Develop Leadership Capacity
While faculty usually don't receive any training in leadership skills on their way through graduate school, developing the skills necessary to lead change as well as develop others as leaders will be important to making changes that last. The SAGE 2YC program was not designed to provide participants with the skills to become campus leaders. The program was envisioned as helping participants "lead in place", effecting change through lateral connections with faculty, staff, and administration colleagues. Regardless, many of the Change Agents have become recognized on their campuses as leaders and have stepped up into more prominent roles reaching beyond their geoscience programs.
The following examples showcase some of the variety of ways Change Agents have made use of what they learned working with the SAGE 2YC program. They also illuminate reasons behind why they said "yes" when new opportunities became available. Their reflections exhibit two general themes: broadening of their skills and broadening of their self perceptions.
Jump Down To: Bryn Benford | Kristie Bradford | Deron Carter | Lynsey Lemay | Shannon Othus-Gault | Sean Tvelia | David Voorhees
Deron Carter, Linn-Benton Community College
Reflecting on my work as a Change Agent, one aspect that surprised me the most was the development of my leadership skills. While this was not an outcome I signed up for, I am so happy about the result. The SAGE 2YC Change Agent Program has provided me a toolkit that makes me effective in advocating for my program and participating in institutional decision making. Specifically, participating in the COACh training, and learning about my leadership style and how it relates to others, and how to efficiently set goals with strategic thinking and measurable outcomes has boosted my confidence in both leading my program and institutional change at my institution.
David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community College
On the first day of class, I tell my students that I have two great passions, one is to teach them about geology and the other is to teach them how to be the very best student that they can be. The second passion has only really been developed in the time that I was part of the SAGE 2YC Faculty as Change Agents program. This 5 year program has exposed me to a wide variety of resources and pedagogies that successful and engaging instructors across the country are using in their classes. As part of this program, we were not only asked to bring these changes into our classroom, but also to our geoscience colleagues in our schools and regions. As I have found that the response to bringing these changes to my students, and my colleagues has been quite positive, I have enjoyed continuing bringing these changes beyond the term of the Change Agent program. In some respects, I am just expanding my second passion to my colleagues. That expansion has lead me to a two-year position as one of the two Full-Time Faculty representatives to the Faculty Development and Engagement department at Waubonsee Community College. There is also a Part-Time Faculty representative, along with a Dean, Assistant Dean, Course Designer and Administrative Assistant. We are actively developing a wide variety of professional development opportunities for our faculty that are tasked with closing the achievement gap of our students, and exploring ways to bring equity into the classroom.
Broadened Self Perception
Bryn Benford, Lone Star College - University Park
My work with SAGE 2YC as a Change Agent helped me to move into leadership roles in three major ways. Being charged with running a regional workshop was the initial push to put me into a leadership position. At our first workshop, I was worried that workshop participants would question me as far as what credibility I had to actually be leading the workshop, but as the workshop went on, I realized that though others in the workshop had more teaching experience, they still found the workshop useful. Secondly, at the June face-to-face workshops with all of the Change Agents regarding pedagogical strategies, allowed me to go back to my campus and feel confident enough to engage with and talk to other faculty about some of the strategies I learned. As a relatively new faculty member, this was the first time I felt comfortable talking to someone outside of my discipline and trying to help them with their courses and the organization of their department. Then, as we began to collect and work with data for our own departments, I had to reach out to the Institutional Research team at our college. It also made me realize that I could ask for other data that I was thinking about regarding success in our classes. As I felt more comfortable working with these data, I began bringing forth ideas and plans for moving forward regarding growth and student success of all students. I started as a full-time faculty member in January of 2015 when the SAGE 2YC project started. In the summer of 2017, I became the department chair of Chemistry, Geology, and Physics.
Kristie Bradford, Lone Star College - Tomball
Although there was no specific strand in the SAGE2YC project to turn Faculty Change Agents into leaders within their respective colleges, the training we did receive, coupled with the desire to see the three strands of the project reach their fullest potential in my department, mandated that I take a more proactive, college-wide approach. My solo status as the only full-time geology faculty (and sometimes the only person teaching geology) requires me to do all of the work myself unless I recruit partners from other parts of the college.
Early in the project I realized that if I wanted to shape the future of my program in light of the SAGE2YC strands, I needed to be at the table when decisions were made. Therefore, I met with administration officials to inform them of the work I was doing in SAGE2YC and that I wanted to use my knowledge from the project to assist LSC-Tomball in being the best college it could be. The project came along at an opportune time as several initiatives related to the project strands were just beginning system-wide as I began my time as a Change Agent. I am also very fortunate to have supportive administrators who truly care about the students and faculty at the college. These administrators are a diverse group and include the President, Vice-President of Instruction, Chief Strategist, my Dean, and many others. All were excited about my work and invited me to participate on committees and in pilot projects such as our DEI Committee, our DEI certification pilot, and to guide some of our professional development workshops. I was also able to develop partnerships with TRIO, the Lone Star College Student Success Institute, and our Tomball Center for Leadership and Student Success program which has increased participation of underrepresented or marginalized groups in my classes. As I see it, becoming more active in the wider college environment at LSC-Tomball was a necessity to meet the goals that I had for my participation in SAGE 2YC.
Lynsey LeMay, Thomas Nelson Community College
Since participating in the SAGE work, I've grown more into a leader on my own campus. As a Change Agent, participating in workshops allowed me to observe effective leadership being modeled and learn techniques for leading effective workshops. Working with my team in designing and leading workshops helped me to build confidence in taking on leadership responsibilities. Gaining knowledge about leadership styles and organizational management allowed me to see myself as a contributor to the success of a group and an organization and also provided a framework for better understanding the approach and perspective of other contributors. Overall, I feel better equipped to take on leadership roles, and have said yes to an ever expanding role of leading the charge for the development of a Center for Teaching and Learning on my campus. Without the opportunities of the SAGE2YC project, I'm not sure that I would be in this position at all, or would fill confident in my abilities to advocate for myself and others, provide meaningful insight in conversations with academic deans and vice presidents, and lead colleagues with confidence.
Shannon Othus-Gault, Chemeketa Community College
The SAGE 2YC project allowed for easy access to a curated selection of important pedagogical concepts and strategies and facilitated the open exchange of thoughts and questions among like-minded peers. These opportunities have allowed me to build and hone my teaching skills as well as build skills and confidence in sharing the base of knowledge gained over the span of the project. Like many of the participants, I have a background in the geosciences and not in pedagogy. Prior to the project I would have perhaps been unable to discuss, in-depth, the reasoning and data behind the choices made in my classroom or program. What the SAGE 2YC program has done is allowed me to become familiar with the language of pedagogy and become confident in discussing my opinions and classroom techniques with colleagues and superiors as well as providing the tools to share ideas and request support from administration. This confidence, in turn, allows colleagues, superiors, and administration to see me as a decisive and innovative thinker, paving the way for further opportunities and requests of service within the college system.