Election of Officers: 2017-2018
It is a pleasure to announce this year’s slate of candidates for OACAC leadership positions. This year our president-elect and secretary will be elected. The Nominations Committee has worked diligently to present a slate that balances institutional type, geography, diversity, and a range of experiences among the candidates as well as the current board. OACAC officers represent OACAC on a local, state, and national level.
All candidates are listed in alpha order under their respective nomination.
Nancy E. Gibson, Denison University
Sarah A. Shepherd, The University of Cincinnati
Kara M. Ussery, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
I am honored to run for the position of OACAC President-Elect. With over 26 years of experience in college admissions and higher education, I have dedicated my entire career to this profession. My current position is Senior Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Multi-Ethnic Admissions at Denison University, where I have been for 20 years. Prior to that, I was in the role of Assistant Director of Admissions & Minority Recruitment Coordinator at Capital University for six years. I have been an OACAC member for my entire professional career and a NACAC member for the past 20 years, and have been involved in the following ways:
Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC)
OACAC Member: 1991-Present
OACAC Executive Board Member: 1995-2000, 2002-2006, 2011-Present
- OACAC/NACAC Delegate: 2016-Present
- OACAC Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee Chair: 2014–2016
- OACAC Multicultural Concerns Committee Chair: 2002-2006, 2011-2014
- OACAC Member-at-Large: 2002-2004
- OACAC/NACAC Delegate: 1997-2000
- OACAC Public Relations Committee Chair: 1995-1997
Additional OACAC Committees:
- OACAC Guiding the Way to Inclusion Committee Member: 2008-2016
- OACAC Summer Institute Faculty Mentor: 2003-2011, 2012-2014
- OACAC Counselor of Color Workshop Committee Member: 2000-2006
- OACAC Nominating & Awards Committee Member: 2000-2002, 2006-2007, 2011-2012, 2014-2015
- OACAC Life Member Award – 2013
- OACAC Jeanne Talley Human Relations Award – 2009
National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
NACAC Member: 1997-Present
- NACAC National Conference 2016 Columbus Local Advisory Committee – Registration Co-Chair: 2015-2016 – (Received a plaque from NACAC for serving)
- NACAC National Conference Session Proposal Reviewer: 2016
- NACAC National Conference Participant: 1997-2016
- NACAC National Conference Volunteer: San Diego, CA – 2015, New Orleans, LA – 2011
- NACAC Alternate OACAC Delegate: San Antonio, TX – 2001
- NACAC National Conference Presenter: Orlando, FL – 1999
Related Leadership Experience and Professional Involvement
- Great Lakes Colleges Association/Multicultural Admissions Committee: 1997-Present
- Denison University Black Caucus Co-Chairperson: 2001-Present
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated – Alpha Sigma Omega Graduate Chapter
- Executive Board – Secretary: 2011-2012, 2017
- Executive Board – Member-at-Large: 2009-2011
- Denison University Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award – January, 2005
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated Annie Singleton Award – October, 2005
- Citation of special recognition from the members of the 119th General Assembly of the Ohio House of Representatives (sponsored by Representative Ray Miller House District #29) on appointment as the first Coordinator of Minority Recruitment at Capital University – 1991
OACAC has been so important to me in my development as a professional and I am excited about the possibilities as we look to the future. If elected as President-Elect, I would focus on three important goals for OACAC as an organization during my administration.
- Membership – As a priority of the strategic plan it is imperative that we increase our membership since numbers have fluctuated in recent years. I will work with the Executive Board and Membership Committee to emphasize the incredible benefits of membership for both school counselors and college representatives in OACAC. I also hope to get members even more engaged in OACAC on committees, participating in professional development events, and representing Ohio on a national level.
- Communication – With a background in Public Relations, communication has been an essential part of my experience as a professional and I think we can do better in OACAC. As another strategic priority, we need to continuously keep members informed about key issues within the organization, the state of Ohio and nationally. A strong communication plan would guide us, and through emails, newsletters and social media every member of OACAC should always be aware of what is happening in our organization.
- Access – Today with the demographic landscape of the country changing, it is important that we are diligent in providing access to higher education to those groups that are underrepresented on college campuses. As an organization we need to ensure that our membership on both sides of the desk is prepared to work with all students from diverse backgrounds. We should make an effort to draw attention to important diversity issues both locally and nationally, provide resources and training to our members, and set the example for other affiliates.
After 26 years I have come to a point in both my professional and personal life to take on this very important role as President-Elect. If elected, I will continue to work extremely hard for OACAC with a positive attitude, an open mind and the utmost respect for this office as the leader of this premiere organization.
Years of Experience: I have been working with the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Admissions for 5 years. During this time I have travelled several areas within Central/Northwest Ohio and Indiana growing relationships with school counselors by expanding to more schools, even if it is a simple materials drop. In addition to recruitment, I am in charge of the on-campus recruitment and yield events for the Office of Admissions. Since the on-campus visit is one of the leading most deciding factors for prospective students, I was able to work with the leadership within the office to restructure visits adding: afternoon time slots, experiential learning with academic colleges and more face time with first year based offices/departments.
Involvement in OACAC: I joined OACAC in January in 2012 and have since participated on the Summer Institute committee. Throughout my five years on the Summer Institute Committee, I have been a part of some integral changes for the improvement of the participants and the conference. During my time on the Mentor Committee, my counterpart and I proposed to move from an invitation based mentor program to an application based mentor program. By moving towards an application based program, Summer Institute was able to span their network of leadership. Since starting the application we have welcomed knowledge bases from regional colleges, transfer admissions, and domestic first-time enrollment management.
Now I am serving in my second year at the Summer Institute Chair. As Chairperson, I have strived to seek out presenters and create conference content that were impactful for all participants. We have added sessions focusing in on hot topics such as: diversity and out-of-state recruitment, changes within College Board’s SAT, and maintaining social media presences.
Involvement in NACAC: I attended NACAC’s annual conference in Indianapolis in 2014 where I have built connections with other ACAC’s “Summer Institute” chair persons. Within the past two years, we have been in communications to not only improve Ohio’s Summer Institute but have been part of conversations to create/improve other states’ new professional conferences.
Why does this position interest me: During my two years on the Executive Board as a non-voting member, I have learned a great deal about OACAC and the trajectory of higher education. As we move forward with College Credit Plus, both two-year and four-year institutions will need to alter to fit in with new expectations from in-coming first year students while balancing the need of transfer students. As a voting member of OACAC not only would I have a voice to express concerns and create positive changes, I would have the ability to make those words into actions.
Goals for secretary: As secretary, I would like to bring back providing membership both meeting minutes from general meetings and Executive Board meeting on the OACAC website. This is the first step to bringing knowledge back to the general body. Having the postings available to members will facilitate an open conversation, which in turn will provide a better directive, understanding, and reflection on votes based on members’ needs. I find this to be extremely important, secretary is one of the few voting members on the Executive Board and I would like to be able to reflect the concerns and needs of our member institutions.
I have worked diligently to continue the upward trajectory on the quality of Summer Institute. My hope is to continue this quality of work with the position of secretary and OACAC.
Kara M. Ussery, Director of Counseling
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
I have worked as a college counselor in high schools for 15 years and on the college side as an admission counselor for two. During this time, I have continuously been involved with my respective ACAC organizations. I have witnessed first-hand the good that a motivated group of individuals can do when they work collaboratively! I think that as we move into a new educational landscape having people who want to think creatively to problem solve as issues arise will be of utmost importance.
- Member since 2002
- Presented at 3 Articulations
- Presented at Spring Conference – College 101
- Presented at a Regional Workshop – College Counseling Programming 2015
- Attended several Spring Conferences
- Volunteered at Articulation
- Interim Newsletter Chair for OACAC
- Member since 2000
- Volunteered at Cincinnati National College Fair 6 times
- Attended National Conferences
Other Leadership and Involvement
- Member of MOACAC two years – presented at spring conference 2001
- NEA, OSCA, CESA, College Board Member
- Presented at College Board Midwest Regional Forum – Counseling the Counselor – 2011
- Presented at ACT Regional Conference on Helicopter Parents 2010
- Attended NEXT – Launch to College Conference
- One of 4 schools that collaborate to host the Cincinnati Suburban College Fair
- Director of Counseling
During my time as a counselor I have taken advantage of the many opportunities that being a member of OACAC has provided. I have learned from the many workshops attended, conferences where I have presented, and publications that have landed in my mailbox or inbox. I have networked with other counselors on both sides of the desk and worked alongside them to find opportunities for students. I’m seeking this position simply because I want to give back to an organization that has given me a great deal of knowledge and confidence; knowledge from their programming and confidence because I know I am backed by a great community who seeks to encourage one another, provide answers to often obscure questions, and help all students regardless of background!