All Access Meeting of the Members
College Board and its members have great strength when they speak with one voice, and that shared advocacy is more important than ever as the education world confronts an array of challenging issues. That’s the message that Board of Trustees Vice Chair Susan Enfield brought to the annual meeting of the members, closing the 2023 Forum with a rousing call to “speak in harmony” about the importance of access to opportunity for all students.
“We are, in fact, a membership organization,” she reminded everyone. “We’re the collective insight and energy of the people who make up our membership.” Enfield, who serves as the superintendent of Washoe County Public Schools in Nevada, emphasized that that unity should give everyone greater confidence in speaking out against censorship, standing up for wider access to college and career pathways, and investing in resources that make life simpler for students.
College Board CEO David Coleman echoed that theme and pointed to concrete examples of how collective action has benefited College Board members.
He highlighted initiatives like Landscape®, which assembles a wealth of contextual data about students’ schools and neighborhoods so that college admissions officers can weigh academic achievement alongside knowledge of a student’s life circumstances. Building such a powerful new tool required the support and input of member institutions across the country, and it enabled higher education to prepare for the end of race-conscious admission. That effort showed College Board’s membership “daring to innovate in a domain where innovation is avoided.”
Coleman went on to say that membership and collective action are powerful ideas at a moment when there’s so much effort to sow division. Some actors in media and politics seek to caricature educators, admissions officers, and colleges themselves by pointing out isolated instances of controversial behavior and creating a distorted picture of educational institutions. The education world needs to work together to combat those misconceptions. Membership in College Board provides an avenue to act.
“Friendship and fellowship─those are the antidotes to division,” he concluded. “Everyone in this room is interested in reaching out to one another. That’s why we’re here.”
Enfield said she’d be taking the message home with her, returning revitalized and eager to fight for the principles of education. “I’m going back with a renewed sense of purpose, of fight, of vision. And that’s because of all of you.”