UT program helps train future community college presidents

June 4, 2012 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The Higher Education Program at The University of Toledo is working to train the next generation of community college leaders in the state.

The 2012 Ohio Community College Leadership Cohort, which is a partnership between the UT Higher Education Program and the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, recently was selected to help address the growing need for professional development for senior community college leaders.

“Increasing retirement rates among community college presidents and senior administrative staff are creating a leadership vacuum that this program seeks to address by training a group of 12 individuals to be future leaders,” said Dr. Ronald Opp, UT associate professor of educational leadership and coordinator of the Higher Education Doctoral Program.

“The Ohio Association of Community Colleges is proud to collaborate with The University of Toledo in this exceptional opportunity,” said Dr. Ron Abrams, president of the association. “This unique program will help prepare a new generation of professionals to ultimately move into community college leadership positions.”

The cohort members will begin taking courses this fall and will continue through summer 2015, when they will begin their dissertation research. While the length of time spent on the dissertation studies will vary by participant, the majority of members are expected to finish by the end of spring semester 2017.

The 12 participants recently were selected from a competitive process in which they wrote essays about the critical issues facing community colleges, in addition to a review of their transcripts, letters of reference, letters of intent, and proposed areas of research for their dissertation studies.

The cohort members are:

• Koffi Akakpo, of Huber Heights, vice president for business and administrative services at North Central State College;

• Crystal Clark, of Gahanna, professor of English at Columbus State Community College;

• Daryl Davis, of Englewood, coordinator of the Quick Start Program at Sinclair Community College;

• Andrea Faber, of Celina, instructor of mathematics at Wright State Lake Campus;

• Mary Goss-Hill, of Cleveland, program coordinator for the Women’s Center at Lakeland Community College;

• Stephen Kaczmarek, of Lewis Center, professor of English at Columbus State Community College;

• Russ Little, of Fairborn, manager of web systems at Sinclair Community College;

• Heath Martin, of Fremont, dean of students at Terra Community College;

• Sharmaine Pechac, of Columbus, coordinator for the Preferred Pathway Program at Columbus State Community College;

• Shay Pursel, of West Unity, instructor of economics at Northwest State Community College;

• Lori Robinson, of Defiance, dean of Allied Health and Public Services at Northwest State Community College; and

• Andrew Stephan, of Akron, dean of the Mathematics Division at Stark State College.

The cohort members will attend class meetings at the Ohio Association of Community Colleges headquarters in Columbus every other week, with the alternating week classes being conducted via distance-learning technology. The program also will include two Summer Leadership Academies, one of which will take place in China, and a leadership internship supervised by an Ohio community college president.

The participants also will study a human resources management minor through the UT College of Business and Innovation. UT is contributing faculty to teach courses both in Columbus and online and is coordinating the two Summer Leadership Academies.

The Ohio Community College Leadership Program is built around the essential competencies for community college leaders that was developed by the American Association of Community Colleges; the competencies are resource development, organizational strategy, advocacy, communication, collaboration and professionalism.

Given the growing need for training, the program plans to begin a new cohort every four years, with the next one starting in fall 2016.

For more information on the Ohio Community College Leadership Program, visit http://utole.do/leadership.

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