WCH resident graduates from leadership academy


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Two leaders from Southern State Community College, including a Washington C.H. resident, have graduated as fellows of the second Ohio Leadership Academy for Student Success.

Michelle Callender (Academic/Career Advisor) of Washington Court House and Dr. Rain Nielsen (Assistant Professor of Chemistry) of Williamsburg were among nearly 40 leaders representing all of Ohio’s community colleges that graduated June 15, 2022, as part of the academy organized by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC). It is the first of its kind in the nation to gather mid-level administrators, faculty and staff for a year of training, exchanging ideas and immersion in how to promote student success.

“The fellows learned how to more effectively lead the many changes underway at our colleges – transformational changes – to improve student success,” said Laura Rittner, executive director of the OACC’s Success Center for Ohio Community Colleges. “We brought together people who have different roles at colleges so they could have a deeper understanding of how college leaders can work together to usher in these student success models.”

The president of each of the state’s community colleges could nominate two employees as fellows. They met six times throughout the year for two-day meetings, first online and then in person. Sessions were relevant to Ohio specifically and included aspects of the Aspen Institute’s presidential leadership curriculum. Fellows also worked on projects in small groups between sessions.

“This experience was extremely rewarding. Not only was I able to open a network of like-minded individuals, I was given tools to help further my leadership career,” says Callender.

The academy was funded by several national organizations, so colleges had minimal expenses to participate. The next academy will begin in July 2022 with over 40 new fellows supported by their colleges and the growing alumni network from the program.

The OACC represents the presidents and trustees of the state’s 23 public two-year institutions that work to advance community colleges through policy advocacy and professional development. For more information, please visit www.OhioCommunityColleges.Org.

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