(Read more below or click to download this letter as a PDF)
October 11, 2012
As promised I am writing to share with you the latest developments in the NACAC Commission on International Student Recruitment.
The 28-member Commission held its latest meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday October 2 and 3 in Denver, Colorado just prior to the NACAC Annual Conference. AIRC Board members Norm Peterson and Ross Jennings were among the commissioners present at the discussion.
As anticipated, the Commission has not yet reached any official findings. However, during the presentation on the Commission held at the annual conference, it was announced that the Commission's recommendations and final report will be released by March 2013. The recommendations will be forwarded to the NACAC Board for approval - followed by a vote of acceptance by the NACAC members during the 2013 annual conference in Toronto.
The discussion held at the annual conference did shed some light on the Commission's deliberations. First, NACAC's Director of Public Policy, David Hawkins, noted in his opening remarks that NACAC's survey of its membership indicated that between 1/4 - 1/3 of four-year institutions use agencies to recruit international students. Also noted was their understanding that agency use based on commissions is a commonly accepted practice in Australia, the UK, and Canada. Finally, he noted that it was also clear that agency based recruitment had become a key strategy for both community colleges and secondary schools.*
The Commissions' chair, Phil Ballinger, stressed in his remarks that the members of the Commission had all come to the deliberations with an open mind and that many of them had learned much in the process about the complexity of international student recruitment and had evolved far in their thinking since the beginning of the discussions. He made it clear the Commission understands that "cookie cutter" policies will not fix perceived issues. He also noted that the Commission members came to understand that we cannot simply apply U.S. processes to other cultural contexts.
In his final remarks, Chairman Ballinger noted two areas which he believes will be stressed in the Commission’s final recommendations. The first is transparency of process. The second is the need for institutional responsibility.
According to David Hawkins, a summary of the Commission’s deliberations will be made available on NACAC's website. He also promised that a summary of the discussions will be posted to the NACAC bulletin in the coming week. AIRC will send links to any further NACAC communications to all members as they become available.
Since Commission members are bound by a pledge of confidentiality while the Commission is deliberating, Norm and Ross are not in a position to go beyond the comments of Hawkins and Ballinger at this time. However, both are optimistic that the Commission is moving toward recommendations which will be consistent with AIRC’s standards and certification process.
AIRC is also planning an open discussion on the Commission during our annual conference in Miami. In addition to AIRC's two board members Norm and Ross, Commission Member Paul Miller of the National Association of Independent Schools will also be in attendance. AIRC has also extended invitations to all members of the Commission as well as to David Hawkins who has indicated his willingness to attend pending his availability.
* A PDF of the PowerPoint used for David Hawkins presentation may be found at: http://www.nacacnet.org/events/2012/sessions/Pages/Educational-Sessions-by-Date-and-Time.aspx. (see session D14)