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The WACAC Annual Conference (https://wacac2.wpengine.com/wacac-2016/) is just around the corner and as we all prepare for networking and professional development opportunities, I want to put a plug in for the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Institute (https://wacac2.wpengine.com/idea/), which is a pre-conference taking place on the morning of June 1.

IDEA, coordinated by the WACAC Diversity, Equity and Access (DEA) committee, was established to provide college counseling and admission professionals with opportunities to better understand how we can work collaboratively to support marginalized communities. IDEA topics over the years have included supporting men of color and supporting undocumented students.

This year’s IDEA committee created a pre-conference workshop that will focus on working with those on both sides of the desk to support transgender students through the college admission process as well as through the transition from high school to college campuses.

We want to provide a space for college admission professionals to discuss transgender rights as well as the difficulties that trans students face as high school students and then once again on college campuses.

We have collaborated with professionals both within and outside of higher education to provide a framework to help guide high school counselors on how to fully support trans students and for college admission counselors to work with their community to provide spaces for trans students to feel welcome and included.

Sessions for this year’s IDEA Institute will include:

  • “Supporting Students Questioning Their Identities”
  • “Roadbumps on the Path to College: Putting into Context Inconsistent Academic Records and Disciplinary Problems Among Trangender Youth”
  • “Empowering Transgender & Gender-Nonconforming Students in the College Admissions Process”
  • “Maintaining Transgender-Inclusive Interactions: The Dos, Don’ts, and General Considerations in Interviews and Campus Visits for Transgender Students.”
  • “Closing Panel: Support and Inclusiveness on All Fronts”

We hope that you will join the IDEA committee as we work together to learn how to better support and create inclusive communities for all students, but particularly transgender students.  Online registration is now closed, however, registration for the IDEA Institute pre-conference remains available for $65 per person. Please email wacacadmin@wacac.org to pre-register for IDEA.