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July 1, 2005
Melanie Mowry Etters
Chancellor's Leadership Seminar Creates Think Tank of Future Community College Leaders
TALLAHASSEE Last month, the Chancellor's Leadership Seminar marked it's 5th anniversary, having tapped community college employees identified by their college presidents to attend this unique professional development opportunity. The participants' selection for this seminar symbolizes their reputation as a dedicated employee and a shared belief with their president that they are a future leader.
In 2000, David Armstrong, Florida's Chancellor of Community Colleges and Workforce Education, established the annual program that brings together some of the greatest minds in community college administration from across the country to groom current administrators on the path to assume greater leadership roles. Over its 5-year history, the Chancellor's Leadership Seminar has created a think tank of more than 140 leaders who are poised to assume the role of a community college president or other senior management position.
The attendees were offered a rare insight into the mindset of the type of individual who accepts the challenge of a college presidency. Through this exposure to the necessary leadership skills involved, the participants learned more about the advanced career opportunities available to them, reflected on principled leadership, examined leadership challenges, and are provided with the forum to interact with current leaders and experts throughout the state and nation.
"During the past three years, new community college presidents have taken the helm at six of our institutions and the upcoming year will also bring new presidential and executive opportunities," says Chancellor Armstrong. "More than ever, we need Florida's best and brightest to be poised and ready to navigate the future challenges and opportunities presented by our community college system."
The annual 3-day seminar, held in historic Ybor City just outside the Tampa metro area, boasted an agenda filled with nationally-renowned speakers, Florida Education Commissioner John L. Winn, current community college presidents, and former seminar participants who each shared their unique leadership experiences and wisdom with the group of hand-picked rising campus stars. The sessions covered topics on leadership challenges and opportunities, strategic planning, working with legislators, improving institutions, ethics, legal case studies, and the role of community colleges in local economic development and teacher education.
"We have been very fortunate over the years to have created an incredibly relaxed and intimate environment for this seminar that allows an easy exchange of ideas and experiences between current educational leaders and their potential successors," explained Chancellor Armstrong.
2005 Chancellor's Leadership Seminar participants gave the event especially high marks on evaluations and indicated that they learned a great deal from the experience.
"The diverse set of college presidents inspired me to resolve to be more courageous, retain high values, remain wise, be flexible and to take on more complex challenges," notes Judy Batson, Dean of Liberal Arts for Florida Community College at Jacksonville, who was one of the 29 attendees at this year's seminar.
"The national speakers provided tools to honestly self-reflect and assess our potential to lead at the higher levels in the community college system," Batson concludes.
"I am very proud of the personal and professional success stories that have come from our past participants and I am quite certain this year's attendees will assume equal or greater leadership roles, both within the Florida Community College System and across the country," stated Education Commissioner Winn, who addressed the group on the traits of an educational leader.
As the previous seminar participants are promoted and move to accept new positions throughout the country, the group remains connected and continues to share their experiences and expertise with fellow classmates. Chancellor Armstrong also plans to tap into this think tank as an ongoing resource for the Florida Community College System as it prepares for the future.
Attached is a list of future community college leaders who participated in the seminar.