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Current and Future Education Leaders Ring in 20 Years of the EFL Summer Institute

By Mindy Ayala-Diaz

The Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership (EFL) in Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education and Professional Studies returned to an in-person format for its 20th Summer Institute.

Ph.D. students in ODU's Community College Leadership (CCL) and Higher Education (HiEd) programs gathered to build connections with their peers and faculty, as well as community college presidents, policymakers and nationally recognized researchers.

Dennis Gregory, associate professor of educational foundations and leadership, has attended every Summer Institute with the department, beginning in 2003 when he served as the first graduate program director of the CCL program.

"We're delighted to have the Summer Institute in person once again, after two years virtual," Gregory said. "This is a great opportunity for the students in our programs to get together with each other, to form cohorts and meet faculty with whom they will be working. We are also excited to celebrate our 20th anniversary of the CCL program and the Summer Institute."

A highlight of the Summer Institute was the DuBois Leadership Lecture and Awards Luncheon and Community College Presidents Mentoring Q&A Session.

These events featured special guest panelists.

For the DuBois Luncheon:

Virginia state Sen. Ghazala Hashimi

Ellen Davenport, assistant vice chancellor for public affairs and governmental relations for the Virginia Community College System

Robin Isserles, professor of sociology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and author of "The Costs of Completion: Student Success in Community College"

For the Community College Presidents Mentoring Session:

Porter Brandon, president of Thomas Nelson Community College

Dean Sprinkle, president of Wytheville Community College

Corey McCray, president of Paul D. Camp Community College and 2022 Darden Fellow

Adam Hutchinson, president of Virginia Highlands Community College

Edward Raspiller, president of John Tyler Community College

"The DuBois Leadership Lecture recognizes Chancellor (Glenn) DuBois' career of advocacy for community college students," said David Ayers, graduate program director of the CCL program. "These panelists provided insight into how policymakers, faculty, and administrators can band together in support of community college students."

Davenport gave remarks that centered around narratives that resonate between policymakers and education leaders.

"It was exciting to be a panelist for the DuBois Leadership Lecture and Awards program, meeting the members of cohorts 19 and 20 in ODU's Higher Education and Community College Leadership program, and being part of a panel focused on the critical role of community colleges in economic opportunity," she said. "I encourage community college leaders to constantly reach out to their community leaders, to the media, and to businesses and industry, to promote their value. Communicate in basic, understandable terms, not using academic jargon."

The Community College Presidents Mentoring Q&A gave future community college leaders the opportunity to meet and ask questions of presidents of these institutions. Topics included the free community college movement, enrollment and recruitment strategies, and cultivating the balance between professional and personal lives.

"Don't forget about yourself, and the people you love," Raspiller said.

The keynote was delivered by Cliff Harbour, the Don A. Buchholz Chair for Community College Education (retired) at University of North Texas. He discussed his book "John Dewey and the Future of Community College Education" and reflected on the role of community colleges both in supporting American democracy and addressing the climate crisis. Harbour also met with two doctoral classes for an informal discussion about community college leadership.

To view more photos from the Summer Institute, click here.

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