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The Alabama Community College Leadership Academy

Testimonials

Class of 2009 – 2010

“Being a part of the 2009-10 class has been the best experience of my career with the Alabama Community College System. Participating in the Academy has brought me out of my “box” and made me realize that each individual employee of the college system plays a vital role in the education of adults in our state. Many college system employees become so entrenched in our daily tasks that we fail to realize that the system needs to work together as a whole if we want to succeed in making education more accessible and improve our future quality of living. Through the Academy, I have made valuable, long-lasting relationships with fellow participants and had the opportunity to see how devoted many of our college presidents are to their institutions and the educational system as a whole. Dr. Hardy, Mrs. Stone and other members of the Academy’s team have done an excellent job of providing the Academy with many valuable experiences and knowledgeable speakers. After working in various positions within the college system for 17 years, I have finally been able to put together pieces of the puzzle that previously eluded me. I now have an understanding of how the Alabama College System came into being and a better vision for where it needs to focus for the future. These visions can only become reality with this kind of education for more of the system’s members. I wholeheartedly believe that the Alabama Community College Leadership Academy should be required of every college system administrator and educator.”

Nancy S. Davis, Academic Advisor, Southern Union State Community College


“The Leadership Academy has been a very positive experience for me in a variety of ways both personally and professionally. Personally, I have had the opportunity to reflect on various leadership styles as an impressive array of speakers discussed leadership theory and development with our class, and I have discovered that some of the traits I exhibit are highly desirable and should be further developed, while others I exhibit are best categorized by the old “Needs Improvement” grade on elementary report cards. Without the Academy, I don’t know that I would have paused to consider some of these behaviors, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the resources to explore further and improve myself in my position. I feel I have developed a greater appreciation and understanding of various behaviors and personalities exhibited by colleagues, and I now know that we should value this type of diversity as much as we do any others – groups are more capable and creative than individuals when properly fostered. This was definitely a “lesson” for me that I will take home from the Academy and try to develop. All too often I tended to select the best option from my own inventory, and promptly quit listening to other inputs. Professionally, I found it highly rewarding to meet campus and institutional leaders from around our system. We shared many of the same problems, had discovered similar solutions, and enjoyed getting to know and working with one another during the Academy. Additionally, I found much useable data was presented to us by session presenters concerning the growth and development of community colleges, demographic trends that will greatly impact community colleges in Alabama in the near future, and I think the “data mine” available in ACHE, and the information we learned about how to get that data will be invaluable to me down the road. Quite frankly, I approached the first meeting of the Academy with some dread, thinking that it would be an additional burden in an already tight schedule, but I have enjoyed the experience quite a bit. The individuals that organize the Leadership Academy program are to be commended – they take it very seriously and made it a true learning experience for me.”

Jimmy Duke, Dean of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Calhoun Community College


“Being a participant in the Alabama Community College Leadership Academy has been a wonderful and insightful experience. I have worked in the system for almost 20 years. ACCLA provided valuable information from every facet of the Alabama Community College System coupled with guest speakers who have superb knowledge and experience in their field. The Academy allowed us to network with our peers from across the state which will provide us with valuable resources. I have not only gained resources, but also friends. This whole experience has been valuable and has provided me with knowledge and strategies that can be infused in both my professional and personal life. I would recommend the Academy to anyone working in the Alabama Community College System.”

Tonya Haygood, Assistant to the Chief Academic Officer, Snead State Community College


"I joined the leadership class at my president’s request shortly after becoming an employee of Faulkner State Community College. I had many reservations about the appointment because I was so new to the system and overwhelmed by the new responsibilities of the position. I quickly learned that the members of my class, along with the information being provided were beneficial to my learning curve and overall transition. I have come to look forward to our sessions. My team members and I have gotten to know each other and I enjoy working with them and sharing ideas, experiences, remedies, and solutions. The networking has been incredibly helpful to me as I have worked to deal with the many challenges that I have faced as a College Dean. The leadership of the Academy has been remarkable. I have found the sessions to be organized, informative, and entertaining. The talent and credentials of the presenters has been particularly enlightening. Their expertise and guidance has made the program most enjoyable. Thank you for the opportunity to participate; it has been an adventure that I will never forget.”

Patty Hughston, Dean of Workforce Development and Technology, Faulkner State Community College


“The Leadership Academy was a valuable experience. Great presenters and an excellent opportunity to network.”

Jimmy Hutto, Associate Dean, L.B. Wallace Community College


“When I was asked to participate in the Alabama Community College Leadership Academy I was hesitant for a number of reasons. As I explained to my mentor, the academic dean, I was not sure I possessed the leadership abilities needed to serve at a higher level. At his repeated request, and his assurance that he could see the potential in me even if I could not, I agreed. Since starting the academy my mentor has resigned, and I have taken on more leadership responsibility. My experiences in the academy were instrumental in making me comfortable with these increased leadership duties. I feel the opportunity to participate in the academy was a critical component in further developing my leadership abilities.”

R. Chris Joiner, Center for Instructional Excellence, Wallace Community College Dothan


“Participating in the Alabama Community College Leadership Academy has been an excellent experience. Through the Leadership Academy, I have had an opportunity to network with others from around the state and gain insight regarding the operations of other colleges. As a result of meeting the many professionals, it has been a tremendous benefit to me because I have been exposed to many new ideas that can be implemented at our college. I have also learned more about all aspects of the Alabama Community College System. We have had dynamic speakers and an excellent staff from the University of Alabama College of Education and College of Continuing Studies. Dr. Hardy and Mrs. Stone are excellent leaders. Ms. Nisbett is very organized and displayed work ethics that would surely make her an asset to the University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies. Because of my wonderful experience, I would strongly recommend the Academy to other colleagues. I also encourage all of our colleges to continue supporting the Academy. “

Arlinda K. Knight, Director of Continuing Education and Title III-B Program, Trenholm State Technical College


“The Alabama Community College Leadership Academy is an asset to higher education in Alabama. The Academy not only provides professional development for current and future leaders of our community college system. It has created life long networking and collaboration between institutions, educators, and administrators. Thank you for this once in a lifetime experience.”

Amy Langley, Director Service Learning Nursing Faculty, Snead State Community College


“The Leadership Academy has been a great learning experience. The opportunity to meet at various community colleges, campuses, Alabama Department of Postsecondary and attend a State Board meeting, shared a new light on the mission and goals of the community college system. Each session provided valuable materials and topics that will enhance my professional career. I enjoyed the academy and all it has to offer.”

Eleanor Pitts, Athletic Director/Health and Physical Education Chair, Lawson State Community College


“I highly recommend the Community College Leadership Academy to anyone who is interested in learning more about the many facets and fields of endeavor in and around the Alabama Community College System. This professional development activity has allowed me to meet and work with people in our system of colleges that, otherwise, I would never have met. The presentations have been enriching and thought-provoking, and the speakers we have heard have been inspiring. Being able to hear former Alabama Governor Albert Brewer talk about the formation of our system, and to be able to ask questions of him was a tremendous experience I will never forget. I was enlightened by the opportunity to observe a contentious meeting of the State Board of Education, and was delighted to be able to hear interim Chancellor Joan Davis talk about the challenges and triumphs of her tenure in the Alabama Community College System. All in all, the experiences I've had through participation in this program have been outstanding, and I would heartily recommend the program to other community college leaders and potential leaders.”

Dr. Chip Quisenberry, Director, Student Financial Aid, Enterprise State Community College


“I found the Leadership Academy Program to be very insightful. The Academy gave me fresh outlook on today’s issues that we face in the two-year college system. The material presented was current and relevant to the leadership goals we seek to accomplish at the Post Secondary level of education. I would recommend the Alabama Community College Leadership Academy Program to anyone who is or will be a strategic decision maker in the two-year college system.”

Greg Randall, Division Director, Snead State Community College.


“I was a participant in the Alabama Community College Leadership Academy, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The educational programs were of a very high quality, and carefully selected for their relevance to community college leaders. The leadership activities were very relevant and stimulated and maintained my interest in the program. The speakers were one of a kind – they were truly leaders in their fields, and sharing their experiences was a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I found every program, every activity, every speaker to be interesting, articulate and well-prepared – that was a first for me! The collegiate relationship I developed with the other participants will be forever treasured.”

Dr. Alice Raymond, Division Chair, Health Sciences, J.F. Drake State Technical College


“The Academy was wonderful. Being able to network with others is the Community College System has been a great experience. The speakers were the best in their field. I feel I will use what I have gained through the Academy for years to come. I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Brent Satterfield, Instructor of Criminal Justice, Northeast Alabama Community College


“After retiring from a clinical career and being relatively new in the Community College System, I have been keenly aware of what I did not know. Realizing that a working knowledge of the operation of the system would be an essential piece in the advancement puzzle, I applied for a slot in the 2009-2010 Leadership Class. Initial excitement from being accepted has progressed to sheer enjoyment as I have learned so much from so many. I have been part of many programs during the years , however I have never been a part of one that was conducted in such a masterful manner. Every venue, every speaker, each facilitator ,every meal has been the “best of the best”. A multifactorial learning experience that has coupled innovative instruction with new-found camaraderie has proven to be a timely addition to my preparation as a leader in the Alabama Community College System.”

Dr. Bennett Tucker, Gadsden State Community College