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Presidents rate their professional development needs


Community college presidents want to learn more about successful approaches to resource management and organizational strategy, according to a survey of two-year college CEOs by South Texas College (STC).

The findings in the Professional Development Needs and Interests Survey were presented at the American Association of Community CollegesPresidents Academy Summer Institute (PASI) in June and will be used to develop the curriculum for future PASI sessions.

“Like any other employees, community college presidents need access to high-quality professional development,” said STC President Shirley Reed. “You don’t survive in this world if you aren’t constantly learning. That’s why PASI is so important.”
The national spotlight on community colleges to better prepare employees for the workforce and to increase graduation rates has college leaders seeking new approaches to improve those efforts, Reed noted.
When presidents were asked to rate their level of preparedness and interest in certain competencies, the following topics received the highest rating (in order):
• Competency in organizational strategy: Use data-driven evidence and proven practices from internal and external stakeholders to solve problems, make decisions, and plan strategically.
• Organizational strategy: Use a systems perspective to assess and respond to the culture of the organization; to changing demographics; and to the economic, political and public health needs of students and the community.
• Collboration: Catalyze involvement and commitment of students, faculty, staff and community members to work for the common good. 
• Resource management: Support operational decisions by managing information resources and ensuring the integrity and integration of reporting systems and databases.
• Organizational strategy: Assess, develop, implement, and evaluate strategies regularly to monitor and improve the quality of education and the long-term health of the organization.
The professional development topics of most interest to community college presidents are managing in difficult times, improving student successes, and fundraising.
Survey respondents rated the following topics as least important:: the role of the spouse/partner; collective bargaining/unionization; and succeeding in the first year of the presidency.
The most commonly cited obstacles to professional development were:
• Programs are not relevant to professional development needs.
• Travel expense.
• Cannot justify with budget cuts.
• Too much time away.
• Availability of other, more relevant programs.​