Sometimes a song says it best.
ACTs new chief executive officer drew on lyrics from his favorite Bob Dylan tune, The Times They Are A-Changin, to set the mood for ACTs 51st annual meeting, held October 1819 in Iowa City:
the waters around you have grown
youll be drenched to the bone
you better start swimmin or youll sink like a stone, for the times they are
Jon Whitmore, who was a first-generation college student in the 1960s, said Dylan is a thought leader whose words reflect past light on our countrys current circumstances.
The world today, at the dawn of the second decade of the twenty-first century, is engulfed in a period of profound vibration not unlike the 1960s. Our globe is spinning rapidly. Some say its out of control, said Whitmore, who became ACTs sixth chief executive on September 1. During the 60s, it became part of my psyche to think of change as normal and continuous, something to be embracedfought for evenand never feared.
In preparing for the future, ACT must understand the different ways in which people today are learning, communicating, accessing information, using new technologies, and forming social networks around the globeand how the organization will meet the changing needs of those who use its programs and services. Lets not forget that ACT was born out of the maverick thinking of our founder, E.F. Lindquist. He thought out of the box in 1959. It is time for ACT to recapture Lindquists pioneer spirit. It is time that we think out of the box that exists today, said Whitmore.
The first step is creating a bold new vision for ACTs future that both embraces fully the organizations values of diversity, excellence, mutual respect, individual growth, and being courteous and ethical, and emphasizes its not-for-profit status.
Our new vision must include thoughtful, deliberate, and ongoing study of our tempestuous world. We must understand the impact of the financial recession on states, schools, colleges, and families, he said.
Daunting problems in education and workforce should be reflected in the new vision:
To help America reverse these trends, ACT must step up, step forward, and step out, said Whitmore. By combining the best thinking of our board of directors, state representatives, employees, senior leaders, government officialsand our customers, including parents and studentswe will form a dynamic, cohesive, and shared vision of ACTs future.
Where are we headed? What does the future hold for education and workforce development? How will technology impact it? What role will ACT play in shaping a new landscape?
ACTs board of directors, staff members, and state representatives, as well as guest speakers and panelists, considered these questionsand their answersat the ACT annual meeting October 1819 in Iowa City.
ACT is no longer just in the assessment business. ACT will increasingly be in the information and solutions business, said ACT CEO Jon Whitmore.
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