Page 1

FEBRUARY 9, 2015

www.HispanicOutlook.com

Entrepreneurial MFA Program forPresidents Innovators

VOLUME 25 • NUMBER 9

Training Future Leaders Latino Graduation Rates Propelled


COMMENTARY

Diversity & Leadership Introduction eveloping competent and effective diverse leaders is vital to the future of community colleges and student success, given the wave of retirement of CEOs within the next 3-5 years. The American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) 21st Century Implementation Team recently developed a new framework for leadership and revised the organization’s original recommended leadership competencies. (www.aacc.nche.edu/newsevents/Events/leadershipsuite/Documents/AACC_ CoreCompetencies_5_3.pdf). The revised areas of focus include organizational strategy; institutional finance, research, fundraising, and resource management; communication; collaboration; and community college advocacy. However, it is not clear if and how these newly-defined leadership competencies take into account the challenges of working in a global and diverse society or the context and fluidity of a new socio-politic-economic landscape. The National Asian Pacific Islander Council (NAPIC), the National Council for Black American Affairs (NCBAA), and the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) have reviewed

D

The ambiguity of the times requires college leaders to have business acumen and to be strategic, agile and entrepreneurial.

in the 21st Century By Anna Solley and

Naomi Okumura Story

and discussed the AACC leadership competencies given their joint commitment to develop diverse transformational leaders. NAPIC, an AACC affiliate council since 2007 promotes leadership development of Asian-American/Pacific Islander administrators in community colleges across the country. NCBAA, founded over 40 years ago as the first AACC affiliate council, provides meaningful, stimulating professional development opportunities for its members in an effort to increase community college leaders of color. NCCHC, established in 1985 as an AACC affiliated council, is the nation’s premier organization for the preparation and support of Hispanic leaders in community colleges. At the November 2008 AACC Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity meeting, commissioners discussed the critical need for a pipeline of more diverse community college executives. Taking this charge seriously, NAPIC, NCBAA, and NCCHC leaders collaborated and conducted a preconvention workshop leadership development, Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling, at the 2009 AACC Convention in Phoenix. Their goal was to increase the number of diverse executive leaders together and to complement the three councils’ individual leadership efforts. The success of the first led the coalition to repeat four more successful workshops in Seattle, New Orleans, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The design focused on past and present diverse community college CEOs to share and discuss leadership pathways and challenges. Real-life case studies and perspectives fostered reflective dialogues on values, attitudes and mindsets critical to the success of a leader of color. American Council on Education (ACE) and university researchers also presented findings on higher education leadership

HISPANIC OUTLOOK

|

FEBRUARY 9, 2015

| 21


COMMENTARY competencies and concepts. In addition, participants and presenters voiced the need for organizations such as AACC and the Association of Community College Trustees to relate leadership competencies to the changing climate and landscape of community colleges of the 21st century. Furthermore, the councils jointly led a spotlight session at the 92nd annual AACC convention in 2012. The session was entitled Help Wanted: Community College Leaders! A series of roundtable dialogues facilitated by diverse community college presidents stimulated thought-provoking requirements for 21st century community college leadership. Over 200 participants engaged in small groups and addressed essential competencies, desired experiences and important mindsets for community college leaders who will transform education. In addition, at the Diversity & Leadership in the 21st Century AACC Pre-Convention Workshop, research from ACE and a study conducted at California State University-Fullerton on 21st century leadership skills were presented. Participants discussed essential leadership competencies for transformational community college leaders, key leadership competencies that build upon diverse perspectives and multicultural approaches, and how best to develop these leadership competencies to ensure that new leaders will guide community colleges with vision and courage in a diverse environment. Findings and Recommendations Although workshop participants emphasized the knowledge of diversity and globalism as essential competencies, they surfaced the need to distinguish the complexities and approaches of inclusion and cultural competencies. For example, diversity is not just about race or gender, nor can cultural competencies be easily generalized. When asked to dwell further, participants shared that saying one believes in diversity is not enough. One must also share experiences. Another perspective distinguished diversity among internal and external communities. Internally, knowledge about the evolving needs of diverse student or employee populations is significantly challenging and complex. Externally, a competent leader must know the significant implications and consequences of organizations from the local Chamber of Commerce to state, national and international entities. Participants also voiced organizational knowledge as important. With political shifts and finan-

22 |

HISPANIC OUTLOOK

|

Anna Solley

cial fluctuations occurring throughout the country, college executives must know legislative and policy implications, resource development and leveraging, etc. The ambiguity of the times requires college leaders to have business acumen and to be strategic, agile and entrepreneurial. The core values for community colleges of social justice and educational empowerment were important to participants. Yet, public scrutiny, transparency and accountability also required keen awareness and articulation. Seasoned and novice leaders discussed professional development as a critical necessity. Both shared the significant need to mentor and nurture the next generation of leaders. Novice and promising leaders voiced requests for networking and follow-up connections with experienced CEOs. The participants focused on attitudes or predispositions which community college leaders should possess or reflect. Such critical “soft skills” included vision, integrity, honesty and transparency, which are not always easy to measure or define. For example, a prepared or smart applicant could recite a “laundry list” of worthy and well-meaning values without

FEBRUARY 9, 2015


COMMENTARY being disingenuous. Promising leaders were often vocal about being less inclined to compromise personal values and standards. Yet, seasoned leaders shared realistic situations or conditions, which required several participants to reflect more deeply about their laundry list. Such situational ambiguities suggested further development and dialogue for those moving into leadership roles and for those mentoring or hiring new community college leaders. The top nine clusters of essential competencies for each category included: Knowledge of • Globalism and being part of a global society • Diversity/inclusion/cultural competency • Funding/fiscal policy; resource development • Policy and political acumen; legal issues • Key aspects of the community college mission and system • Strategic planning • Assessment and evaluation • Technology and future trends • Teaching and Learning

Diversity is not just about race or gender, nor can cultural competencies be easily generalized. One must also share experiences. Ability to • Build and sustain partnerships and collaboration; team building • Nurture and cultivate others/mentor/professional development • Communicate; interpersonal skills • Navigate and affect change and innovation • Hire and challenge best people • Listen and view different perspectives • Be resourceful, adaptable, and agile • Deal and work with different internal and external groups of people and organizations; build consensus; advocate • Take time for self Attitudes/predispositions • Visionary • Courageous/risk-taking • Reflective; self-aware • Ethical behaviors or actions • Flexible, yet focused • Integrity, being genuine • Sense of humor • Transparency and accountability • Compassion, caring for and sustainability of self and others, including outliers

Naomi Okumura Story

As an important caveat, we suggest that leaders carefully apply or use these competencies as metrics. Without substantive discussion and surfacing assumptions, each person can perceive or define each differently. Potential candidates for leadership positions should not use the above as a “checklist,” but as professional and personal areas that require continuous reflection and cultivation of work experiences. HISPANIC OUTLOOK

|

FEBRUARY 9, 2015

| 23


COMMENTARY Summary Seasoned and novice leaders indicated that knowledge of diversity and globalism are essential competencies for transformational community college leaders. In addition, it is critical to distinguish the complexities and approaches of inclusion and cultural competencies, to demonstrate fiscal and political acumen, to value collaboration/communication expertise, and to mentor and nurture the next generation of leaders. Transformational leaders must also possess vision, integrity, honesty and transparency. We encourage those involved in preparing or hiring future leaders to incorporate not only our leadership competencies, but to reflect and sustain deeper dialogues in the meaning or definition of each within the context and vision of their institutions and communities. We support the development of realistic rubrics to determine whether a potential leader or applicant is competent. Furthermore, we need to influence discussions about leadership competencies within the context of the constantly evolving associations or organizations to which we belong and participate. The Courageous Conversations panel has been a consistently successful capstone pre-convention workshop activity. Seasoned executives honestly and openly share the reality of being a diverse college leader under actual conditions, positive and negative. Participants are encouraged to ask tough questions. Presenters and participants become more reflective and self-aware about realities of concepts and issues, actions and behaviors that require courage and risk taking, and balancing expectations and values that are personal and professional. The activity demands going beyond a checklist of lead-

24 |

HISPANIC OUTLOOK

|

ership requirements, and requires deliberative and reflective honesty. We will continue to perpetuate true organizational transformation through our Councils (NAPIC, NCBAA, and NCCHC), which are led by on-the-ground and diverse leaders who collaborate and provide real-life, meaningful leadership development opportunities together. Given that the demographics of our students and communities are continually evolving, we must commit to the development and hiring of diverse, competent, and effective leaders. We must also encourage and define new models for professional development and succession planning opportunities to establish a pool of candidates who not only have the requisite skills and knowledge, but also the mindset and capacity to be transformational leaders in our global society and changing landscape. Our students deserve success and we must hire the best! Written by Anna Solley, EdD and Naomi Okumura Story, PhD on behalf of NAPIC, NCBAA, and NCCHC. Dr. Solley proudly serves as president of Phoenix College, serves on the HACU Board, is the past president of the NCCHC Board, and is passionate about student success, empowering others, enabling change, and promoting diversity. Dr. Story recently retired as professor emerita from the Maricopa Community College District, where she led efforts in teaching and learning innovation, leadership and professional development. As a long-time diversity advocate, she currently serves as the NAPIC executive director and is redefining retirement as a social justice and learning journey.

FEBRUARY 9, 2015

Hispanic Outlook, February 2015 edition  

Commentary: Diversity & Leadership in the 21st Century by Anna Solley and Naomi Okumura Story

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you