Jayne Caflin Fonash, an independent college counselor based in Potomac Falls, Virginia, assumed the NACAC presidency last week at the association’s 75th National Conference in Louisville.
In her first speech as NACAC’s top elected leader, Fonash addressed the role the association would play in continuing to protect student rights and interests in the college admission process. Earlier in the day, NACAC’s Assembly voted to remove three provisions from the association’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices (CEPP) that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) believes inhibit, to some extent, competition among colleges for students. The three provisions address offering exclusive incentives for Early Decision, recruiting first-year undergraduates who have committed elsewhere, and recruiting transfer students.
Prior to NACAC’s conference, the DOJ indicated that it was likely to seek a consent decree that would compel the association, under a court order, to delete the three provisions from its code of ethics.
“None of us expected to be taking on a review of the Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, or CEPP, so soon after its passage two years ago—and in response to a series of pointed questions from the federal government, no less. But that is where we are,” Calfin Fonash told those gathered at NACAC’s Annual Membership Meeting. “I hope that all of you will join me in a commitment to maintaining our ethical practices while abiding by that decree. And in response, our Admission Practices Committee will evolve into a group tasked with educating our profession and a range of external audiences about ethical practice, rather than playing an enforcement role, as has long been the case.”
Calfin Fonash, who has a background in mental health counseling, spent more than two decades working as a school counselor. She is a longtime member of both NACAC and the Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC). She was PCACAC’s president in 2010-11 and served on NACAC’s Government Relations Committee from 2012 to 2015, earning the association’s Excellence in Government Relations Award in 2013.
One of Calfin Fonash’s first actions as president was to announce the formation of a new committee to explore the future of college admission and identify the changes necessary to ensure access for all students. She’ll also oversee ongoing efforts to re-envision the association’s governance system and manage the search for a new chief executive officer. Current CEO Joyce E. Smith is set to retire in 2020 after 22 years at the helm.
“Our commitment to protecting students throughout their transition to college will also remain a signature objective of NACAC—but there must be changes in how we make it happen,” Calfin Fonash said. “We will continue, I know, to share a belief that our profession is built on the pillars of trust, mutual respect, transparency, and honesty.”
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