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Two Marion Technical College Staff Members Selected for Statewide Leadership Academy

Two Marion Technical College Staff Members Selected for Statewide Leadership Academy

(Marion) Ohio – Two leaders from Marion Technical College have graduated as fellows of the first Ohio Leadership Academy for Student Success.

Laura Emerick, Executive Director of Student Success and Engagement, and Tola Francis-Sanusi, Professor of Business Technologies, of Lewis Center were among more than 40 leaders representing all of Ohio’s community colleges that graduated Oct. 2, 2020, 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.

Tola Francis-Sanusi smiles at the camera
Tola Francis-Sanusi, Professor of Business Technologies
Laura Emerick smiles - decorative
Laura Emerick, Executive Director of Student Success and Engagement

“It was a tremendous experience that allowed me to learn more about changes to improve student success, meet many colleagues from other community colleges in the state, work on pathways projects, knowing that these connections would continue where we can reach out to support one another,” Francis-Sanusi said. “I came away reinvigorated and more passionate about what we do for our students and to help them get to their next degree.”

Marion Technical College serves about 2,500 students from approximately 20 Ohio counties of all backgrounds: high school students earning college credits, traditional students, and working parents jugging school, work, and family needs.

“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 in person and then online as the pandemic took hold. 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.

The academy was funded by several national organizations, so colleges had minimal expenses to participate. Next year’s academy will begin early in 2021, Rittner said, in the hopes that some sessions can be held in person.

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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