Fourteen Leadership Fellows — full-time Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) faculty from 12 academic departments — participated in the inaugural Faculty Leadership Fellows Program, January 9 through January 13, at BMCC.
The program was funded by a grant from the American Express Foundation. The goal of the LeadershipProgram is to develop faculty leadership and strengthen the participants’ ability to contribute to BMCC’s vision of becoming a leading community college.
“We recognize our faculty as leaders in the classroom, department, College and beyond, based on our belief that leadership rests within the person; not within a title, position or office,” says Jim Berg, Associate Dean of Faculty.
Through a series of workshops and panel discussions, participants examined some of the major challenges facing community colleges across the country. The group also metwithcurrent and former college presidents and other nationally recognized experts in the fields of higher education teaching and learning, governance and equity.
Guest speakers included Monica Worline, a scholar of positive organizational development and co-founder and President of Vervago, Inc.; Michele DiPietro, Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning at Kennesaw State University; Robert Schwartz, former Academic Dean and Professor Emeritus of Practice in Educational Policy and Administration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Sanford “Sandy” Shugart, President, Valencia College; Maria Harper-Marinic, Chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges, Arizona; Brice Harris, Chancellor Emeritus, California Community Colleges and Chancellor Emeritus, Los Rios Community College, and Lisa Larson, President, Eastern Maine Community College.
John Beaumont, ESL Coordinator and professor in the Academic Literacy and Linguistics Department, identifies “one clear benefit of the program, the opportunity to spend time with and learn from colleagues who have a shared interest and investment in BMCC.”
The Leadership Program, he says, “is an affirmation for me that BMCC is interested in transforming the college culture to one that is more focused on its centralmission and one that invites and genuinely values the voices and active participation of the faculty in accomplishing this transformation.”
Leadership Fellow Francisca Campos, Deputy Chair of the Business Management Department, says that taking part in the week-long intensive “encouraged me to think of ways to create this type of collaborative environment in my department; an environment in which all feel they have a vital role in meeting not only the departmental goal, but also the College’s, and in exploring how these goals are linked.”
Listening to the speakers share their experiences “has helped me think of ways in which to foster collaboration, the sharing of ideas and information with respect forall,” she said.
Professors Campos and Beaumont both highly recommend the BMCC Leadership Fellows program to their colleagues.
“The program serves as an invitation to lead in a variety of ways, both formally and informally, and to have a genuine influence on the present and future of the college community and its shared mission,” said Beaumont.
Campos says her main reason for recommending the program is that “it recognizes leadership can be found at all levels and is not necessarily linked to administration and power. The Leadership Program also emphasizes the idea of lifelong learning and how as leaders, we can safeguard our core values while respecting others and creating a community working toward a common goal.”
According to Christopher Shults, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics, the BMCC Leadership Program reflects the college’s commitment “to helping faculty gain insight from recognized leaders and hone their leadership skills through a supportive and innovative professional development opportunity designed to empower and educate.”
“BMCC cannot realize our vision to become a premier community college without strong, visible and pervasive faculty leadership,” said Karrin E. Wilks, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. “We are grateful for the commitment and passion demonstrated by the faculty participants.”
The Faculty Leadership Fellows Program will provide a series of workshops throughout the Spring 2017 semester on topics such as mentoring and coaching, planning forstudent success, dealing with conflict, program planning and budget development, and effective communications.
The Leadership Fellows are Margaret Barrow, John Beaumont, Sangeeta Bishop, Francisca Campos, Vincent Cheng, Leslie Craigo, Kathleen Dreyer, Judy Eng, Janet Esquirol, Eva Kolbusz-Kijne, Abel Navarro, Thaddeus Raddell, Lesley Rennis and Brenda Vollman.