Three of Tusculum College’s admission staff recently attended the Tennessee Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers (TACRAO) annual meeting and conference in Knoxville.
Attending the conference were Jacquelyn D. Elliott, vice president for enrollment management; Melissa Ripley ’01 ’04 ‘06, director of admission operations and marketing, and Aaron Porter ‘07, assistant director of admission.
Porter attended the annual conference for the first time and did so on a full scholarship awarded by the conference committee. After submitting an essay on why he chose the admissions field and how he sees his role in his current position as admissions counselor preparing him for his future career aspirations, Porter was notified that he was one of three individuals who were selected to receive the scholarship.
The scholarship allowed him to not only attend the conference, but also provided the funding for his travel, lodging and other related expenses for the three-day event.
In his submission essay, Porter credits Elliott with his entry into the field of higher education admission and enrollment. “The primary reason I work in admission at Tusculum College is because of Jacqui Elliott,” he said.
“Her high expectations, coupled with an expertise style of leadership, provide me with an enjoyable environment for professional growth,” he said. “Jacqui asked me to take on the new challenges and responsibilities because she trusted that my integrity, discipline, work ethic and experience could be pushed beyond the role of an admission counselor.”
It is also Elliott who is his inspiration to constantly improve, to build better relationships and to potentially one day become an educator himself.
“I’ve seen firsthand the difference one can make in the lives of the future generation and know that is how I want to invest my life.”
TACRAO is a professional non-profit organization whose purposes are the exchange of ideas and information on and about higher education in the State of Tennessee and nation as a whole, to promote the advancement of higher education, to promote and support the professional development of and the friendly spirit of cooperation and unity among its members and to act as a coordinating agency among its members.
The annual meeting and conference provides registrar and admission professionals the opportunity to sharpen their professional skills, discover new ideas in higher education and re-new friendships with colleagues across the state.
“There were a variety of sessions from which to choose,” said Porter, “and there were a lot of good discussions that I had the opportunity to participate in that included the small, private school perspective.”
Overall, Porter said his participation was an excellent opportunity to meet others in his field and begin creating a network of peers. “It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday activities here at Tusculum, you need to stop and see how others are doing things,” he said.
According to Elliott, participating in these types of developmental activities are important for the professional growth of the department.
“We are always trying to learn more, benefit from new ideas and discover new ways of looking at old problems. Innovation is the engine of enrollment management, and these types of experiences are invaluable, especially for some of our emerging staff members like Aaron,” Elliott said.