The Vocational Faculty Leadership Institute - "Visionary Leaders Plan for Whom They Will Lead and by Whom They Will be Led"

April
2006
Wheeler North, Occupational Education Committee Chair

Once, long, long ago in a place far, far away (mid-March 2006 in Palm Springs) during a dark and stormy thursday afternoon a special ops team of highly skilled operators slithered quietly into the tense atmosphere of a cold, dark dungeon deep below an ever so grand castle. They traveled incessantly from room to room with the only thought in their minds being a focused ideal of completely freeing the neglected few who braved these elements only to find themselves captured deep within this mighty fortress.

Our team, known only by the tippy-top secret coded acronym of ASCCC_OEC, or OEC for short was an odd mix of simmering talents, really, of talents most suited to get the majority of us into trouble, to get us labeled-rabble rousers, faculty leaders, or trouble-makers.

Due to the highly skilled expertise of this team coupled with the equally miraculous capabilities of our very own Logistical Translocation Coordinating Squad (LTCS) up in sacramento this year's Institute was by all accounts a smashing success. Just to cover some of the mission's demographic details, there were over 125 souls looking for a better way of life, with over 20 presenters trying to provide those guiding lights. We had 15 well attended "breakouts"(an excellent choice of words for this article's metaphor), 6 top-notch general sessions, 5 incredible meals served by the very same culinary team who caters the emmys, and a couple of wonderful evenings touring, shopping and reconnoitering in the delightful village of downtown Palm Springs during the heart of their street fair season.

Although one rarely remembers them, our theme this year was 20:20 leadership: hindsight or vision-Proactive vs. Reactive leadership. the reason the ASCCC-OEC specialists chose this theme was to build upon President Walton's annual theme of balancing pragmatism with principles.

One functional role of a good leader is to attempt and sustain a proactive vision of upcoming needs and issues while also being able to appropriately react to the unforeseen without too much loss of their forward momentum.

A good leader must also be able to use hindsight to improve upon the vision and the implementation of that vision.

In this latter vein there is room for improvement in some areas. For instance, we need to schedule more pass time between breakouts. Although that may be difficult to do if we wish to continue offering as many sessions and breakouts and fit it all into two days.

Two aspects of the conference worked really well:

1. The @One team, who not only supplied the tactical equipment for a full day of computer lab workshops, but also delivered the equipment, set it up, and provided tech support for the entire effort. They most certainly deserve a resounding round of applause. Special thanks go to John Whitmer for letting us use the equipment and staff and to lisa strand for bringing it all the way there, setting it up, breaking it down, and for being an ace trooper in making this happen.

In these four breakouts we were able to first demonstrate one of the senate's newest web additions, a legislation tracking search feature. We then conducted two sequential breakouts on grants where the attendees were able to begin writing nsf grants. the final section was about how to take a leader's role in utilizing today's distance education technology effectively and appropriately in vocational courses.

2. Repeating the breakout on advisory groups. This is the second year in a row we have offered this breakout while also repeating it at each Institute. On both occasions, these dual breakouts have been filled and the presenters were mobbed for more by a crowd hungry for ways to embrace their industry and government partners. of the five or so things that seem to top the list of common issues for vocational programs, advisory groups seems to be right there on top between funding and program continuance.

We were also greatly pleased with the diversity of topics available to our audience.

Truly effective leaders possess diverse and well rounded baseline knowledge from which to launch their vision and efforts.

As well, a transformational leader's prime modus operandi is to facilitate broad spectrum self-driven solution-making amongst their followers. In other words, when a leader implements a good idea, it often satisfies many goals at the same time.

as the highly calibrated leadership conditioning process wound to a close, with an excellent interactive session about who we serve and how we might better serve them, our asccc-oec rallied for a mission debrief while bidding farewell to the many newly revived spirits all looking forward to implementing the many ideas they had just learned. In the debrief we congratulated ourselves, while reflecting on how much we had changed in the previous six months.

While there are many benefits to joining any ASCCC committee, to me, the friendships resulting from shared effort are what I will retain long beyond the passage of my tenure with this team. Although there are only a couple of ASCCC committees that are responsible for putting on institutes, the others are equally mated to epoch processes that will professionally develop any participant while bonding them to other statewide leaders of like mind. If you haven't joined one in a while, think about filling out the "nomination to serve" form at our next plenary session, or download it from our website and fax it in.

And finally, I would like to thank all the attendees, without you, leadership wouldn't happen. Go forth and multiply.

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