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Competencies for Community College Leaders
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 Six Competencies for Community College Leaders 

I. Organizational Strategy

An effective community college leader strategically improves the quality of the institution, protects the long-term health of the organization, promotes the success of all students, and sustains the community college mission, based on knowledge of the organization, its environment, and future trends.

Illustrations: 

  • Assess, develop, implement, and evaluate strategies regularly to monitor and improve the quality of education and the long-term health of the organization.
  • Use data-driven evidence and proven practices from internal and external stakeholders to solve problems, make decisions, and plan strategically.
  • Use a systems perspective to assess and respond to the culture of the organization; to changing demographics; and to the economic, political, and public health needs of students and the community.
  • Develop a positive environment that supports innovation, teamwork, and successful outcomes.
  • Maintain and grow college personnel and fiscal resources and assets.  
  • Align organizational mission, structures, and resources with the college master plan.

II. Resource Management

An effective community college leader equitably and ethically sustains people, processes, and information as well as physical and financial assets to fulfill the mission, vision, and goals of the community college.

Illustrations:

  • Ensure accountability in reporting.
  • Support operational decisions by managing information resources and ensuring the integrity and integration of reporting systems and databases.
  • Develop and manage resource assessment, planning, budgeting, acquisition, and allocation processes consistent with the college master plan and local, state, and national policies.
  • Take an entrepreneurial stance in seeking ethical alternative funding sources.
  • Implement financial strategies to support programs, services, staff, and facilities.
  • Implement a human resources system that includes recruitment, hiring, reward, and performance management systems and that fosters the professional development and advancement of all staff.
  • Employ organizational, time management, planning, and delegation skills.
  • Manage conflict and change in ways that contribute to the long-term viability of the organization.

III. Communication

An effective community college leader uses clear listening, speaking, and writing skills to engage in honest, open dialogue at all levels of the college and its surrounding community, to promote the success of all students, and to sustain the community college mission.

Illustrations:

  • Articulate and champion shared mission, vision, and values to internal and external audiences, appropriately matching message to audience.
  • Disseminate and support policies and strategies.
  • Create and maintain open communications regarding resources, priorities, and expectations.
  • Convey ideas and information succinctly, frequently, and inclusively through media and verbal and nonverbal means to the board and other constituencies and stakeholders. 
  • Listen actively to understand, comprehend, analyze, engage, and act.
  • Project confidence and respond responsibly and tactfully.

IV. Collaboration

An effective community college leader develops and maintains responsive, cooperative, mutually beneficial, and ethical internal and external relationships that nurture diversity, promote the success of all students, and sustain the community college mission.

Illustrations:

  • Embrace and employ the diversity of individuals, cultures, values, ideas, and communication styles.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence relative to a global society.
  • Catalyze involvement and commitment of students, faculty, staff, and community members to work for the common good.
  • Build and leverage networks and partnerships to advance the mission, vision, and goals of the community college.
  • Work effectively and diplomatically with unique constituent groups such as legislators, board members, business leaders, accreditation organizations, and others.
  • Manage conflict and change by building and maintaining productive relationships.
  • Develop, enhance, and sustain teamwork and cooperation.
  • Facilitate shared problem-solving and decision-making.

V. Community College Advocacy

An effective community college leader understands, commits to, and advocates for the mission, vision, and goals of the community college.

Illustrations:

  • Value and promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and academic excellence.
  • Demonstrate a passion for and commitment to the mission of community colleges and student success through the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • Promote equity, open access, teaching, learning, and innovation as primary goals for the college, seeking to understand how these change over time and facilitating discussion with all stakeholders.
  • Advocate the community college mission to all constituents and empower them to do the same.
  • Advance life-long learning and support a learner-centered and learning-centered environment. 
  • Represent the community college in the local community, in the broader educational community, at various levels of government, and as a model of higher education that can be replicated in international settings.

VI. Professionalism

An effective community college leader works ethically to set high standards for self and others, continuously improve self and surroundings, demonstrate accountability to and for the institution, and ensure the long-term viability of the college and community.

Illustrations: 

  • Demonstrate transformational leadership through authenticity, creativity, and vision.
  • Understand and endorse the history, philosophy, and culture of the community college.
  • Self-assess performance regularly using feedback, reflection, goal-setting, and evaluation.
  • Support lifelong learning for self and others.
  • Manage stress through self-care, balance, adaptability, flexibility, and humor.
  • Demonstrate the courage to take risks, make difficult decisions, and accept responsibility.
  • Understand the impact of perceptions, world views, and emotions on self and others.
  • Promote and maintain high standards for personal and organizational integrity, honesty, and respect for people.
  • Use influence and power wisely in facilitating the teaching-learning process and the exchange of knowledge.
  • Weigh short-term and long-term goals in decision-making.
  • Contribute to the profession through professional development programs, professional organizational leadership, and research/publication.
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