Hello faculty and staff,
It is Monday once again, and I hope all of you are eager to start the week and optimistic about what lies ahead for this week.
Today is a special day for me – an important anniversary. On September 28, 1996, I started a new “job” at Carteret Community College in Morehead City, NC. Little did I know on that first day at CCC, I was not just beginning a new job, I was embarking on an important journey that would bring me great personal joy and professional fulfillment, eventually leading me to achieve my greatest dream – becoming a community college President. I am reminded this morning about a speech I heard last year when Dr. Michael Baston, President of Rockwell Community College in New York, encouraged everyone to: “Find your purpose and live it with passion every day!”
Twenty-four years ago today, I found my purpose and I am grateful to have had the opportunities afforded me at 3 of the 58 esteemed NC Community Colleges. It is the honor of a lifetime to serve as the seventh President of Forsyth Technical Community College. Thank you for the privilege of working alongside you in this critical work of becoming a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities and advancing student success through excellence in learning, completion, equity, and post-graduation outcomes!
Executive Leadership Team Structure
Since arriving as your president in January 2019, I have worked with the Vice Presidents and Associate Vice Presidents to establish a productive and effective Executive Leadership Team that is not afraid to challenge each other, debate each other, and problem solve collaboratively as we focus on what is most important for Forsyth Tech. By that I mean, a structure that is: 1) transparent and collaborative, 2) collaborative and empowering rather than authoritative from the top-down, and 3) a high-performing team that cultivates success and engages the organization at every level.
Consequently, ELT has evolved a great deal over the past one year and nine months. We have grown and developed into a team with collective cross-organizational expertise focused on key strategic imperatives and strategic cross-divisional resource allocations, and our team is reflective of our dynamic and ever-evolving institution.
Recently, we made changes to our meeting structure to help us gain efficiency and become more effective strategic leaders. We recognized that some issues and topics can be explored, discussed and debated more effectively in smaller groups, so we have formed Sub-Teams within the overall larger Executive Leadership Structure to serve as “working” teams. The full ELT is still responsible for final strategic decisions and resource allocations, etc., but the working sub-teams now address instruction/instructional support and business operations topics in advance of consideration and final decision-making by the full ELT.
The two sub-teams are:
- Instructional and Instructional Support Team: James Cook, Jennifer Coulombe, Paula Dibley, Dr. Alan Murdock, Masonne Sawyer and the new Vice President of Student Academic Success /CAO. This team meets bi-weekly on Wednesday afternoons.
- Business Operations Team: Sherri Bowen, Bill Green, Kizzy Lea, Chris Pearce and Anna Marie Smith. This team meets bi-weekly on Monday afternoons.
- Dr Jewel Cherry, Dr. Kevin Osborne and I are members of both sub-teams.
The full ELT meets monthly, on the first Monday of each month. We began this new formation in September, and I believe it is already proven to be highly productive, and focused on vision and strategy, rather than tactical operations as we continue to empower faculty and staff to lead in place. As we pulled this new structure together, we created the new visual below to “replace” the traditional hierarchical org chart and to illustrate our vision of our institution as a network of teams focused on student success.
Professional Development – Minimum Hours Now Required
As we are look through the lens of student success and work toward closing achievement gaps, we want to similarly align our professional development goals strategy. Employees have consistently shared they value and appreciate professional development opportunities, quantitative data affirms the importance of ongoing, timely, and relevant professional development. As a lifelong-learning institution, your development must be an institutional priority.
Consequently, we have established a new professional development requirement for all full-time faculty and staff. All full-time employees will be expected to complete 20 hours of professional development each fiscal year (July 1-June 30) with 10 of those hours focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Annual Compliance Training is separate and apart from the 20-hour annual minimum for professional development hours. This year, since it is almost October, the minimum hour requirement has been reduced to 15 hours with 7 of them dedicated to DEI.
How will I track my professional development hours? The Employee Appraisal System (EAS) is designed to capture all types of goals – including professional development. Have a conversation with your supervisor to discuss your ideas for professional development and as you develop a plan, your goals and progress should be captured in the EAS. The goals functionality of the EAS remains active so that you may enter your progress throughout the year.
With Professional Development (PD) Day fast approaching on October 13, you may be asking what is planned. Most of you have experienced PD Days in the past, when times were set aside for sharing professional development on a variety of topics. This year’s Fall PD Day is moving from what would have been a live event to a self-directed format allowing employees to access relevant learning opportunities using the many available resources at our fingertips.
This year, PD Day provides the perfect opportunity to take the next step in your learning journey. Self-directed plans will vary and may include various forms of learning, such as: completing courses on LinkedIn Learning, watching one of the CTL’s many recorded courses, tackling technical solutions for Blackboard and Navigate on the ITS stie, reading that book or journal article you set aside a month ago, taking advantage of resources on NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development), exploring the extra courses available in SafeColleges, or availing yourself of the many resources in Forsyth Tech’s Library.
October 13 will be a normal workday, but since students are on fall break, much of your day will be available for you to take part in any number of the different types of self-directed professional development activities mentioned above. Managers will work with staff to make sure services are covered throughout both virtual and in-person services are available in case students need them. If you choose not to take part in professional development activities on October 13, please be sure to build your plan for reaching this year’s 15 hour requirement with your supervisor and enter the details and progress along the way into the EAS.
Facebook Live with me – Tuesday at 2 p.m.
We will not have Facebook Live this week, but we will be back on Live next Tuesday, October 6, but at a new time: 3 PM. Please join me if you can on our college’s Facebook page to talk with all of you, as well as Forsyth Tech students. It’s a great time for us to be together to talk about the fall semester and for you to ask any questions you may have. Hope to see you then!
“One quality of leaders and high achievers in every area seems to be a commitment to ongoing personal and professional development.”
As community college faculty and staff, we witness the transformational power of knowledge every day and we value life-long learning and continual personal and professional growth. We want to provide you with high quality professional development opportunities while you are at work, because your ongoing development is a priority and is critical to our success.
Take care and stay safe!
Dr. Janet Spriggs