Southwest Tennessee Community College

September 13, 2005

For more information, contact: Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023

Southwest Participates in the Regents Academic Leadership Institute

The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), Southwest Tennessee Community College’s governing body, has a keen interest in helping academic leaders on its community college and university campuses to further develop and enhance their leadership skills.

With the new Regents Academic Leadership Institute (RALI), just launched in June, the focus is on strengthening leadership for academic department chairs, and two Southwest representatives are participating. A couple of months ago, Mary Vines, chair of the Nursing Department, and Dr. Cynthia Calhoun, professor and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences , began representing Southwest at the RALI Class of 2005’s first meeting at Montgomery Bell State Park.

Participants gathered at the park near Dickson “to assess leadership styles, work with other academic leaders to solve actual problems, develop an informal network of expertise, enhance personal leadership skills, and develop mentoring and coaching relationships to provide continued support.” Case studies and simulations will assist the academic chairs as they analyze real issues faced by academic administrators in Tennessee higher education. Quarterly meetings during the yearlong program will address subjects of interest to the group.

TBR RALI participants choose mentors at their home institutions, and together they will address campus issues important to the individual participant. Martha Simpson, Associate Professor of Nursing is serving as Vines’ mentor, while Calhoun is working with Dr. Karen Weddle-West, Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Studies at the University of Memphis.

“The program is very intense; however, it will provide opportunities to network with other educators in other disciplines throughout the state as well as with some educators from other states,” states Vines. “Innovative education techniques can be identified and implemented here at Southwest to enhance student success.”

“It is certainly an honor to be selected as a pioneer for such a promising leadership program. The higher education institutions across the state of Tennessee, including Southwest, will benefit from their commitment to ‘grow their own’ academic leadership pool of scholars,” states Calhoun.

Both participants see this as an opportunity to become more exposed to effective management techniques that will assist in the overall implementation of programs and with their own professional relationships.

TBR presidents nominate potential program participants, and a class has a minimum of one representative from each of the 13 community colleges (Southwest, the largest community college in the state has two representatives) and two from each of the six universities in the TBR system. Every effort is made to create a diverse group of departmental chairs with a wide range of interests, expertise, and experience. The Class of 2005 is compromised of 30 members. The selection process for the Class of 2006 begins next spring.

Dr. Paula Myrick Short, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the TBR, initiated the Regents Academic Leadership Institute and chose Dr. Treva Berryman, TBR Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as its Director. Berryman is not only the administrator of the program, but an active participant. Consultant support to this leadership development initiative is being provided by the Chair Academic of Mesa, Arizona.

For further information about this program, contact Dr. Short at (615) 366-4400. Vines is available at (901) 333-5426, and Dr. Calhoun may be reached at (901) 333-4265.