“We believe in you, and that you want to make this institution a better place for all of us, one that meets the needs of our students, our community and City,” said BMCC President Antonio Pérez in his welcoming remarks to the inaugural class of the BMCC Leadership Fellows Program, which met recently for its first session, on the College’s main campus.
Sharing great ideas
A cohort of full-time faculty and staff who were accepted into the year-long program will meet with experts on topics related to major policy, management and leadership issues confronting higher education today.
They will also work closely with mentors from the BMCC administrative staff, completing projects tied to the College’s five-year strategic plan, and examining topics such as principles of leadership, emotional intelligence, intergenerational leadership, the changing role of community college faculty, enrollment trends, leading with technology and team building.
Current and former college presidents from across the country, senior CUNY administrators and prominent experts in the field of higher education will share expertise with the Fellows, who will also meet quarterly with President Pérez.
“We’ll talk with you on an informal basis, assess your progress, and make sure there are no obstacles in the way of you achieving your goals,” he said. “The reality is, we all have great ideas. This program will allow you to share them.”
Building a foundation
Delivering welcome remarks at the opening event was Dr. William Vega, who serves as Distinguished Faculty in Residence at California State University, Long Beach, teaching in Long Beach College’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership.
Dr. Vega served as Chancellor of the Coast Community College district from 1993 to 2004, and was President of Coastline Community College, from 1985 to 1993.
An educator for 38 years, he reflected on his professional life—starting out as an 8th-grade math teacher and holding a position as an economics instructor at Los Angeles City College, before moving from faculty to administration.
“In those days,” he said, “there were no programs like this, to give you the foundation you needed. Congratulations on having gotten through the rigorous selection process that got you here.”
Strategizing for the 21st century
Dr. Leila Gonzalez Sullivan also spoke at the Leadership Program’s opening event. A nationally recognized expert on community colleges, she was the national president of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, and directed the National Community College Hispanic Council’s Leadership Fellows Program.
Dr. Gonzalez Sullivan talked about “Principles of Leadership and Emotional Intelligence,” and both she and Dr. Vega presented on the topic, “Creating a Career Plan.” Also that first day, Jane Delgado, BMCC’s Dean for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning led an overview of strategic planning.
Harry Mars, Director of Student Activities at BMCC and one of the 14 Leadership Fellows, shared his thoughts on the first week of sessions.
“Through the Program's panels and seminars, we're able to gain insight from the expertise of people outside our fields,” he said. “I understand students and that whole component of a college, but I was able to expand on that understanding, through the insights of CUNY Vice Chancellors and others who talked about the budget of CUNY overall—how the funding streams interrelate, and how a college such as BMCC works within a larger university system."
Leadership Fellow and Associate Science Professor Susie Boydston-White “was honored to be chosen to participate in this program and impressed with the level of thought and wisdom that went into the planning and the execution of the Leadership Program,” she said. “As Leadership Fellows, we have been set on a path to grow into the effective leaders that the college community needs to face the challenges of the 21st century.”
Panels and sessions led by senior administrators
The kick-off week continued with sessions led by Marva Craig, BMCC VP for Student Life; Alan Dobrin, CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Office; Scott Anderson, BMCC VP for Administration; Jay Hershenson, CUNY Sr. Vice Chancellor for University Relations, and Carlos Flynn, CUNY University Dean for Institutional Advancement.
Two panels were conducted. “The Future of Community College Education,” moderated by Dr. Vega, featured Dr. Robert Messina, President of Burlington Community College; Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis, President of Naugatuck Valley Community College, and BMCC’s President Antonio Pérez.
Moderated by Erwin Wong, BMCC’s Dean for Academic Programs and Instruction, a second panel, “The Changing Role of Community College Faculty,” featured Dr. Sadie Bragg, Sr. VP/Provost, BMCC; Peter Katopes, VP of Academic Affairs, LaGuardia Community College, and Stu Suss, Provost, Kingsborough Community College.
Experts from academia and the corporate community
Other sessions included: “Leading with Technology,” led by Anthony Picciano, Urban Education and the Program for the Integration of Technology and Pedagogy, CUNY Graduate Center, and “Management Skills: Dealing with Change,” led by Harry Horowitz, Director of the Professional Development Center at Westchester Community College. Mr. Horowitz also led the sessions, “Supervising Others/Delegating Responsibility” and “Leading Effective Meetings.”
Tom Fox, President of MyEureka Solutions LLC, led the presentation “Understanding Intergenerational Leadership”; employment law attorney Melisssa Fleischer led “Harassment and Workplace Bullying,” and Christopher Jones, a financial entrepreneur led “Goal Setting for Leaders” and “Time Management for Leaders.”
Fellows from across the BMCC community
The BMCC Leadership Fellows Program is designed for full-time faculty and staff, and acceptance into the program is based on a formal application process, as well as recommendation by the selection committee. The inaugural class of BMCC Leadership Fellows includes:Susie Boydston-White, Faculty, Science;
Mabel Chee, Assistant Director, Grants and Research Administration;
Alex d’Erizans, Faculty, Social Science;
Janey Flanagan, Director, E-Learning Program;
John Gallagher, Director, Media Center;
Eva Kolbusz-Kijne, Faculty, Speech, Communications and Theatre;
Harry Mars, Director of Student Activities;
Carmen Martinez-Lopez, Faculty, Business Management;
Mahatapa Palit, Faculty, Business Management.
Andrew Smallwood, Faculty, Ethnic Studies;
Carei Thomas, Advisement and Transfer Office;
Iris Wangpataravanich, Student Affairs;
Cynthia Wiseman, Faculty, Developmental Skills, and
Lily Yi-Elin, Assistant Director of Admissions.