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Developing college leaders from within

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Commentary
​Rose Bellanca

​​Editor’s note: This article continues a series profiling nominees of the American Association of Community Colleges' (AACC) 2014 Awards of Excellence. Featured this week are the four finalists in the category of emerging leadership. Winners in each of the six categories will be announced at the AACC Annual Convention in April.

As president of Michigan's Washtenaw Community College (WCC), Rose Bellanca is fully committed to creating a culture of leadership.

Since becoming president in 2011, she has already developed a mission-driven culture of teamwork, strength within the organization and effective leadership across the institution. By nurturing well-trained leaders from within, Bellanca is positioning WCC to address the ever-changing demands of the workforce, community and student population.

A structure within

Bellanca implemented the Leadership Edge Leadership Academy, which helps emerging leaders gain the skills and knowledge necessary for innovative and effective leadership. The seven-seminar series was developed in collaboration with Ferris State University and uses the American Association of Community Colleges’ Competencies for Community College Leadership.

Sessions help participants support and actualize the college’s mission, cultivate leadership traits, develop awareness for leadership culture and align strategic priorities with the budgeting process. About 50 staff members are participating in the 2013–2014 academy.

Bellanca also has ensured that there are many opportunities for faculty and staff to take on leadership roles.

“Particularly as the community college landscape changes in terms of funding, educational delivery, meeting new standards and other factors, leaders who can identify new directions and navigate change will be more important than ever before,” said Anne Williams, chair of the WWCC board of trustees.

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