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International ACAC 2018 New Orleans

Special Lunch Events


Diversity and Inclusion in the International Context

What does diversity mean in an international context and how can college admissions advising benefit from a cultural fluency lens? What is at stake for us as professionals on this topic?  What is at stake for students? Whether you are brand new to this conversation or very experienced, all are invited to this interactive workshop engaging these questions.  We will use reflection and dialogue to deepen our understanding of our individual and collective perspectives on diversity, inclusion and cultural fluency, as our facilitator shares tools and skills for creating these conversations. Join us to hear perspectives from your colleagues in the IACAC community and to experience an approach to talking about these topics that you may want to use in your own setting.

Facilitator: Lisa Walker

Lisa Walker is a consultant and facilitator with over 20 years experience engaging groups in effective conversations, dialogues, and trainings.

As the former Director of Cross Cultural Student Development at the University of California at Berkeley, she worked in collaboration with campus partners to address equity and inclusion issues for a diverse student population.  She is currently a consultant with The Equity Consulting Group, Inc.

She has served as a National Leader for the College Board, as a consultant for Oakland Unified School District, as well as a number of educational, non-profit and public policy organizations.  Her topics have included: cultural fluency, implicit bias, diversity, team building, board development, strategic planning, and conflict and communication models.  In 2017 she was a presenter at the national conference for NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling.)

“Walker” as she prefers, is influenced by the disciplines of Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women Studies, by the philosophy of Engaged Pedagogy and by workplace applications for mindfulness practice. Her facilitation style is grounded in praxis, highly interactive, and inquiry based.

Conference Chats

In addition to traditional sessions, this year we are thrilled to be presenting a new concept in for our Conference - - the "TED-Style" talk, or as we are calling it Conference Chats.  During the lunch hour on Wednesday and Thursday, come listen to your colleagues share the presentation of their lives. Each lunch hour block will include five, 11 minute presentations on a wide range of Topics.

Come experience the energy and excitement of a Conference Chat and hear how these individuals are making profound impacts in our profession.  Expect an entirely different approach from the standard conference education sessions, these Chats will be personal, concise, and likely take you on a journey. We promise that you will laugh, cry, and learn entirely new perspectives on issues and radical new ideas.

All Conference Chats will be held on the Loyola University of New Orleans campus in the St Charles Room in the Danna Student Center

*** Conference Chat – Wednesday Lunch Sessions ***

Modeling Tolerance for Uncertainty - Helping Your Students Embrace the Unknown

DESCRIPTION: Kids these days loathe not having all the answers. They want to KNOW exactly how each decision will effect them and avoid uncertainty at all costs. Will they get in? What should they major in -hint- undecided is not an acceptable answer! However, the fact remains that life is full of uncertainty, and our students (and let's face it, us too) need to work on embracing the opportunities that uncertainty presents. Let Tracey walk you through her own struggles with uncertainty, and some tips she has for facing it head on.

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Tracey Grimm,  College Counselor, Lincoln School

International Diversity: Staffing the Change

DESCRIPTION: Why do most International ACAC college counselors and admissions officers not look like the students we counsel and recruit?  This conference chat combines personal anecdotes with reflections on the troubling lack of staff diversity, especially in leadership positions, at universities and international schools.  The celebration of student multiculturalism on college and high school campuses is rarely matched by a similar commitment to faculty and staff representation on these same campuses.  Indeed, there is often a glaring contrast between student and staff diversity that is rarely acknowledged by our institutions.

This talk will reflect on the dynamics faced by underrepresented ethnic minorities and non-western teachers and counselors at international schools.  It will also discuss how such hiring practices tend to reinforce perceptions that associate valuable educational experiences with their delivery by predominantly white and western professionals.  

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Mallika Ramdas, Deputy Director of Admissions, UWC South East Asia

Humour in the International School Counselling Context

DESCRIPTION: Have you ever tried to joke with a student to end up failing miserably? Humor is always a delicate topic within the student / counsellor’s relationship and, in order to avoid the risk of being inappropriate, offensive or to become the “friend”, some of us just gave up on humor in professional contexts. But humor can be a very powerful tool, not only to build positive and efficient counselling relationships but also to relieve stress, switch the mood or approach a tense student! So, wouldn’t it be worth persisting for our students’ sake and also for our own?

As Dr. Steven M. Sultanoff states: “We are going to eventually discover that the most dramatic health benefits of humor are not in laughter, but in the cognitive and emotional management that humorous experiences provide. The experience of humor relieves emotional distress and assists in changing negative thinking patterns.” We will go over the benefits but also the risks of using humor in an international school counselling context. Working with students is a challenge on its own but working with Third-Culture Kids and international students can be even more complex. Humor is a universal language but is also very embedded culturally and can vary widely from one person to another.

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Alban Ferrieu, University Counsellor, ACS Hillingdon International School

"It Takes a Village:" A Story of Hope in Times of Adversity

DESCRIPTION: It is estimated that only 1% of refugee youth go to university. At the small community-based school for refugees that I worked at for the past four years in Cairo, Egypt, it seemed that the only way to succeed was to wait for resettlement—the golden ticket. Given political and financial reasons, most of my students are not able to pursue higher education in Egypt. No one had ever thought of pursing higher education opportunities abroad for it seemed like an unattainable goal.

In spite of the educational, institutional, and quotidian hurdles, there is also the access to legal documentation such as passports and visas. However, a group of refugee students and I set ourselves to attempt to do what was thought to be impossible: they would seek educational opportunities in colleges and universities abroad. As of today, we have achieved the impossible. One of my students has been accepted to a university in the US and has been granted a generous financial aid package. In addition, six students have applied to university and have shifted the academic culture of their school and community. Throughout our seemingly impossible journey, my students and I discovered a global community willing to lend its support.

In retrospect, our achievements would have not been possible without this community. This community expands from local networks such as the Cairo Counselors School Network to the larger International ACAC community and global advocates for inclusion an access. Each member in this global village had the opportunity and desire to make an impact in my student’s lives. Whether it was through nominating/identifying me as a potential scholar, offering on-the-ground resources, speaking virtually with my students, presenting advice, fundraising, developing inclusive policies at higher institutions, or simply expressing their support, this community has enabled us to do the impossible. This chat is about the power of community support and networks and the hope that it fosters. It is a reflection of our journey in venturing across adversity, but it is also about the effect of the deeds (big or small) of a community that believes in educational access and its future possibilities.

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Fernando Revelo La Rotta, Independent Teacher/Counselor

Got Hustle? How a simple word just could be the difference between good or great 

DESCRIPTION: As international counselors or college representatives, we have the opportunity and privilege to work with students from a variety of backgrounds and academic abilities. Many of them are driven, hardworking and passionate about their education and future. These attributes are valuable and provide the necessary backbone for accomplishing many of their goals. However, what happens when their plans don't go as planned, confronted with severe challenges or need an extra boost? Enter the concept of "hustle."

Hustle is the next level of focus and determination when overcoming disappointment or preparing the next steps on the road to success. This easy to understand intangible is practical with the potential of lasting impact. Real-world experiences and applications working with students to motivate and inspire them while building a healthy ethos around the positive idea and mindset of hustle will be shared.  I will share how the concept of hustle was first introduced to me and the steps taken to implement a systematic approach to speaking and sharing examples with students.  The stories, examples, and rationale presented in this chat can be incorporated across a variety of academic and work environments. For some, this chat will speak to them directly as professionals, and for others, it will provide a framework for future lessons, conversations, and presentations for stakeholders in their learning communities.

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Tim Munnerlyn, High School Counselor, American School of Warsaw

*** Conference Chat – Thursday Lunch Sessions ***

Agents: Time for a New Approach?

DESCRIPTION: Years ago, then-OACAC advocacy triggered what came to be colloquially termed the agent debate. The often contentious conversations eventually led NACAC to update the Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) to conditionally allow member institutions to engage in commissioned international student recruitment via third-party agents. Fast forward to today, and more U.S. high schools, colleges, and universities are paying commissions to more agents for their international recruitment services than ever before. Is that a good thing, given the prevailing and ethically fraught business model?

Join this Conference Chat to learn about an alternative model that represents a considerably more transparent way by which institutions can engage agents, one that promises to eliminate the secrecy inherent in the status quo. Is it realistic? What are its limitations? What would it take to make it take hold as a new, and ethical industry standard?

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Eddie West, Executive Director - International Programs, UC Berkeley Extension

Service Learning and not Community Service

DESCRIPTION: This is a chat which would involve a different way of looking at community service. Community service as commonly known can create a feeling of being sorry for the recipient and feeling obligated to help. In this case, many people simply donate cash and are not aware of how the cash is then used to meet the intended need. This then provides an avenue for pilferage and a wasteful use of funds. In any case, the donor may not have the true feel of really having helped turn around the life of an individual. In a school set up, I prefer service Learning. 

Service Learning entails a philosophy of mutual respect and gain for both the donor and the recipient. In this case, the donor lives among the recipient even if its only for a few days and be involved in actual building and implementation of the project. In so doing, the donor appreciates the challenges faced but most important, gets to interact with the recipient population therefore becoming more aware of their cultural diversity and practices.  I have been in charge of a similar project with my students in Nairobi who raise funds and rehabilitating rural schools while camping amongst them. They now have a better understanding on issues like Female Genital Mutilations and Early Marriage. They voluntarily take up sponsorship of some students who have gone through such difficult experience. That is service learning that they will live with for the rest of their lives.

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Edwin Milafu, Guidance Counselor & Head of Sixth Form, Brookhouse International School

Perfecting the Pitch

DESCRIPTION: If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize the attention of every student you ever wanted, would you capture it or let it slip?

In this Chat, I will deconstruct branding the university pitch from publication to presentation. By presenting almost daily over the past six years, through trial and error, I have developed the traits and characteristics of what makes a university presentation fun but informative, casual but appropriate, and most importantly engaging to drive student leads “at the table”. Come learn how one can deliver an impactful university pitch by learning to merge central university branding with personal style.

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Adam Parker, Assistant Director International Outreach and Recruitment, University of Iowa

The Lean Kaizen: What Toyota Can Teach The Admission and Counselling Community about Productivity

DESCRIPTION: Lean principles were first used in car manufacturing by Toyota which has developed into one of the highest-selling automobile brands in the world. As others studied what made them successful, they found that Toyota's principles had wide applicability in a variety of areas including the office space. An aspect of Lean is a continuous improvement process called a Kaizen where individuals involved in a workflow are encouraged to deeply examine that flow to look for improvements. I went through such a Kaizen when I oversaw International Admissions at Calvin College and I was completely blown away by the results. We dramatically improved the efficiency of our international admissions process. In this chat, I plan to describe the way our Kaizen worked, the efficiencies gained, the continuous nature of the improvements, and (most importantly) how this approach is applicable to admissions and counselling offices. I enthusiastically believe that the Lean Kaizen is the answer to many of the productivity challenges our community faces as we are constantly expected to do more with less time.

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Nunana Nyomi, Assistant Director of Higher Education Services, Council of International Schools

What actually maters in the college experience -- three questions students and parents should be asking

DESCRIPTION: The Gallup-Purdue poll gives us insight on the types of experiences graduates had that relate to well-being in latter life. How can we use this information to help students and families better understand the experiences that actually matter? Come learn about the six experiences in colleges that actually have a very high correlation for well-being in life distilled down to three easy questions.  

LOCATION: St. Charles Room in Danna Student Center, Loyola University Campus

PRESENTER: Shaun McElroy, College Counselor, Shanghai American School - Puxi Campus