Cohort 3 Leadership Extension

Rebecca Martin and Michelle Stoklosa of the team from Clark College participated in the extension of Cohort 3 that focused in helping Change Agents improve their leadership skills.

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Leadership Accomplishments and Lessons Learned

Rebecca Martin

  • Use of leadership strategies to identify the types of information others need before they might invest in an initiative; took on several informal leadership roles on campus
  • Expanded use of Bolman and Deal's leadership frames beyond personal frame preference
  • Increased understanding of organizational operations resulted in pursuit of larger projects to leverage college initiatives; used the power of students' voices when advocating for change

Michelle Stoklosa

  • Recognition of being a leader on campus and willingness to lead
  • Awareness of personal Bolman and Deal leadership frames, resulting in different approaches to engaging with others
  • Empowered to take on leadership roles to motivate change on campus to improve student learning

Activity Report

Activity Plan

After reviewing our course success data (from 2018-2019) as part of SAGE 2YC Cohort 3, we determined that we would like to:

  • Increase enrollment from our college Latinx population
  • Implement changes that lead to higher rates of course success for students who identify as having a disability
  • Maintain or improve our course success rates for students from historically underrepresented populations and encourage them to consider career paths in the geosciences

To continue making progress on these goals, we started our Leadership Development Program project by meeting with three key stakeholder groups: Director of our MESA program (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement), our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion staff, and two program coordinators in our Disability Support Services Office. As a result of these meetings and meetings with our SAGE 2YC mentors, we decided to then focus on these three main activities:

  1. Developing one common social justice framework that our department members agree to work towards achieving.
  2. Creating a qualitative survey for our students to help us better understand their experience in our courses.
  3. Asssessing how we incorporate science identity and environmental justice activities in our courses.


Common social justice framework

At our meeting with staff members from our Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, during which we described our longer term goals for addressing our course success data, the suggestion was made to develop a framework with a focus on equity or social justice with which we can use when making strategic decisions. We were also asked to first examine whether we as a department were ready to do the work of creating more equitable classrooms and courses.

Rather than create a new guiding statement or framework, we opted instead to use the vision statement for Washington's State Board for Community and Technical Colleges System (SBCTC) as a way to get started: "Leading with racial equity, our colleges maximize student potential and transform lives within a culture of belonging that advances racial, social, and economic justice in service to our diverse communities".

In order to engage the rest of the department in determining our next steps in working towards this vision, we administered a short survey asking about the activities they think would help them be better prepared to work towards this vision, which projects/initiatives they thought the department should prioritize in the next few years, whether they saw themselves as decision makers in the department and their classes, and a few other questions.  The results of this survey will be shared with the department at an end-of-term department meeting in June and used to determine next steps.

Qualitative student survey

We have a survey to assess student experiences in our geoscience classes. This will help us create targeted strategies to increase the diversity in our courses and hopefully in our majors population.

Inventory of science identity and environmental justice in current courses

We followed up with our department, after offering a series of workshops in the fall, to learn how environmental justice and science identity was incorporated into our curriculum. The results and next steps (Acrobat (PDF) 145kB Jul20 21) of the survey are documented in the PDF table.

Other related activities & results: 

  • Michelle published an article inspired by her work in SAGE entitled, "Geologists who look like me", in our Foundation newsletter
  • We will participate in the STEM camp for middle and high school students in the summer of 2022.
  • Our department is reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants as part of a book group over the summer.
  • Our department implemented the sense of belonging intervention, "critical feedback with assurance" in all of our classes this winter and spring.

Lessons Learned

  • Our department was very responsive to our SAGE workshops and implementing interventions and curriculum in each course. Our team is very enthusiastic about our common read this summer.
  • Gathering input from other faculty is important for buy-in.  Creating a short, multiple-choice survey was a good way for us to get some feedback quickly from very busy people, yet still provided a way for all to have a voice.
  • One place we could improve is pacing out our work with our department members over a longer period of time. All of our faculty are adjuncts and they are not compensated for extra work. We wanted to do more as a team this spring, such as define a social equity plan for our department, but we realized we needed to take smaller steps first, such as our own professional growth in this area. Identifying funding to support the efforts of our faculty is something else we need to improve on.
  • Our advice is to openly communicate with your colleagues about your SAGE work throughout your involvement in the project. Share links and resources with your team and specific examples of how it is transforming your work as an educator. We found this was contagious in our department.
  • Learn more about your leadership style.  It is helpful to think about how your leadership style may not work with everyone, and that you need to consider incorporating other methods of initiating change rather than the way that might work best for you.

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