specific topics generated by the participants. A key feature of the curricular
design is to engage the fellows in developing follow-up session agendas, materials,
presentation and discussion facilitation.
Additionally, guided self-reflection
plays a role in the program. Both of
these strategies contribute to fellows’
evolving narratives as faculty leaders
and the development of a theory and
practice of pedagogical leadership.
Each year, the circle of faculty
leadership fellows expands, as fellows
nominate their peers for the program,
and we schedule at least one event per
year for fellows from all cohorts. As
we develop the theory and practice of
pedagogical leadership at the college,
we continue to increase the number
of faculty making ongoing leadership
commitments through the program.
For example, the 2016 cohort identified faculty mentoring as a need, and the
issue was discussed in one of our Friday
follow-up sessions. When a new mentoring project was launched in fall 2018, the
majority of mentors were fellows.
Leadership development should encourage faculty to bring what they learn to
their own practice, both in and out of the
classroom, and to examine the roles, rituals and resources at the college that can
be brought to bear to create the conditions
under which all students can learn. Our
2018 cohort spearheaded an effort to get a
statement of support for students’ basic
needs on the official syllabus template
for the college. Inspired by a talk from
Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the
Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the
Betrayal of the American Dream, faculty
leadership fellows worked with their colleagues on the Academic Senate to put a
“basic needs statement” on the official college syllabus. The statement was approved
in fall 2018 and added to the syllabus template for all faculty. Student use of Single
Stop, the college’s social services program,
increased as a result.
Equity conversations should be
built into leadership development for
faculty. At BMCC, our highest pri-
ority is to increase student success,
not incrementally, but dramatically.
Our program uses the BMCC Student
Success Report Card that provides
trend data on retention, graduation,
transfer and baccalaureate attainment, disaggregating data by race,
ethnicity and gender.
We analyze the data across the college and by department, starting on the
first day and throughout the program.
Second, additional days are devoted to
investigating anti-poverty programs,
culturally responsive pedagogy and
designing policies and practices for
equity. Third, a case study is used daily
to apply lessons learned to a hypothetical community college in a large urban
area with a diverse and changing faculty and student population.
If the goal of community colleges is
to dramatically improve their student
outcomes, highly visible and pervasive
pedagogical leadership will serve as a
Karrin E. Wilks is interim president of Borough of Manhattan
Community College in New York.
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