By Yamilet Medina López
I cannot believe the fall is almost over! Where did the time go? As we move into application review/reading season, this is a time I encourage my colleagues to read as much as they can about issues in our profession to get caught up and perhaps even learn something new that has gotten lost in translation during the busy admission cycle.
A topic that has been of much discussion among different professional development opportunities I have been a part of this summer is the reconsideration of Fisher v. UT – Austin by the Supreme Court. I have been following this case since it began in 2008 when I was leaving an admission position in the state of Texas where it originated, little did I know then that in 2013 we would still be discussing it in this much detail. A great resource that I became aware of this summer was a report released by the American Council on Education in partnership with The Civil Rights Project at UCLA and the Center for College & Career Success in Pearson’s Innovation Network – and with support of NACAC and AACRAO, titled: “Race, Class and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape.” The study examines how legal challenges to race-conscious admission are influencing admission practices at selective institutions across the United States. I have included a description of the report below, if you have not heard of it I urge you to become familiar with it.
Study findings are based on responses to a first-of-its-kind national survey of undergraduate admissions and enrollment management leaders administered in 2014–15. Data reflect responses from 338 nonprofit four-year institutions that collectively enrolled 2.7 million students and fielded over 3 million applications for admission in 2013–14. Among other findings, the authors examine the most widely used and effective diversity strategies; changes in admissions factors after the 2013Fisher ruling and statewide bans on race-conscious admissions; and the most sought after research and guidance given the current legal and policy landscape.
In reviewing the report, I became aware of a complimentary webinar that will be offered to go over the report findings and have open discussions about these. Diverse Issues in Higher Education is facilitating the webinar with co-authors Espinosa and Gaertner. I encourage you to take the time to participate if you can; I know the month of August is crunch time for many of our colleagues who get on the road early and for counselors preparing to receive their students on campus but this is worthwhile and I am hopeful that by listening to one another we can all ensure we have strategies ready to tackle whatever future may await us post Fisher.
Links to the complete report and webinar registration are below. I hope many of you can take advantage of this opportunity!