Catalysts for success

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A new leadership series offers new perspectives and prioritizes student success.  

Ohio’s Clark State Community College has launched a new leadership series that brings outside voices onto campus. The Clark State Catalysts series features three sitting college presidents sharing their expertise with the wider college communities.

“The purpose is to highlight different leadership styles and show the diversity and excellence of leadership at community colleges across the country,” Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin said in a press release.

The presidents will meet with internal audiences, such as the board of trustees, faculty, staff, students and participants in SOAR (Serving Our Own Through Advancement and Retention), an internal leadership academy.

The theme of this year’s event is “Leadership for Student Success.”

Merrill Irving, Jr., president of Hennepin Technical College (Minnesota), will be on campus November 18 and 19 to discuss equity in student outcomes and diversity and inclusivity for the board of trustees and employees.

Jackson College President and CEO Dan Phelan will be on campus in January to discuss leading change and innovation for student success. Phelan’s book, Unrelenting Change, was the Clark State Book Club selection last year. And in April, Mott Community College President Beverly Walker-Griffea will be on campus for the college’s town hall meeting to discuss critical leadership competencies in crisis situations.

Highlighting student success

Continuing with its focus on student success, the college will host its second Clark State Student Success Conference in December. The event is an opportunity for Clark State faculty and staff to highlight what they have done, what they are doing and future plans to promote student success at the college.

This is our second year holding the conference, and this year we have a really diverse and exciting schedule of presentations from staff, faculty and student presenters from across the college,” Danielle Roach, assistant professor said.

The conference will include morning and afternoon programming blocks with breakout sessions. In between the morning and afternoon blocks, the keynote address will be presented by Corey Minor Smith, and lunch will be provided.

Helping employees soar

Clark State has heavily invested time and resources in leadership development in recent years. The college’s SOAR program, administered by Blondin, is aimed at helping break down silos between departments and helping faculty and staff connect with their work – or the work of colleagues in other areas – in a meaningful way.

The program launched with the 2017-2018 academic year. SOAR participants take a strengths-finder assessment, have textbooks to read and are given writing prompts. They attend board meetings and have monthly lunch meetings with vice presidents so they can better understand what each area is responsible for at the college. They also have one-on-one monthly meetings with Blondin.

Read more about SOAR in CC Daily here.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.