Q&A With Dr. Christina Tangalakis: What to Expect From the FAAC® Forum

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

Christina Tangalakis

With the NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo just two months away, we’re highlighting one of the five pathways members can register for, the FAAC® Forum, with Dr. Christina Tangalakis, chair of the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program Commission. 

The FAAC Forum is designed exclusively for those who currently hold the FAAC designation and brings FAACs together to network and explore important issues facing the financial aid community. The forum’s agenda includes Title IV administrative capability training, skills-development presentations, community-building discussions, and sessions designed to help envision the future of the financial aid profession.

The forum will have seven idea labs during the four-day conference. For example, on Monday, February 6, members can attend an idea lab on reconstructing institutional policy in a post-COVID climate. Another idea lab will have break-out groups where members will draft policy with new tools and the support of peer FAACs and table moderators. On Tuesday, February 7, another idea lab explores data security in higher education and how to protect confidential financial aid data. 

Members can look at the full agenda here and register for the NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo here. 

Have more questions? Members can also tune into two “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sessions with Christina to learn more about the FAAC Forum. The first session is December 9 at 1 p.m. ET in the FAAC Slack channel. The second is on Zoom on December 12 at 1:15 p.m. ET.

Read on to learn more about what to expect at the FAAC Forum! 

TN: How did the FAAC Forum come to be?

CT: Before I arrived, there was a larger strategic vision in place for the FAAC community, which includes the FAAC Forum, as well as other community-building opportunities. It's definitely part of a larger plan — building community and providing enriching opportunities for the population that chooses to certify.

TN: What can attendees expect out of the FAAC Forum?

CT: In keeping with last year, which was the inaugural forum, certified individuals can expect engagement in an agenda that is unlike other conferences and trainings that financial aid administrators are accustomed to. We're going to really engage with ideas and build new knowledge — and also share knowledge because we have a community, highly skilled in and of ourselves, and it'll be an opportunity to engage in discourse that isn't offered in other training sessions. That's really the hope.

TN: What are you most looking forward to at the FAAC Forum?

CT: As the chair of the task force and the commission, I'm looking forward to seeing this agenda come to life. We think we've been really thoughtful about what we're offering, and it is definitely not a topic or an agenda that is typical of traditional training. I think it goes a step above and it's going to engage a lot of critical thinking and soft skills that aren't always part of what we’ve come to expect from financial aid trainings.

TN: What makes the FAAC Forum different from other pathways at the leadership conference? 

CT: It's different because the intention is that it should be different, that it should be part of building the FAAC community, and setting expectations up high for what the community can expect of NASFAA. It's part of a larger strategic plan to build a highly engaged and minded community of professionals.

TN: Why should members sign up to attend the FAAC Forum?

CT: It is unique. It is intended to be unique and distinctly different and highly engaging. It's not going to be a passive, listen and take notes kind of experience. It's going to involve a lot of active engagement with the material and answers that don't come easily. It's my hope that it's challenging in a good way.


Publication Date: 12/5/2022

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