Spring Newsletter April 2011
In this issue...
PT from PT: Presidential thoughts from Phil TroutSpring Conference...Session Announcements and More!Day on the Hill Re-cap/Legislative UpdateSpotlight on...Anne PabstGuiding the Way to InclusionRamp-Up to Readiness: A Promising Program
Two Perspectives: Technology and the Admission ProcessNaviance UpdateSeen and HeardMACAC Candidates Update Save the Date!
PT from PT: Presidential Thoughts from Phil Trout
Our organization is busier than ever. Several committees have been putting in long hours working to make this professional association one of the very best. As the President of MACAC, I have the privilege of sharing with you some of the highlights of their work and our recent accomplishments.
- The Professional Development Committee is putting the finishing touches on this year’s Spring Conference, which will be held at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities on May 15-16. With a theme of “Cultivating a Lifetime of Learning,” this year’s conference features a Sunday afternoon opening social event at the Campus Club in Coffman Union (overlooking the Mississippi River on the Minneapolis campus.) If you haven’t yet registered for the conference, I encourage you to do so this week! The PD Committee has arranged an incredible lineup of speakers and presenters for the conference, including our keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Bruininks, the President of the University of Minnesota.
- The Minnesota Education Fair (MEF) Committee has just completed a very successful schedule of spring fairs, including one week of electronic scanning for prospective student information. They will be reporting out about this new form of lead retrieval at the MEF fairs in a panel presentation at the Spring Conference.
- Two of our committees, the Human Relations Committee and the Government Relations Committee, are the recipients of an Imagine Fund grant, sponsored by NACAC. The HR Committee can now offer a very exciting scholarship opportunity for four people to attend the Guiding the Way to Inclusion (GWI) workshop this summer in Chicago. The GR Committee can now reimburse transportation costs for our members to lobby on behalf of educational programming and funding with Congressional representatives and US senators here in the state offices.
- The Finance Committee has been working throughout the winter on a Finance and Budget Manual, which will be published on the MACAC web site in early May. This document will provide important fiscal policy guidance to our committee chairs and leaders, as they conduct the business of the association in years to come. The Finance Committee will also be presenting a recently-approved balanced budget for 2011-2012 at the Annual Membership Meeting on May 16.
- The Governance & Nominating Committee will be presenting revised Bylaws at the Spring Conference, so that we can come into compliance with the new Assembly delegate configuration with NACAC. This should guarantee us a large crowd at the Annual Membership Meeting – everybody loves a good Bylaws discussion!!
Spring Conference...Session Announcements and More!
Calling all MACAC members and friends! Be sure to register to attend our most important annual event, Spring Conference, May 15 and 16 at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
We are honored to have University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks as our Keynote Speaker the morning of May 16. In addition, we have added a new event for this year, a cocktail social for Sunday evening, May 15, from 5 to 7 PM; we are thrilled to be hosting this at the Campus Club of Coffman Union, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, a lovely space high above the Minneapolis campus. A block of rooms is being held just across the street from Coffman at the Radisson Hotel for your stay on Sunday night.
Monday morning, you will be able to grab the shuttle from the Radisson and travel to the University’s St. Paul campus in Roseville for an engaging conference day from 8:15 to 3 PM. Following President Bruininks’s comments, a rich selection of topical sessions will be available.
The 2011 MACAC Spring Conference features sessions highlighting “hot topics” in our profession. Some sessions that we are featuring include, "Helping to Create an Awareness of Bullying and Working on Creating Safe Schools in Minnesota", “Project NAVIGATE- Providing Access to Higher Education for Immigrant Students”, “Policy Brief: Changing Demographics- Opportunities and Challenges”, and “The New MEF- Changes in the Education Fairs in Minnesota”.
There will be something for everyone, including time with friends and colleagues and continental breakfast as well as lunch. The ever popular raffle is also planned: expect great prizes, with funds to benefit the NACAC Imagine Fund, which helps counselors everywhere provide better services and access to college for under-served students.
If you have any questions about the conference, sessions, or registration, please contact one of the Professional Development Committee Tri-Chairs: Anne Pabst (email@example.com), Bryan Gates (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Chad Terry (email@example.com).
As you can see, the MACAC Spring Conference is not to be missed. We look forward to seeing you there!
MACAC Professional Development Committee
Day on the Hill: Excellent Advocacy!
Day on the Hill Highlights and Summary
Ann Kjorstad, Academy of Holy Angels, Government Relations Committee member
I know what you are thinking—yawn. After all, many people see “Day on the Hill” and think “Minnesota is in debt and there is no hope for money for education so what’s the point?” before clicking to the next article. Ignore this instinct for pessimism and continue reading…if you dare! Despite the dire situation at the Capitol, 53 brave MACAC members volunteered to advocate and educate on February 23.
Members of the Government Relations Committee scheduled 63 appointments and 22 literature drops around the Minnesota State Capitol in advance of the Day on the Hill. Co-chairs Jeff Allen and Brian Weber also coordinated with MACAC’s legislation consultant, Mike Wilhelmi, to craft MACAC’s 2011 legislative agenda. If you are interested in the entire document, check out the Government Relations page on the MACAC website. If you are thinking “Meh, give me the cliff notes version,” here you go!
- If current-law protections for K-12 school counselor funding are removed, then a better, more systemic approach should replace them.
- Ensure that Minnesota’s K-12 students receive an academically-rigorous education that fully prepares them for postsecondary education.
- Protect students from all systems who are most sensitive to price increases. Focus available dollars on low- and middle-income students.
After the morning training, groups dispersed for appointments in the Capitol and State Office Building. Many groups found Senators and Representatives receptive to MACAC’s priorities. Amanda Wellner from the College of Visual Arts commented “I felt that our group had a more successful day meeting with assigned legislators than other groups. Most legislators seemed to have the same concerns about K12 and higher education, which I found to be uplifting! It was a reassuring experience to know that there really are concerned people in office fighting for your cause!”
There was a fabulous blend of secondary counselors and college admission professionals participating in Day on the Hill this year including many who were visiting the Capitol for the first time. Kaylene Mrozinski from St. Catherine University summed up the day perfectly, “MACAC's Day on the Hill was a very rewarding experience. As a newer counselor, I appreciated the opportunity to more fully understand the current issues our students and schools are facing. The united effort from various colleges and high schools provided our government representatives with the chance to hear a variety of first-hand stories and personalize the issues that some only see on paper.”
For a full recap of the day (yes, there's more!) please click here.
Spotlight On...Anne Pabst
How did you arrive in your current position as Director of College Counseling at Convent of the Visitation School?
I arrived at my present position at Visitation by a very circuitous route. First I was a Middle School English teacher, followed by some years teaching English in our Upper School. Working with Jeff Sheehan (our recently retired director of college counseling) on committees through the years, we often talked about colleges and his work. About this time our student population was expanding, and Jeff began thinking he needed help. I think we both proposed my joining him about the same time. Fortunately, Jeff took me on and we enjoyed being a team. He was a great counselor mentor; I know he played this role with many now seasoned counselors in the Twin Cities. Now I have the honor to work with a new colleague, Lauri Badar, and we are having a wonderful time running the office together.
What is a typical day like in your position?
After eleven years I am still in search of a typical day in this office! I guess we can count on several meeting with students, several emergencies both real and imagined, the usual search for chocolate (real emergency, right?), lots of email traffic and phone calls to receive and send, letters of recommendation to write. The joy is plenty in this work. To be able to sit down and talk with teenagers –a favorite species of mine – is the greatest gift. They inspire me every day with their talents, insights and strength; we laugh a lot.
What advice would you give about being involved in MACAC and what has your involvement meant to you?
Involvement in MACAC has really enriched my professional life; I guess I expected this. What I did not see coming was the pleasure of meeting and working with others, especially on the Professional Development Committee, a group I have been associated with for years. I have learned so much from colleagues while also just having fun with them. I cannot say enough about the benefits of participating in MACAC.
You've been busy planning the Spring Conference--what can MACAC members expect at this year’s event?
The Spring Conference is the best way to wrap up the year in this profession. Time with friends, of course; time to look ahead and brainstorm best practices for planning for next year; time to stretch and reassess. We have an exceptional line up of professional development sessions along with the thrill of having UMN President Bruininks as the keynote speaker. Add in the new cocktail party event on Sunday evening, and you have the ingredients for time well spent, indeed. Please come!
What are some of your favorite spring and summer activities?
My favorite spring and summer activities include running and exercise as well as some travel and just quiet time. I enjoy writing; you would think our jobs provide enough call for this, but I like doing it for fun on my own, too. This summer will be different in the Pabst house, however, as my son and his wife are expecting twin boys in May. They also have an 18 month daughter! We will be logging some miles on I35 between our house and theirs in Kansas City – it will be all hands on deck this summer. I can’t wait.
Guiding the Way to Inclusion
Greetings from the Human Relations Committee!
I’m Sandra Castro-Pearson, chair of the Human Relations Committee, and I’m excited to tell you more about HR and our work. Human Relations is the voice in MACAC that advocates and recommends strategies that promote expansion of equal access to postsecondary educational opportunities. Among our recent programs and activities we have:
1) Introduced NACAC’s Guiding the Way to Higher Education Manuals to MACAC members and presented these materials to underrepresented students in both English and Spanish. If you are a counselor and would like us to visit your school and bring this information to a parent’s night or for conferences please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) We strive to ensure that Admissions Professionals and High School Counselors that work with underrepresented students have professional development opportunities that are effective and relevant to the work they do. To achieve that goal our HR members have worked to lead sessions at Spring Conference and the College Counseling Institute which revolve on topics important for the work we do with underrepresented students. We also have provided scholarships for professionals to attend the Guiding the Way to Inclusion (GWI) Conference for the past three years. I have probably told many MACAC members that this is the best professional conference I have ever attended, so I’m happy to say we will continuing this scholarship and sending application materials for this year’s GWI in May!
3) HR has also donated $5,000 in funding towards the Minnesota Association of Counselors of Color (MnACC) Scholarships for the past three years.
If working on these areas interests you please volunteer. And again if you would like us to visit your school or provide you with resources to assist your students on their way to higher education contact me.
Ramp-Up to Readiness: A Promising Program
Julie entered college last fall with the hope to someday become a famous author. She decided to major in English because she enjoyed English classes throughout high school and always received top grades on her papers.
Although she met admission requirements and was awarded an academic scholarship, Julie was placed in a remedial writing class after it was determined that her skills were below college-level. She struggled to keep up in several of her college classes and lost her academic scholarship after the first semester. Then, adding to her academic and financial stresses, Julie’s boyfriend broke up with her. Since most of her spare time had been spent with him, Julie hadn’t spent much time getting involved on campus or making friends. Feeling isolated and discouraged, Julie decided not to return to college in the fall.
Julie’s story is fictional, but it is all too real for thousands of students. According to the 2010 MNSCU and UMN Getting Prepared report, 40% of the MN public high school class of 2008 who enrolled at a MN public higher education institution took at least one remedial course. The MN Office of Higher Education reports that the 6-year graduation rate of students at 4-year Minnesota higher education institutions is only 61%.
Several efforts are underway to address this issue. One such effort is the Ramp-Up to Readiness program developed by the College Readiness Consortium at the University of Minnesota. Eleven Minnesota schools are currently piloting the program and the plan is to expand to 25 new schools per year starting in 2012-2013.
Ramp-Up to Readiness focuses on helping all students Understand, Believe, Plan, and Achieve five goals:
1. Academic Readiness: The student has the knowledge and skills to do first-year, credit bearing, college-level work.
2. Admissions Readiness: The student has completed all requirements for admission to the type of postsecondary education that is a match for his or her goals, interests and abilities.
3. Career Readiness: The student understands how education increasingly determines income and opportunity in the global knowledge economy, and knows which types of jobs in the future will need skilled workers, will pay enough to support a family and might be a good match for his or her interests and abilities.
4. Financial Readiness: The student is able to cover the cost of the first term of study at a postsecondary institution through savings, loans, work study and financial aid.
5. Personal and Social Readiness: The student knows how to set educational goals, make and monitor progress toward them and create relationships with peers and adults that support academic success.
Perhaps if Julie’s hypothetical high school had participated in the Ramp-Up to Readiness program, her hypothetical story would’ve turned out differently. The program provides a wealth of lessons and tools for schools to use to promote college readiness for all students. Counselors and schools can access these free resources – just visit http://www.rampuptoreadiness.org.
Two Perspectives: Technology and the Admission Process
John Brown, associate director of admissions at St. Cloud State
How is your school currently using technology in regard to the admissions process?
Our university is constantly exploring ways to use technology to share the St. Cloud State University message with a larger audience. Recently, we unveiled free smartphone apps for the Android and iPhone and launched a website that is compatible for mobile phones.
Why has your school decided to utilize smartphone technology?
There are an increasing number of students who use mobile devices daily to access the Internet. These mobile apps will allow us to better connect with the visual generation by using GPS technology to give virtual campus tours. The tours use interactive maps and videos to tell the history and story of our campus. Our new mobile site also offers campus maps, news stories, events, sports scores and a Google-based search of the stcloudstate.edu website. We created it for students who want fast access to basic information.
How do you feel these initiatives will affect admissions?
The GPS technology can help customize tours for people who come to campus, and the apps are about creating a buzz for students to learn more about St. Cloud State. Our hope is people will download the apps, get excited about our campus, and drive them to tour in person.
Shana Borgen, M.A., counselor at Orono High School
How is your school currently using technology in regard to the admissions process?
We currently utilize Naviance and Docufide for accessing information about higher education institutions as well as requesting and sending transcripts during the admissions season. In addition, our school currently has a Google platform for our students, including Gmail and Google Calendar and Google Docs. We are also exploring the uses of Facebook and Twitter to share information with our students and their families in a more timely fashion.
How has the Google platform helped during the admissions season?
The Google Calendar system allows our students to see our calendars and schedule appointments based on dates and times that work both for the counselors and for the students and their parents. This has been extremely helpful in allowing us to connect with our students more easily.
How has the Docufide system helped during the admissions season?
This technology has helped the process become much more accessible to the students. They are able to request their transcripts without requesting a meeting with their counselor. In turn, the process of requesting and sending documents to the institutions is very well documented, so that we are able to see the times and dates these documents were sent.
How has Naviance played a role in students finding more information about schools?
Naviance helps our students explore and research colleges and see detailed information on the schools they are considering. One unique feature our students like is that they can view the application and acceptance history of students from Orono High School attending various institutions. This helps them compare academic fit in regards to past student information, which is helpful when applying to colleges and universities and making sound decisions.
The Naviance User Group Committee has four exciting events coming up this spring that are open to all Minnesota Naviance users. At a User Group, participants learn from fellow counselors who are Naviance Mentors, sharing best practices and devoting “hands-on” time to apply what you learn about using Naviance in your school. User Groups are practical, action-oriented sessions where attendees “take away” plenty of good ideas to enhance their work with students and families.
On Sunday May 1 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, we host a Pre-Conference User Group at MSCA Maddens, with brief topic-oriented presentations focused on attendee’s interests and plenty of time for hands-on work, consulting with Naviance Mentors to improve your use of Naviance. On Monday May 16 during the MACAC Spring Conference, we’ll have a dedicated room for a Naviance “Genius Bar” where throughout the day, Naviance Mentors and Staff will answer questions in a hands-on setting. Laptops will be available. A session on “Data In, Data Out” will offer tips on data import and export with Naviance.
In June we host two Regional User Groups: Thursday June 9 at UMN-Duluth, and Tuesday June 14 at UMN-Morris. Both sessions run from 8:30 – 2:30, hosted in a campus computer lab with lunch and refreshments provided. Details and registration for June events will be posted on the MACAC website in mid-May.
As always, most expenses associated with attending a User Group may be reimbursed through funding from a federal College Access Challenge Grant give to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to provide professional development for Minnesota counselors in their use of Naviance. See individual event information for specific reimbursement details.
Questions about the User Groups and Naviance Mentor program? Contact Co-Chairs Amanda Anderson email@example.com or Mary Hill firstname.lastname@example.org or see our webpage under Events
MACAC Members: Seen and Heard
In this section, we share your news with MACAC colleagues. E-mail Jane Nordhorn to have your news included in the next newsletter.
Jennifer Landy of Wayzata High School and her husband welcomed Paige Reese Landy into the world on March 29th at 1:07 am. She arrived 4 weeks early and is a little peanut weighing in at 5 pounds 15 ounces.
Brian Weber, University of St. Thomas is engaged to Ariene Willkom! Read on for the wonderful details... "We met in college when we were both RAs. (Read: party animals!) I popped the question early this March while we were in Florida with a group of friends. We were walking back from dinner at a beach house restaurant, when she and I drifted back from the group. (I think she knew it was coming... we had already been there for a few days, and she knew I had packed the ring.) I dropped down on a knee asked her right there on the beach. She said yes, but I was so nervous and excited that I had to ask her if she said yes a few seconds later. We're currently in the midst of our wedding planning and we look forward to getting hitched later in October. I'm a firm believer in short engagements and long marriages."
The University of Minnesota has many exciting updates!
Casey Erickson has been promoted to assistant director. Casey was previously the freshman recruitment coordinator. The Office of Admissions welcomed back Jenny Pederson Malek in her new position as scholarship coordinator. Kelsey Quiring, assistant director of communications, and her family have recently welcomed a baby boy, Owen Anders Quiring!
Todd Johnson of College Admissions Partners has just published a book in January entitled "BS/MD Programs-The Complete Guide: Getting into Medical School from High School". The book is available through Amazon.
MACAC Candidates Update
Important information for upcoming membership meeting
The Governance and Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the slate of candidates for election!
President Elect - Chris Franken, Eastview High School
Treasurer-Elect - Craig Dodson, Breck School
The election of officers will take place at the Annual Membership Meeting, which will be held during the Spring Conference on Monday, May 16.
In addition to the election of officers, members of MACAC will be asked to vote to approve changes to the association bylaws. The changes are necessary in order to bring MACAC into compliance with NACAC bylaws regarding assembly size that were passed at the Annual Meeting in October. Information about the candidates and the bylaw revisions is posted on the MACAC Web site under Membership Meeting. Please contact Kerri Carlson, Past President, at Kerri.Carlson@minneapolis.edu with any questions.
Save the Date!
May 15-16, 2011 - Spring Conference
July 31-August 2, 2011 - Admission Counselor Institute
October 14, 2011- College Counseling Institute for High School Counselors
Who writes this newsletter, anyway?
If you're curious about MACAC connections and communications, have ideas for future newsletter content or are wondering what it's like to be on a MACAC committee, all paths point to External Relations! E-mail Jane Nordhorn with your ideas or to find out more about this opportunity.