College Admissions Decoded

Race-Conscious Admission and the Potential Implications of the Upcoming Supreme Court Ruling

Episode Notes

Race-Conscious Admission has been a component of the college admission process for over half a century and has endured legal battles for decades. With three new justices appointed since 2016, the national debate has resurfaced. NACAC Board Member, Eddie Pickett, talks to Managing Partner and co-founder of EducationCounsel LLC Art Coleman about the two latest cases against Harvard University and The University of North Carolina and the history behind race and admission.

Guest: Art Coleman, Managing Partner and co-founder of EducationCounsel LLC. Host: Eddie Pickett, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions and Director of Recruitment at Pomona College.

Episode Transcription

Eddie Pickett:

Hello and welcome to the College Admissions Decoded Podcast, an occasional series from the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC. NACAC is an association of more than 26,000 professionals at high schools, colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations, as well as independent counselors who support and advise students and families through the college admissions process. I'm your host, Eddie Pickett, and my pronouns are he, him, and his. I'm a NACAC board member and a senior associate Dean of Admissions and the Director of Recruitment at Pomona College in Claremont, California. I'm joined today by Art Coleman, managing partner and co-founder of EducationCounsel, who's worked on issues of equity and college admissions for many years. He provides policy, strategic and legal counseling services to national nonprofit organizations, school districts, state agencies, and post-secondary institutions throughout the country. Hello and welcome, Art.

Art Coleman:

Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

Eddie Pickett:

I'm really excited for today's conversation, because my current major project at school is preparing for the potential implications of this ruling. And so, I know that I'm going to learn something new today and hopefully you all get to learn something new, as well. Just to start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, about EducationCounsel  and what draws you to the college access and equity work?

Art Coleman:

Sure. My work focuses mostly on issues of student equity and institutional quality. And the whole array of DEI issues reflect, really, my particular focus now on issues of policy, strategy and law. That focus comes after a stint where, as I term it, I'm a recovering litigator. I also worked as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education during the Clinton administration, and helped form EducationCounsel years ago with former Secretary of Education, Dick Riley. And it was, in essence, a quest to establish a mission based enterprise that would help marry good policy practice and law, to come up with better decision making and better outcomes for all students with a core focus on equity. And so, that's the core of what I do. The vast majority of my particular work in our organization is in the post-secondary space in the admissions and enrollment arena.

And how did I get here? I think you can look back at my life, all the way back to my childhood. My mom was a high school teacher and a school counselor for 30 years, and I grew up with her passion about helping students who were low income or students of color getting to and through post-secondary education. College, for me, was also a transformative experience. It gave me confidence and opened my eyes to a new world I had never seen. And my husband and I have two children who are black, and living their experience... One's a senior, senior in college, one's just graduated from college. Living. that experience has given me sort of new insight on the perspectives and the nuances, and the contextualization around issues of diversity, equity, inclusion. And so, I bring sort of all of that sort of personal history to my professional passion.

Eddie Pickett:

Can you tell us about your history of involvement with consideration of race and admissions decisions?

Art Coleman:

Sure. That really began in earnest. I was counting back this morning, it's rather scary. It's almost 30 years ago. But when I was at the department in the Office of Civil Rights, the issues of race conscious admissions and affirmative action more broadly were central to my portfolio. And what I discovered through both outreach and working with institutions around the country was that a lot of very smart people were not connecting the dots between research, policy, practice and law on the front end, and they were creating problems for themselves on the back end. And that became a real kernel of my focus, not only because I cared about the issues authentically, but because as a lawyer I was frustrated that people weren't seeing the light for some strange reason. And so, this became a driving force about what I knew I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and it's really why I've spent so much time on this set of issues.

Eddie Pickett:

Lovely. I remember my ed law class and my higher ed program, shout out to Diana Pullen who's now retired. That class kicked my butt, but oh, did I learn so much. And I think the policy stuff in higher ed is sometimes the things that people don't want to really jump into. They're scared of law or lawyers in those pieces, but seeing this conversation unfolding already but also the work that you're doing, quite important and exciting, actually.

Art Coleman:

Interesting you should say that, because what I've actually tried to do with great intentionality over the last several decades is to take what can be a very intimidating body of case law and cases with lots of legalese, and effectively translate it into common sense policy and practice questions for practitioners, so they can actually do the work that the law demands within a design that makes sense for them in their particular world.

Eddie Pickett:

And as we read the news right now about the Supreme Court case, you frequently see the term affirmative action used to describe what's being debated. Isn't that a little misleading?

Art Coleman:

Okay. You'll have to excuse me while I step up on my soapbox.

Eddie Pickett:

Go ahead.

Art Coleman:

Let me say that I don't think we, as higher education leaders and officials around the country, have done a good and effective job of communicating what is really going on around these issues associated with race and admissions. And the best example of that is we have gotten lazy in using the term affirmative action for something that, in my view, is anything but. Affirmative action originated in the sixties into the seventies. It was designed, in essence, to address remedial backward looking social equity concerns and issues associated with race, ethnicity, and then sex and gender.

And what the educational benefits of diversity are about, what the cases in the Harvard and UNC litigation are about and what our 45 year history with these sets of issues is about is not remedial, it is not backward looking, it's not a social justice interest, although there is a relationship. It is a forward looking, mission based, educationally grounded rationale about the benefits for all students, where you are allowed to consider, in a limited way, facets of backgrounds of students, particularly students of color, who may bring a different life experience perspective or passion to the table. And we've conflated the two to our own detriment, because it's a polarizing politicized issue, and the term affirmative action can be used standing alone to communicate something that really is not what's going on behind closed doors in colleges and universities.

Eddie Pickett:

Who is Students for Fair Admissions? What is the objective in suing colleges over the consideration of race during the admissions process?

Art Coleman:

Well, Students for Fair Admissions in a nutshell is an organization led by Ed Bloom who has been on an ideological crusade for years, if not decades, to basically eliminate any consideration of race anywhere in American society. And this particular focus is on issues of race and ethnicity in higher education admissions. It's an organization that has sued multiple institutions. The two cases involving UNC and Harvard are, in essence, first off and now squarely before the Supreme Court. But their advocacy reflects his personal crusade and an ideology about the Constitution being colorblind. And it really sets the stage for core questions about what we value and who we are, not only as institutions of higher education, but as an American society.

Eddie Pickett:

Something you just said there is quite interesting. You said "Our constitution is colorblind." I noticed that's one of the pieces that they have argued. Secondly, they say that institutions of higher education can't be trusted. How would you respond to that?

Art Coleman:

Well, very simply, and we attempted to do this in part in the brief I helped write on behalf of NACAC Acro, the college board, and ACT as a friend of the court on behalf of Harvard and UNC. Those propositions are not only wrong as a matter of law, they're wrong as a matter of fact. And legally, without going into too much depth here, I think the point is the Constitution is anything but colorblind and it doesn't take much scholarship. And by the way, there are amicus briefs filed in this case on that point, to show the flawed premise about that history.

More importantly, in my mind, you've got 45 years of consistent Supreme court cases that have affirmed the right of institutions of higher education to consider, in a limited fashion, the race or ethnicity of an applicant when making admissions decisions. Grounded in principles of equal protection, grounded in principles of Title six. And by the way, the justices that we're rendering those opinions ever since 1978, or those radical liberals, Justice Powell, Justice O'Connor, Chief Justice Rehnquist, and Justice Kennedy. Two way Justice. They were moderate to conservative justices who were taking these basic, I would argue, small “c” conservative principles around the empirical foundations about the power of diversity in the context of the issues associated with admissions. And in that context, they've already rebutted that case in essence. But it's a new court, it's a new day, and the questions are coming up again.

Eddie Pickett:

I love how you called in the radical justices. I was like, "Hmm, interesting." Because I know who they are, as well. I was like, "Oh, all right. Yeah."

Art Coleman:

All conservative, moderate, pragmatic justices at the end of the day, who are ruling in these cases for 45 years.

Eddie Pickett:

And the two newest cases on their docket in this space are one against Harvard University and another against the University of North Carolina. What's the difference in these two cases?

Art Coleman:

Well, let me start with what's the same. The fundamental question in both cases for which the court has granted certiorari is whether this history that I just talked about, the 45 years of very consistent aligned precedent should be overturned. SFFA in its brief actually says Gruder was wrong. The major case that established the framework for our analysis. Gruder was wrong on the day it was decided. By the way, there were six justices on the court out of nine at the time, who agreed with the principles of Gruder in that five four decision, and that was an O’Connor decision.

I think, fundamentally, what SFA is looking for is to get the court to forget the facts of Harvard, forget the facts of UNC. Wipe out this precedent as a matter of law and further tie the hands of colleges and universities when they are attempting to achieve their mission driven diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

There are fact issues present, as well, and it opens the door for a lot of scenarios on how the court might rule. But it could be that the court rejects the broader question and goes to the specific facts of the cases. The Harvard case in particular involved claims on behalf of Asian American applicants claiming discrimination. In essence, grounding in a theory, not quite articulated, but ever present, present in every case that's ever been filed of this, that somehow grades and test scores equals merit, a laughable proposition. But that's the underpinning of the Harvard case, in essence, when you're talking about why, as they claim, Asian American students or applicants have been discriminated against.

In both Harvard and UNC, there are also issues about the nature of the interest and the failure of the institution, according to the plaintiff, to pursue other viable, race neutral strategies. The court could go into the weeds on facts in resolving the case or it could issue some broad edict regarding the foundations that have been driving this work and the work of institutions of our education around the country for decades.

Eddie Pickett:

When you talk about this 45 years of history, how has the court's guidance changed during that time frame?

Art Coleman:

It's evolved, for sure, over time. If you go back for just a quick snapshot, we had Justice Powell rendering an opinion in Bokke which became the conceptual underpinning. Recognizing it was an open door to advance the educational benefits of diversity that could involve the consideration of race. Grutter and Gratz, taken together in 2003, 25 years later, took that principle, affirmed it and then said, "And here is a framework for analysis." And those cases gave us a framework that has guided the courts ever since. That framework is still operative today. And in the cases that followed, particularly the two Fisher cases involving the University of Texas at Austin, the court took that framework and elaborated on questions of evidence and questions of the nature of the proof to establish certain points in the case. And so, we've continued to learn more. That is generally true with every new case. You've got a new set of facts and the law is applied to those set of facts. And so, you are going to learn new things about what a court thinks in that context. That's not surprising. But what is remarkable to me is there is a fundamental alignment and coherence by a body of case law that has stood the test of time for 45 years. And now, all of a sudden, with a very different court than we had in 2016, the last Fisher two decision, we've got SFFA coming to court and saying wipe it all out.

Eddie Pickett:

The timing is pretty nice for them, it sounds like. What are your thoughts in that space? Bring it to the court now versus a couple of years ago.

Art Coleman:

Well, certainly, we've got a very different court. And I would think at some fundamental level, while I think by most accounts it is more conservative, depending on how you define conservative. But we've got four justices on the court now that we're not on the court in 2016, when the last case of consequence was decided. Three of those justices are Trump appointees, one is a Biden appointee. And so, it's an interesting and new mix of justices to resolve these questions. We actually don't have a terribly robust record by the Trump or any of the new justices on this front, so it's a little speculative to go too far in predicting what they would do. And by the way, I would never predict an outcome in a case. I've been wrong way too many times on that to go down that pathway.

But I think you've got to believe that the tea leaves portend something that is likely, but not certain, likely not to be favorable to UNC and Harvard or the court would not have not only taken the Harvard case so recently after a UT decision of favor, but literally plucked the UNC case from the district court level, bypassed the fourth Circuit court of appeals, and consolidated the two cases.

They've now deconsolidated the cases. But the point is UNC never got that appellate review at the Fourth Circuit Court of appeals, as it would normally do. The court was intent on putting them together. And that suggests, potentially, an intent to do something with this doctrine. I will say, as I look at the lineup of justices, the one who has not gotten a lot of conversation and the one who is most interesting to me in this space is Justice Kagan. She was an Obama appointee, and importantly she was dean of the Harvard Law School years ago. She's not recused from this because the issues in the policies are outside of her tenure. But she comes to the court with an inherent understanding of higher education, because she has lived it as a dean. And I wonder what power or what insights she can bring to those deliberations by the court that might shape the guidance moving forward. So, she's actually one I'm going to be listening for an oral argument and watching to see what role she may play to the extent it's transparent in what the court decides.

Eddie Pickett:

And when you talk about, "They plucked it out of the appellate court," can you tell us about the typical process that something would go through here and why you think that is different or anything in that space?

Art Coleman:

Typically in federal court litigation, you have a trial at the district court level. Once the parties have had that trial and a judge or jury renders a decision in that case, then it can get appealed and it gets appealed to the next level appellate review, which is our court of appeals system. And for the district court in North Carolina, that's the fourth circuit court of appeals. For the district court system in Massachusetts regarding Harvard, that would be the first circuit court of appeals. Harvard went to the first circuit. The first circuit affirmed the district court opinion that said Harvard wins across the board in a very exhaustive, detailed opinion. The same district court decision for UNC was rendered. The trial court finding that UNC prevailed on all claims, as well. A very detailed and exhaustive opinion. But before SFFA could take it to the appellate level, the Supreme Court took the Harvard case and agreed to hear it, and SFFA then immediately petitioned the court to bypass the fourth  circuit and take the case and consolidate the two. And that's, in essence, what happened.

Eddie Pickett:

Thank you for the history lesson there. And for just the process in general, because I know not everybody knows the process. And so, it's always important to know what are the different steps that are happening, why they happen, and who is really driving that process as well? Earlier you talked about the amicus brief and I want to bring that idea back up. You were the primary author on NACAC’s collaborative amicus brief or friend of the court in conjunction with the college board, ACT, the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers, or ACRO. What major arguments does the brief include and why are they important to the court's consideration of the case?

Art Coleman:

Thanks for that question, because I think it's really important as folks may turn to look at the brief to understand what we did, and as importantly, why we did it. We knew going in our job was not to relitigate the facts of the case. That's a Harvard and UNC job. And we knew going in there would be a substantial amicus effort of which we were a part. And in fact, I think the numbers are something like well over 60 briefs on behalf of over 3000 individuals in organizations, or a remarkable amicus effort. One of the more significant ones to come before the court, and we are part and parcel of that.

Our aim was a singular focus to educate the court on the, if you will, science of admissions. To educate about what is good practice, what is necessary practice, and what are the standards and rigor associated with admissions. And at the same time, to debunk the myths that are prevalent in public understanding. And certainly, those lifted up by SFFA regarding the use of race in admissions, and the overreliance of test scores and grades in admissions. And so, in essence, we wanted to write a brief that would speak less at some level to the law per se, and more to the policy, practice, wisdom, and integrity of admissions as admissions.

And so, we made three fundamental arguments. First, we argued that individualized, holistic review of student application in higher education at mission does not, as SFFA claims, involve "Racial categorization or stereotyping," but is rather a process in which all relevant factors, considered in combination, shape applicant specific judgments about their ability to succeed and their ability to contribute to and learn in the learning environment for their peers and their community. That foundation, in essence, attempting to debunk the notion that all we're doing is checking a box when it comes to race, when in fact it is anything but checking a box. It's looking at an authentic, lived history and story of an applicant, whether it's coming through essays, teacher recommendations, or the like, to understand the potential role that student could play in a college or university.

So, it's not this check the box, it's not this categorization, it's not this stereotyping that the other side maintains. That was point one. Point two was, and this was critically important given sort of the underpinning that I alluded to earlier, test scores and grades alone or in combination, do not equate to merit. There is this mythology out there somehow those with the highest test scores should be automatically the ones that get in the door. I've said for years, if that were the case, why do we need admissions officers? Let's just have a computer program and let's do it.

The more practical and real world standpoint is for some institutions, test scores and grades are going to be a central piece of the application. Increasingly now, with the test blind or the test optional movement, you've got institutions moving away from that. Whatever the institutional policy and practice is, test scores and grades to the extent they play a role are not the dispositive. Because institutions, and we've got data on this and there is research on this, looking at dozens and dozens of factors that go into the question of, "Is this applicant right for my institution among all the applicants that we are considering?" And so, that point was important to really convey, rebut that independent mythology that is out there.

And then third, it was important for us to demonstrate, as others have, the practical reality of the reliance by higher education institutions on 45 years of precedent. One of the questions when a court is overturning precedent is, "Are you going to upset legitimate reliance interests in the field?" If you're likely to do that, that's a factor that weighs against overturning precedent. SFFA has come in and said, "No one's relying on this precedent. It's all really smoke and mirrors and higher ed can't be trusted." We showed, as a matter of fact, and as a matter of historical record to the contrary. There is actual institutional and organizational reliance. Organizations like NACAC and others leading the field to help understand and operationalize the law to drive better decision making, and legally compliant decision making among institutions for decades.

And so, it was important to address that, again, mythology put forward by SFFA that somehow there was no reliance in the field. There's abundant reliance in the field. And not only the brief we wrote, but the brief that the parties submitted, and the brief that other amicus on behalf of higher education organizations and institutions showed their intent, their practice and their fundamental reliance on a decade of precedent that frankly, to go back to an earlier point I made, has been relatively coherent and stable over time. And so, it's given higher education a solid base to guide their policy and practice.

Eddie Pickett:

And one of the things I found interesting with this brief also is that ACRO, NACAC, College Board and ACT, those aren't always organizations that are aligned. How'd you get that group together and why is it important that these four organizations wrote this together?

Art Coleman:

Right. They're not four organizations that are always aligned. I'm not sure you could find four organizations today that are always aligned. But I think, to the credit of each of the organizations, they recognized the power of collective voice. They recognized the power of coming together as not only leaders in the admissions and enrollment space, but bringing in our two major standardized test publishers to really talk about their standards, their protocols, and their principles associated with test and test use, to debunk these myths that I just talked about. And so, the power of the collective voice in this particular realm for advocacy purposes, we hope will really help educate the court and give them much to think about as they considered the claims that we believe from SFFA really just advance an ideology and a mythology that is not borne out by facts or law.

Eddie Pickett:

We've learned a lot of great things so far in this conversation, at least I have. And my goal is always to learn something new every day and I'm learning way more than something right now. I also work at a university, so I have a job to do. Can you tell us how can colleges and universities best prepare themselves for the decision? And what's the timeline for the court's deliberations, as well?

Art Coleman:

The court is expected to render decisions in each of the two cases no later than the end of June, which is the end of the 22/23 term. And if past is prologue, we would expect cases of this ilk to be handed down late in the term. Likely very late in the month of June, if not at the tail end of the court's term in June of 2023. But because you never can count on exactly what the court is going to do or when it's going to act, I would say I would be ready to face whatever decision is coming down probably by the early spring. I think you could theoretically see a case come down in March, April. Not necessarily May or June. But certainly I think by the end of June we will know what the court has to say about the UNC in Harvard cases.

I think my point on readiness is several fold. One, as a matter of timing, you don't get ready for potential adverse decisions in cases like this. And again, I'm not predicting those outcomes, but in any effective planning, you really should be looking at all possible outcomes and setting the stage for the work ahead. And so, the summer of 2023 could be a particularly busy time for enrollment leaders and officials on college and university campuses, if the court takes some radical turn in terms of our longstanding precedent. I think to get ready means to start working on this tomorrow. There is literally a lot of work to be done. The work we are guiding institutions and organizations, leading institutions is to focus on scenario planning, and then to understand what you know right now and what options might be if the court were to rule differently.

We are looking at issues of impact and compliance, having a good inventory, knowing all of the relevant policies and practices that might be implicated by court decisions, so you have that in hand. Having the relevant research in other empirical foundations that have informed the development of those policies, so that can be a baseline for whatever conversations you need to be having as you're contemplating the possibility, if not prospect, of some change in policy over time. And then, making sure you've got the right people at the right table, at the right time, asking the right questions on what this policy shift can, might, should be. And that, by the way, involves, in my view, people certainly heavily invested in and knowledge about enrollment policy and practice. But this is a bigger institutional question than just a question of admissions or enrollment policy. And so, I think it implicates working with other stakeholders around the institution.

And that will take me to my other point that while, and certainly as a lawyer and someone who works on issues of policy coming into the space, that tends to be my predominant focus. And I think that's where most people's heads turn as they think through the prospects of a range of possible court outcomes. I want to remind everyone what I think we intuitively know, that this is a moment of policy and practice, just as it going to be a moment of psychology for the individuals on campus. The students, the staff, the faculty, the leaders, the alum, the community. And this can have real world consequences in just how you engage and how you communicate your commitment to continue to lead on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, regardless of what the court does.

I mean, institutions are going to step up and I would hope they would all say, "Of course we will comply with the law, even if it's an adverse decision, even though we vehemently disagree with it." But we should be positioned to do more. We should be positioned to lead to and through this consequential moment in time and to demonstrate our resolve and our commitment, in word  and deed, associated with the efforts that are tied to the eloquent mission statements that most institutions have that lift up the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Eddie Pickett:

I'm hearing you say that we need some bold leadership. Would that be correct?

Art Coleman:

That would be absolutely correct.

Eddie Pickett:

So, regardless of the court's ruling, colleges and universities, as well as associations like NACAC will not stop pursuing racial equity in the college admissions process. I think it starts in lots of different ways. And one of the things I love about working at Pomona College is our mission statement starts there, and a part of our mission statement reads, just so you can get a sense of it, says, "Throughout its history, Pomona College has educated students of exceptional promise. We gather individuals regardless of financial circumstances into a small residential community that is strongly rooted in Southern California, yet global in its orientation." And this next line is one of my favorites. "Through close ties among a diverse group of faculty, staff and classmates, Pomona students are inspired to engage in the probing inquiry in creative learning that enable them to identify and address their intellectual passions." I love that line, because it's in our mission statement. But thinking beyond just the mission statement, what are some of the most important messages we can relate to students, families, the media and the general public about why we do what we do?

Art Coleman:

I'll answer that question, but let me just say I love that mission statement. And part of the reason I want to lift up what you just said about Pomona's mission is because it articulates in very clear terms the essence of what I'm going to say now, which is we need to do the job of reaffirming our commitment to this set of issues, but tied to the authentic, empirically grounded research and experience that we know, because it matters. Why do we do what we do? Not for numbers, for number sake. We do what we do because we know it matters with respect to the kind of learning opportunities student have, the kind of learning experiences students have, the way that students feel included or not in campus, and ultimately what kind of learning outcomes they have, and then what kind of civic and economic results stem from that as they go in to pursue different careers and a life well led.

It is no surprise to me, and it should be no surprise here either, that not only do we have institutions of higher education advocating on behalf of Harvard and UNC. Not only do we have social justice and civil rights organizations advocating on behalf of Harvard and UNC, we have Fortune 500 companies advocating on behalf of Harvard and UNC. We have technology companies advocating on behalf of Harvard and UNC. We have retired military officials advocating on behalf of Harvard and UNC.

Why? Because there is a science around the benefits of diversity that plays in every field and every facet. We get better experiences, we get better outcomes as a grounding, and we need to be able to tell in our own individual, institutional way, how what we do tracks that record of substantial research and why it makes sense for us to continue that fight. And, to go back to an earlier point I made, this needs to be a moment in time where institutions can sit up, stand up and lead to and through what could be an adverse ruling to say if there is one tool that is no longer in our toolbox, hypothetically, we still have lots of tools that are not implicated by this decision, and there are a lot of strategies for us to pursue, and this is what we're going to do today, tomorrow, and the next day.

Eddie Pickett:

As an admissions officer, I'm thinking about how can we find help. And so, are there any resources that you would point us to?

Art Coleman:

Let me give you a couple that I think are particularly germane to this moment in time and getting ready for court decisions sometime likely in early to mid 2023. The first I'd start with is obviously NACAC's and NAsFAA’s toward a more equitable future for post-secondary access. I think there are a lot of good foundations for thinking through, not only, "What do I do affirmatively?", but looking to identify the barriers that may be impeding full access or optimal diversity on campus. I mean, I think we get so caught up in the legal issue, sometimes we fail to step back and see the forests for the trees. And I think that lens of that report can be an important foundation for leading conversations among stakeholders on college campuses.

The other two that go very specifically to this moment in time on the access and diversity collaborative website of which NACAC has been a leader for years, and you can Google Access and Diversity Collaborative and find it. They're two resources, all of these are free and downloadable. One is engaging campus stakeholders on enrollment issues associated with student diversity, a communications primer. We attempted in that guidance to synthesize, in essence, the research and law into effective framing and easy to understand and intuit points as you're engaging your campus stakeholders on this set of issues. And now is a time to be engaging campus stakeholders on these issues, including faculty, so they understand what's at stake and what the foundations for action may need to be. In that context, just to call it out, we also lifted up a number of myths in the field and debunked those myths with a reference to a number of sources of research.

And then, finally, I would say there's another document from the ADC called The Playbook. It was the second edition published in 2019, also available on the website, that attempts to synthesize the law in practical policy terms for practitioners, and then set the stage for thinking really earnestly through an array of race neutral strategies, and steps that institutions can take. We outlined nine plays or strategies. Plays, as we term them. Strategies associated with race neutral efforts. And we documented over 40 institutional and organizational examples that can help give a foundation for work ahead that should be pursued in any event under current law, and I think will likely certainly be central to whatever colleges and universities are doing in the wake of the UNC and Harvard decisions.

Eddie Pickett:

I'm over here just soaking up wisdom. And I feel like we can continue this conversation for so much longer and I would love to. Unfortunately we can't do that for too long. But I do want to ask you, is there anything that you'd like to add to the conversation we haven't talked about or just any last words of wisdom?

Art Coleman:

I would just say that from where I sit, the importance of the leadership of organizations like NACAC to really bring people together. Not only to understand some of the details and some of the weeds of the issues at play, but to help inform and establish a platform for our community engagement and advocacy and leadership over time is critical. And by the way, and we haven't said this explicitly, this isn't just a higher education issue, it is a K-12 issue, as well. And certainly college counselors in the high school world are going to be impacted by, as their students will be impacted by these decisions. It is important for them to be part of that conversation going forward, as well.

Eddie Pickett:

Sadly, and I say really sadly, that's all the time that we have today. I really want to thank you, Art, for joining us on this podcast. For spending your time, for giving your wisdom to us and for helping our field out as an educator, as an administrator, as an admissions officer, but also just as a human being. I really want to thank you for the work that you've done.

Art Coleman:

Thanks so much. It's my privilege to be here.

Eddie Pickett:

And thanks to you, my friends in the audience for joining us for this lovely conversation. I hope you've enjoyed this episode.

College Admissions Decoded is a podcast from NACAC, the National Association for College Admission Counseling. It is produced by LWC Studios. Kojin Tashiro produced this episode. If you'd like to learn more about NACAC's guests, our organization, and the college admissions process, visit our website at nacacnet.org. That's nacacnet.org. Please leave a review and rate us on Apple Podcasts. See you next time on College Admissions Decoded.

CITATION: National Association for College Admission Counseling. “Special Edition: Next Gen Admission Professionals Seek Balance, Values, and Self-Actualization at Work.” NACAC College Admissions Decoded, National Association for College Admissions Counseling, May 17, 2022.