In June 2018, the Institute’s advisory board decided to change its name to the Character Collaborative, become a 501c3, establish a Board of Directors, and establish Executive Director and Board Chair positions.
In addition, the group determined that it would pursue its mission through defined projects organized into working committees. The 7 committees of the Collaborative address these dimensions of the mission:
- character-based rubrics for use in the admission process
- instruments to assess character
- revised “package” of application materials with indicators of character strengths
- practitioners handbook for employing character in admission
- professional development of admission staff, college counselors, etc. for elevating character in admission
- strategies to advance access and equity for disadvantaged populations through character assessment
- refining the decision process in admission to incorporate character attributes
In pursuing its ambitious mission, the Collaborative recognizes the obstacles to systemic change in American education, including the highly diverse landscape of U.S. colleges and secondary schools, the competition among educational institutions for students and dollars, and the sharp sense of local ownership that educational leaders bring to their role. Acting together, however, is a dominant theme of the Collaborative’s work. Looking ahead, the Collaborative’s strategy for achieving “collective impact” includes these operating assumptions:
- Recognize that the college admission is an interconnected, but divided, national “system,” involving schools, colleges, testing agencies, government agencies, parents, students, etc.
- Involve influential participants across the educational “silos” that influence admission, including those engaged in promising reform projects.
- Focus on a shared, concrete agenda with the potential of elevating character in admission.
- Add significantly to the Collaborative’s membership, including public and private institutions.
- Ensure the time and creativity of its members and dedicated time and leadership by a small staff.
- Raise sufficient funding to implement the Collaborative’s mission (including the committee agendas) and support modest staffing.