Initial Publication Date: August 11, 2021

Cohort 3 Leadership Extension

The whole team from Santiago Canyon College participated in the extension of Cohort 3 that focused in helping Change Agents improve their leadership skills.

Jump Down To: Activity Report

Leadership Accomplishments and Lessons Learned

Angela Daneshmand

  • Enhanced perspective of personal approach to leadership, including valuing the power of working with colleagues
  • Organized and executed a successful regional meeting
  • Established an annual meeting plan and set the foundation for future collaboration with geoscience educators during the 2YC/4YC Open Forum
  • Asked to plan and present workshops on active learning during Fall FLEX

Cindy Swift

  • Increased toolkit of leadership strategies and preparedness to handle complications that arise
  • Organized and executed a successful regional meeting
  • Established an annual meeting plan and set the foundation for future collaboration with geoscience educators during the 2YC/4YC Open Forum
  • Asked to plan and present workshops on active learning during Fall FLEX

Activity Report

Activity Plan

The goals for our activity were to strengthen the relationship between local 2YC and 4YC geoscience educators, promote student success through the transfer process, and offer grad students/adjuncts a networking opportunity and help them prepare for careers at 2YCs.

On May 1st, the Earth Sciences and Physics department chairs (Angela Daneshmand and Cindy Swift) worked together to host a virtual "meeting of the minds" for local geoscience educators to network, exchange expertise, and brainstorm ideas for collaboration. In attendance were faculty from UCLA, UCI, CSUF, and CSULB, along with 4 other local community colleges. A mentorship program was established for future geoscience educators which included a virtual workshop on creating CVs and cover letters as well as a question and answer session on the 2YC interview process. This meeting was the foundation for a stronger partnership between geology departments at these institutions and serves as the catalyst for future regional geoscience educator meetings.

This event was a collaborative effort and relied on the work of volunteers to help the meeting run smoothly. Four local 4-year universities were contacted and asked if they would be willing to give a 15-20 minute presentation about their program, two professional development leaders from SCC were asked to present a workshop on CVs and cover letters, one professor was asked to help with logistics during the break out rooms, and representative from a teacher's credit union was asked to help close out our meeting in a fun way (with Amazon gift card raffles)!!


Participants were able to gain insight on the 4 year university programs, what is required to transfer into their programs, and what types of research the university focuses on. This was a crucial starting point in promoting student success through the transfer process in that it gives 2YC educators information they can pass along to majors looking to transfer to a 4YC.

In the Academic Career break-out room, 4 full-time faculty came together with 6 part-time faculty to discuss the transition from part-time to full-time positions.

  • Two faculty from SCC's professional development committee gave a presentation about resume and cover letters.
  • We talked about important hiring considerations for lab sciences and ways adjuncts can contribute to their current lab activities to help improve their hiring potential.
  • We talked about important buzz-words: SLO, equity, diversity, etc.
  • Geosciences are often small departments so we talked about some of the important things a full-time faculty should know.
  • We discussed the hiring process: screening, 1st interview, and 2nd interview
  • We talked about how at a 2YC quality teaching practices are valued over research and publications.
  • We spent about 10 minutes answering questions.

In the 2YC/4YC open forum, 13 faculty came together to discuss ideas for collaboration:

  • 4YC programs reaching out to campuses with career information, internships/research opportunities, lab tours (virtual or in person)
  • Creating a single webpage to post all SoCal talks
  • Working together on NSF proposals for outreach and education (K-12 teacher outdoor education training)
  • Creating an annual meeting for exchange of expertise and possibly field trips for educators

Mentorship feedback from mentee:

What went well:

  • Communication: My mentor reached out to me before the meeting. We introduced ourselves via email, shared our personal websites, and highlighted our similar interests and experiences. It was the perfect foundation for our virtual meeting later on.
  • Virtual Meeting: My mentor and I had an immediate connection and they were so transparent and honest about their experiences and advice for me. We were able to discuss teaching experiences, Ph.D. pathways, and future goals. Although we had excellent conversations during the breakout session, we ran out of time. So, we are planning to have coffee together soon. I would say that our mentorship-mentee experience has been the best I have ever experienced compared to other programs I have been involved in. So thank you so much for taking the time to match me with a mentor who has expertise in a career path that I am most interested in. I believe my mentor and I will continue to support and collaborate in the future.

What should be changed/implemented:

  • Details of mentor-mentee expectations: Some participants aren't natural mentors/mentees, so they might need some direction on how to initiate introductions and best support their mentee/mentor.
  • More time for Mentor-Mentee conversations: Maybe offer a pre-meeting networking session for anyone who wants to chat before the meeting starts. For example: from 8:30 - 9:00 AM. This would provide a great opportunity for mentors and mentees to plan to meet each other in a low-stakes, casual environment.

Other feedback:

A week after our meeting of the minds workshop, UCLA held a similar workshop with 2YCs in the LA/OC area (Geology, Earth Science, and Astronomy/Physics departments). They used multiple ideas that stemmed from our meeting and praised us for how well our meeting was run and how fruitful the discussions were.

During the UCLA summit, we were able to discuss the "Meeting of the Minds" workshop and the trajectory for future meetings. There were multiple professors interested in attending our next meeting which will be focused on local, micro, and accessible geology field trips that will promote diversity and inclusion for 2YC students.

There is potential for collaboration with UCLA to host workshops on how to write a grant, how to set up micro research projects geared for 2YC students, and education on Astronomy for Earth Science professors who do not specialize in that field.

Lessons Learned

Angela and Cindy met with some of the adjuncts and grad students about a month before the regional meeting to inquire about their needs. This worked out very well, because one of the graduate students suggested creating a mentor program. Angela modified the registration form to inquire who would be willing to either be a mentor or be mentored, and she got 100% participation!

Overall, the flow of the meeting went really well. We did have a guest speaker for our academic career preparation session no show, but it ended up working out. The adjuncts had a lot of really good questions for the presenters and the full-time faculty who were in attendance for that session.

In the future, there are several things we would do differently, and for each we have advice for another team planning a similar project:

  • The networking breakout sessions were a success; however, we only allowed seven minutes which was not long enough. The feedback confirmed that it wasn't enough time to meet.
  • We did not have a break planned for the session, and we ended up having to adjust midmeeting. If your meeting is more than two hours, we recommend putting a break in the agenda.
  • Feedback from long time 4YC colleagues was that they have been to similar gung-ho meetings such as this with little to no follow through, and they eventually fizzle out over time. It was suggested that we should have set aside time during the meeting to develop an action plan, timeline, and assign tasks since this is key to putting into practice all of the ideas discussed and maintaining them long term. However, we felt a three-hour meeting is a big commitment on a Saturday, and we were afraid that if we had asked for more time, we could have ended up with fewer participants. Since Angela is very motivated to continue the work that she has started, we hope this will be a nonissue.
  • Creating a website that lists the details for the meeting is something Angela would do before the next meeting and she recommends this to anyone who is working on a similar project. She had to send multiple emails stating the same explanations over and over. Having one space to list what a mentorship is, what break out rooms we will be having, and/or who our guest speakers are would help significantly. Also, having a general "Meeting of the Minds" webpage where schools can post their videos or even post flyers about upcoming events would be greatly beneficial.

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