MARIETTA—Two leaders from Washington State Community College have graduated as fellows of the second Ohio Leadership Academy for Student Success.
WSCC’s Dean of Transfer and Public Service Dr. Jona Rinard and Assistant Professor of English Don Godfrey were among more than 40 leaders representing Ohio’s 23 community colleges. They graduated on June 15, 2022, 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 fellows met six times throughout the year for two-day meetings, first online and then in person. 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.
An avid supporter of personal and professional growth, WSCC President Dr. Vicky Wood said, “I believe strengthening the person serves to strengthen the team as well as the institution.”
Wood, who was involved in the creation of the academy, described it as an invaluable synergistic tool. “This academy allows community college leaders to network with their peers from across the state. The relationships established provide opportunities to share best practices and develop strategies for improving student success.”
The academy was funded by several national organizations, so colleges had minimal expenses to participate. The next academy will begin in July 2022 with more than 40 new fellows supported by their colleges and the growing alumni network from the program. WSCC has selected Network Administrator Ben Harris and Director of Respiratory Therapy Adrienne Hellinger to take part in the 2022-2023 academy.