PIQUA — Two leaders from Edison State Community College have graduated as fellows of the first Ohio Leadership Academy for Student Success.
Dr. Amanda Bylczynski, professor of History, and Rachel Carlisle, director of Regional Campus Enrollment Management and Student Services, were among more than 40 leaders representing all of Ohio’s community colleges who graduated Oct. 2, 2020, as part of the academy, organized by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC). It is the first of its kind in the nation to gather mid-level administrators, faculty and staff for a year of training, exchanging ideas and immersion in how to promote student success.
“The fellows learned how to more effectively lead the many changes underway at our colleges – transformational changes – to improve student success,” said Laura Rittner, executive director of the OACC’s Success Center for Ohio Community Colleges. “We brought together people who have different roles at colleges so they could have a deeper understanding of how college leaders can work together to usher in these student success models.”
The president of each of the state’s community colleges could nominate two employees as fellows. They met six times throughout the year for two-day meetings, first in person and then online as the pandemic took hold. Sessions were relevant to Ohio specifically and included aspects of the Aspen Institute’s presidential leadership curriculum. Fellows also worked on projects in small groups between sessions.
“I am so thankful I was able to be part of the inaugural class. The academy was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from around the state about issues and trends in higher education surrounding student success,” said Bylczynski.” My experience of working with these leaders and learning from the OACC training sessions has helped me to redefine my views of leadership, and the roles faculty can play as leaders in the community college.”
Carlisle echoed Bylczynski’s sentiments.
“Participating in the OACC Leadership Academy provided me with a wealth of knowledge that I will be able to utilize throughout my career in higher education, and I appreciated that the academy focused on using leadership to positively influence student success,” said Carlisle. “I felt that the concepts and best practices reviewed in the academy aligned with Edison State’s ongoing efforts to provide the best support services possible to our students, with post-graduation success in mind.”
The academy was funded by several national organizations, so colleges had minimal expenses to participate. Next year’s academy will begin early in 2021, Rittner said, in the hopes that some sessions can be held in person.
The OACC represents the presidents and trustees of the state’s 23 public two-year institutions that work to advance community colleges through policy advocacy and professional development. For more information, please visit www.OhioCommunityColleges.Org.