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Morning General Session Jump Starts First Full Day of Conference

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Monday, October 14, 2013

Very strong energy in the first general session of the first full day of NACCE2013. Ron Thomas kicks things off by announcing that Sam’s Club has renewed its support for the Shared Vision for Small Business collaboration with NACCE. The goal is to identify 480 business owners over the next few years and to help them be successful and then identify the best practices that can be shared with other colleges.  I’ll post the list of colleges that were chosen for the second cohort of this program later today.


Dr. Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College, the host college for the conference, then welcomed the crowd to his city. He gave us a short, very interesting history lesson of Charlotte, letting us know that this area declared its independence from Great Britain a full year before the Continental Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence. And he introduced us to the word "Huzzah!”


Zeiss talked about it being a time for change, but that also makes it a time of opportunities. "Presidents must become entrepreneurs,” he said.


More thoughts from Zeiss:

The way to do that is to set a clear vision and a strategic plan, committed leadership, become good anticipatory thinkers., entrepreneurial thinking and make innovation and entrepreneurialism core values of your college.


How do you increase revenues? State and local government, gifts and donations, federal/private/state grants and fees for services.


How do you raise money from state and local governments: Have to friend raise before you fund raise. Politicians know two things: money and votes. Leverage college supporters.


Advertise for scholarship sponsors. It works!


Fees for service: Contract training/consulting. Consultant services; establish a 501c3 corporation to do nothing but fees for services. Incubate faculty-staff businesses through the services corporation. Wonderful way to renew  your people. So give them seed money to write a book or do a film or whatever they want to do. Profit share with them.


President’s Entrepreneurial Team – 30 members, rotating membership.


His closing words to the audience: "Seize the day!”


After Dr. Zeiss’s rousing presentation, NACCE’s Karen-Michelle Miro headed the first disruptive panel of the conference. LISTEN TO THE AUDIO OF THE DISRUPTIVE PANEL HERE.


Dr. Angeline Godwin, president of Patrick Henry Community College; Tressie McMillan Cottom, an academic researcher and columnist with Counter Narrative and Slate; and Matt Reed, VP of Academic Affairs at Holyoke Community College made up the panel.


First up were the panels thoughts on the changing landscape.

Tressie: In my sector of the world we’re talking a lot about how technology is impacting the education sector. The expansion of the geography of a college beyond its physical geography through massive online open courses. Colleges are trying to figure out how to use this to alleviate other issues, such as a drop in funding.


Matt: From an administrative point on campus I see an increased number of demands coming from more angles with fewer resources to handle them. Changes in demographics, with an increasing number of students with disabilities, for which the state provides no special funding. 12% of the students at Holyoke Community College have disabilities. Must work with the people who are invested in maintaining traditions; that’s a difficult balancing act.


Angeline: We have a bolder on one side, which we refer to the VA bureaucracy and then on the other side we’re more and more a part of the marketplace and responding to the marketplace. And candidly it’s how we dance in the space between those two worlds. That is the landscape and how well we navigate between those two things.


Angeline: In this environment, we must have an entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs are in the multiplier business; they understand how to take a process and leverage that and multiply it. I call myself sometimes an innovation evangelist. We have something to offer everyone; that is how entrepreneurs function. And always looking at where we can push it a little more; to see what others have not seen. We are the great American innovation enterprise.


Tressie: Need to be professionally curious at every level of the organization from the leadership on down. Community colleges exist at the intersection of all types of social processes and all kinds of change. You’re not operating in a closed system; you’re in an open system and need to be constantly gathering information not just about your institution but also about what’s going on around you.


Matt: The trick to me is pushing climate change on campus. Faculty are very good at finding flaws. If you put ideas out there fully formed you’re going to hear 58 versions of why your idea stinks, but if you can get faculty involved in coming up with the ideas you’re in better shape. Change the climate so this group of incredibly smart people comes up with a series of answers and our job is to make possible.

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