front-line staff, managerial staff, and senior leadership with PD&T. 

Download the full report here to learn more.

This report was sponsored by InsideTrack.


AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,600 institutions in more than 40 countries. Its commitment to the professional development of its members includes best practice guidance on admissions strategies to meet institutional diversity objectives, delivery of academic programs in innovative ways to meet the needs of a changing student body, and exemplary approaches to student retention and completion.