It had the feel of a campfire setting: the end of a day's travel, snow in the air, and two old friends leaning into a rolling conversation about teaching, learning, art, life. One could almost hear the trees breathing and the horses chuffing in the grass.
Of course, there was no campfire at the Boston Marriott Copley, no horses. Just the two amigos, warm lighting, a couple of chairs and a thousand or so flies on the wallcommunity college professionals attending the League-sponsored Innovations 2002 conference.
Amado M. Peña had stepped off a plane and into a waiting limo only an hour before he arrived at the Marriott to speak to Innovations delegates about his work in the art and education worlds. Peña shines in both of those galaxies, with a 15-page curriculum vitae listing scores of art awards and honors, 30-plus years of teaching experience, and a trail of fund-raising activities for such diverse organizations as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Native American Rights Fund.
In a welcome departure from confab ritual, host Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr dispensed with all the conventional conventionismsthe overpolished speech, the canned humor, the chastening podium. De los Santos sat attentively, hands folded, and addressed Peña across a small round table. Now and then a mischievous look skittered across his face as he coaxed another softspoken revelation from the artist.
Peña is famous for his Southwest-flavored paintings, his printmaking, and his prolific energy. His soft, sunset-hued pastels have deepened and intensified over the years, and his paintings and drawings are just as likely to render the craggy facescape of a Yaqui Indian (Mi Amigo Encarnacion, 1980) as to capture the tender nostalgia of a simple Chicano family meal (Pan Dulce, 1978).
Although Peña, like his art, dodges labelshe alternately calls himself mestizo and European mongrelhe is passionate about the family of man, and about the role of community in every aspect of life and art. Community and its rough-and-tumble sidekick History are, he told de los Santos, at the core of what he is, as artist, teacher, and man.
The conversation sallied easily and candidly between these two very different menPeña the very picture of the Southwest artist in his silver-banded hat and earth-toned boots, de los Santos looking properly academic in his brown suit, like the "fuddy-duddy English teacher" he had called himself earlier. The talk was warm, relaxed, and infectious to an audience primed for a practiced speech.
De los Santos, research professor at Arizona State University, Main, and Senior Fellow of the League for Innovation, remembered teaching the young Peña English at Laredo Community College, then known as Laredo Junior College (TX).
"He took a one-credit course under me," de los Santos quipped, "and you can see the great impact I had on him."
Peña reminisced about those undergraduate times, too, calling the college "a school so small you could look at all the buildings at one time." But the smallness and the proximity of the school to his home encouraged the young student.
"Going away to college was going a mile and a half. You had contact with the professors. It was kind of a family atmosphere."
Eventually, things changed. Peña transferred to Texas A&M in Kingsville, a big step for a smalltown fellow. "One hundred and eighty miles was for me like an eternity away." Yet the adjustment, the lack of close friends and nearby family, "made me focus on my studies. I wasn't a great student as an undergraduate, but I totally made up for it."
Indeed. Peña earned both a bachelor's degree in Art and a master's in Art and Education there. He also began teaching art, commuting from Kingsville back to Laredo, where as a graduate assistant he taught college courses at Martin High School. He quickly gained a reputation for two things: getting to know his students, and teaching them "more than Art 101."
In the ensuing years, Peña was either an instructor or Artist in Residence at a parade of high schools and colleges from Austin, Texas to Idyllwild, California. He even taught art at his old school, Laredo Community College. All the while he and his many students and admirers saw his career as a professional artist blossom like a desert sunrise.
"And you keep going back," de los Santos pointed out, reminding his former student and longtime friend of his parallel lives in art and education. Peña nodded and opened his broad hands. "Yes, I keep going back." He laughed. "I blame my lack of teaching experience for the way I teach art." And, he told de los Santos, the switchbacking on the high trails of art and education paid off in both directions.
"Teaching helped me to be a professional artist," he explained. "For many years, my students would say, 'I want to go into art, but what can I do?' And I didn't have an answer; I could only guide them so far. That drove me nuts. So in order to have a complete experience, I had to become successful at doing what I do. I left teaching to become an artist."
As his art career took off, Peña continued his return to teaching. "I had to ask myself, Can I go back and share what I've learned as a professional?" The answer lies in the roster of teaching stints on his résumé, a list covering the 70s, the 80s, the 90s. Peña the perennial student turns out to be Peña the tirelessly inspired teacher, too.
These days, Peña maintains a gallery and studio in Santa Fe, and he travels constantly to museums, art shows and galleries to show and sell his work, and to win awards and accolades. Some of his works are included in the permanent collection at the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.
"You have to find a balance," he told de los Santos. "It's not just ability. You have to understand what creativity is, and being creative encompasses so many things. Being human is the beginning, understanding the world around us. People think that to be an artist, you have to be isolated. But the truth is, you don't. You have to drop the line between teacher and student.
"The reason I am where I am is because of my students," Peña continued. "I made art in my spare time, but they made me think about taking that step, becoming a professional artist."
De los Santos broke in with an anecdote about Peña's free-spirited and often spontaneous generosity. He told of how the artist had donated a painting for a community college poster, more paintings for the covers of a pair of League publications, a number of additional artworks for causes far overshadowed by the artist's stature.
"You're generous to a fault," de los Santos observed. "To what do you attribute that?"
Peña threw back his head and laughed. "I had a good father, a good mother," he said. "I come from good stock." He described an arc with his hands. Education, he said, "has definitely been a big part of it, a major part of my life."
Tugging a bespangled ear, he smiled shyly into the dimmed auditorium. "I am just so grateful for where I am, and grateful to all the people who played a role. I haven't done this by myself.
"I just think that in order to really understand where we're going, we need to understand where we're coming from," he said to the rapt crowd of education professionals who had, after all, come to hear a speech and ended up sitting in on a quietly moving conversation between two of life's eager students.
He will keep returning, Peña assured the audience, to his art and his teaching. And he'll keep his faith in those old amigos, Community and History.
"If we haven't looked back enough, then we'd better start," he said. "That's the heart and soul of what I do."
Peña shrugged his broad shoulders held his palms skyward. "It all comes back."
2002 conversation between Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr and Amado M.
Peña can be viewed in its entirety at www.league.org/inn2002/horizon.html.
Peña's cover paintings for the League's books on the Digital
Divide are available as prints from the League Store; their purchase
contributes to the Peña Student Art Scholarship Endowment.)
The League's Digital Public Library is a valuable resource that allows your institution access to electronic versions of League content including books, monographs, and resports. "Community college educators will now have immediate online access to all of the League's publications," explains Cynthia Wilson, Vice President, Publications & Research for the League.
"We're very excited about this project," adds Mark David Milliron, League President and CEO. "The feedback from the schools we've spoken with has been overwhelmingly positive. We've heard great things from the colleges that are already subscribing."
This program is continually
expanding. Look for new publications within the next 30 days. The growing
numbers of subscribing institutions are enjoying the benefits of unlimited
access to vital League resources. This professional development tool provides
your institution with an asset that saves money year after year. For more
information, visit the Digital Publications Library or contact David
Spain or call 919/678-9900 x114.
The League for Innovation in the Community College is pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new function to provide affordable world-class service, support, and solutions to everyday problems encountered by community college educators. Led by in-house staff and the League's vast network of experienced educators, the Service Division provides high-quality, low-cost training, consulting, and speakers to community colleges as an alternative to high-cost, for-profit suppliers.
The newly created Service Division will provide high-quality services in key areas linked to the League's very successful major initiatives:
The League's Service Division can provide expert training, consulting, and guest speakers for a wide variety of topics related to its initiatives including, but not limited to, accreditation, business partnerships, assessment, developmental education, distance learning, diversity, faculty/staff development, fundraising, leadership, workforce development, articulation agreements, program review, board development, change management, curriculum design and development, customer service, facilities planning, institutional effectiveness, student retention, and team building.
The benefits to community colleges for using the League's Service Division are manifold:
As the baby boom bulges its way through the time python, issues of leadership turnover loom ever larger for community colleges. One alarm bell was sounded by a 1999 National Center for Educational Statistics study that reported 52 percent of full-time faculty age 55 to 64 plan to retire in the next two years. Add that to the swelling competition from corporate and private sectors, and it's easy to see why a murmur of leadership crisis has risen among community college professionals.
We asked several leaders in higher education whether there is a real leadership crisis facing community colleges, and what kind of succession-planning steps might help to sustain stability and vitality in the coming years.
Terry J. Moran, Vice President, Kirkwood Community College (IA)
If I were to go back to the 70s, when community colleges were being built at a rate of about one per week, I could show you that the same kind of concerns existed then. Some people say there's good reason to worry about a crisis, because of the numbers, but I don't have the same concern. I can argue that the demands (of leadership) appear to be more difficult now than ever. People are trying to come over to leadership positions faster than they used to. Programs at the University of Texas and other places are training large numbers of people for leadership. Any evidence that our pools are shrinking is offset by these other factors. I worry more about science and technology. In those areas, we're getting only one or two applicants. We have a lot more applicants for president.
Ron Baker, Associate Executive Director, Commission on Colleges and Universities, Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities
I wouldn't say it's a crisis, but it is a challenge, because the retirement issue has some significant implicationsand because of competition from all the other sectors. Lots of people apply for leadership positions, but not as many candidates really fit the institution and vice versa. We have a smaller set of options, or candidates, to select from. Not that the leadership is the end-all and be-all in higher education, but there's an awful lot riding on it. And leadership is falling on more shoulders now. You need presidents, but you also need services, faculty, all those things. Both institutions and candidates have become skilled at knowing what the other one wants to hear and see. If you're not careful, you each end up just blowing in the other's ear. And peopleboth institutions and candidatesmay not even know or realize that what they're saying is not authentic. We have to ask, How good is this match? Can we really take this risk? Rather than taking a conservative approach, both sides should expose as much of themselves as possible.
Donna Schober, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Co-Chair of the Faculty Recruitment Commission, Maricopa Community College District (AZ)
Our succession plan is known as the Faculty In Progress program. The Commission was charged with finding ways of recruiting faculty as a result of increasing retirement. We wanted greater diversity in the pools of applicants, and we wanted to grow our own. We sought applications from our own folks at Maricopa, and we got a large number of adjunct faculty, professional staff, technicians and so on. These are interns, and we call them FIPers. To be eligible, they have to have a desire to become full-time faculty members; they also have to have a desire to be mentored by faculty at a participating college, as well as the district office. And they have to establish and adhere to a learning plan. These 11 interns attend workshopshow to write a good resume, how to do a microteach. These workshops really help the interns to become competitive in applying for full-time faculty jobs. There's no guarantee of a job with Maricopa, but we will try to make them as competitive as possible.
Mary Kay Kickels, Vice President, Moraine Valley Community College (IL)
I'm hesitant to say that
we have a crisis just because a lot of CEOs are retiring. In general,
at least in the 43 institutions in the Chicago suburbs, we have a number
of presidents who have servedfortunatelyfor a number of years.
And they have quietly kept the approach of seeing to it that the institution
is solid for the future. The only plan, I think, is just being sure that
when the CEO retires, not everyone is going out at the same time. But
there are a number of informal ways to plan. Some institutions have more
effectively appointed a succession team. CEOs and Boards of Trustees are
sure in saying that when there's a succession, it's strong enough; it's
a solid team. I don't believe we're facing a crisis situation, because
community colleges are a very strong movement in higher education. Right
now, people covet growing and moving into the leadership positions at
Discover this leading online resource and catalog of successful innovations focused on the improvement of learning, leadership, student services, technology, and workforce development in two-year colleges across the country. LeagueTLC offers anytime, anyplace access and three-click points of contact to contributors, outcomes, and supporting links for program development, data-driven research, funding ideas, and collaborative connections.
Some of the newer functions and updates include the LeagueTLC Forum, allowing you to post comments, ask questions, and engage in online discussions with contributors featured in the monthly Innovation Express articles. LeagueTLC also offers focused, one-stop search functions allowing quick reference and content access to the League's Database of Innovations, Website Highlights, and TLC Forum Discussions. For more information about LeagueTLC, visit the website or contact Stella Perez.
The May edition of LeagueTLC highlights the Success and Revitalization of Kingsborough Community College Women's Resource Center.
Also, visit TLC
Learning Links for weekly updates and resources. May Focus: Learning
and Student Support Services.
The conference title is "Contested Terrain: Electronic Student ServicesVision, Governance, and Customer Needs in Higher Education." The presenters will be Internet-technology, administrative, and instructional professionals who will discuss strategies and policies for e-services in higher education.
Sound like something you can't afford to miss?
Converge, which helps bring the e-Services in Higher Education Conference to Chicago June 17-18, doesn't want you to miss the event, either. And League for Innovation Alliance members get a special break on registration fees.
The conference takes place in the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Areas of discussion at the conference will include a focus on Web services, instructional services as a business operation, and "helping to link horizontally across school functions."
Registration for the conference is $175 before June 10 ($99 for League Alliance members); $250 if you register after June 10 ($125 for Alliance members).
On the heels of the League office move to Phoenix, the 2002 Executive Leadership Institute has followed suit and will be held in Tempe in December. Application material is available online at www.league.org/league/conferences/eli/eli_main.htm.
This year's program features a diverse faculty made up of some of the top CEOs, professors, thought leaders, and search consultants from the community college movement. It's a dynamic program tackling significant issues of the day and offering practical strategies for leading colleges in times of great change.
Apply today and join a
network of ELI Alumni who are leading colleges nationally and internationally!
Winners of the 2001-2002 Student Art Competition, hosted by Sinclair Community College and coordinated by Sally Struthers, were recently announced. First Place Best of Show Award was presented to Paul McClelland, Miami-Dade Community College District, for a sculpture titled Tension. The Juror's Purchase Award was presented to Cam Campman, Lane Community College, for the plexiglass Book of Self. The Juror's Purchase Award Honorable Mention was presented to Jenn Daly, St. Louis Community College District, for a black and white photograph, Arboretum.
Pamela Gilliland, Cuyahoga Community College, won Second Place for an oil on canvas titled Fabric Landscape, and Third Place awards were presented to Terese Jaeger, St. Louis Community College District, for her oil on canvas, Behind Me; Mike Hensel, Delta College, for digital art labled Persistent Apprehension; and Cam Campman, Lane Community College, for Book of Self.
Honorable Mentions went to the following 10 student artists.
The competition included nearly 100 works of art from League colleges. The was David Black, professor emeritus from Ohio State University whose flyover sculpture is located on Main Street in Dayton. He also is the artist responsible for large outdoor sculptures at Wright State and Ohio State Universities.
The 2002-2003 competition
will be hosted by Moraine
Valley Community College and coordinated by Sue Linn.
The League For Innovation proudly presented 2001-2002 Student Literary awards in categories for poetry, short story, one-act play, and personal essay. The envelopes, please
The Presidents' Roundtable, an affiliate organization of the National Council on Black American Affairs, is a national network of African-American community college presidents. The Roundtable sponsors the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership, a mentoring program focusing on preparing senior-level African-American leaders for CEO positions.
As defined by the Roundtable, CEO positions include chancellor, campus/college presidents, executive deans, and Provosts. Twenty-five percent of the 109 African-Americans currently in CEO positions are graduates of the Lakin Institute. The Institute is named after the late Dr. Thomas Lakin, former chancellor of the Ventura Community College District and former president of Los Angeles Southwest College.
The Lakin Institute is held during the fall of each year and attracts African-American senior-level administrators who have indicated that the next position they would seek would be a presidency. Chancellors, Presidents and Board Members identify and nominate potential participants nationally.
The application process is competitive. The Institute is scheduled for five days, and instructors include current and past African-American CEOs, Association of Community College Trustees and American Association of Community Colleges representatives, and other guest lecturers. A few of the workshops included in the Institute are:
The 2001 Thomas Lakin Institute will be
held October 14-18, 2002 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more information,
contact Jack Daniels.
Colleges participating in the two major funded projects associated with the League's Learning Initiative, the Learning College Project and the 21st Century Learning Outcomes Project, continue the journey toward becoming more learning-centered institutions. Colleges interested in becoming more learning centered may find various online resources useful, particularly the college project websites:
The League for Innovation in the Community College is gearing up for its annual International Conference on Information Technology (CIT). The 2002 CIT will be held November 17-20 in Long Beach, California at the Long Beach Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Long Beach. Hosts for this year's conference are the Los Angeles Community College District and Long Beach City College. The 2002 CIT continues the tradition of demonstrating how information technology can improve all aspects of educationteaching and learning, student services, organizational management, and partnerships. Celebrating 18 years of excellence, this year's technologically sophisticated and topically diverse conference is expected to attract close to 4,000 participants, all eager to share in an exhibition of technology's role in changing the art and business of education. Considered one of the major events in higher education, the 2002 CIT features hands-on computer labs, nearly 1,000 breakout sessions, an exhibition of resources and services from over 100 corporate partners, and an e-mail and Internet lab open to participants 24 hours a day.
Especially exciting this year are the national leaders slated to deliver keynote addresses: Howard Charney, Senior Vice President, Cisco Systems; Brian Hawkins, President, EDUCAUSE; and Zane Tarence, CEO, Reveal Technologies. All Keynote Sessions, Learning Center Courses, Hands-On Labs, and Forums are supported by sophisticated technology, including Internet accessibility, video-data projection, multiplatform computing, and multimedia presentation software. In addition, over 100 corporations that work with the League to make a meaningful difference in the way educators serve students will exhibit at this year's conference and will provide much of the conference's state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Perhaps the most powerful learning opportunity for participants at the conference is Hands-On Alley, where League Corporate Partners program computer labs that give participants practical experience with new and popular hardware and software. Hands-On Alley offers self-directed lessons with some of the best technology available for instruction, student support, and administration.
The conference's Learning Center provides courses led by recognized leaders in current topics dealing with the use of information technology in higher education. These courses are offered in extended three-hour and full-day formats and augment the conference by providing in-depth exposure to specific topics and linking conference attendees with a community of learners who share common interests.
I-NETwerks newest product revolutionizes the ability for educators to easily capture and present lectures. EduCast release 1.5 allows educators to easily and inexpensively capture lectures and presentations and make them available on demand over the web.
Using EduCast, an educator simply speaks into a microphone while presenting a PowerPoint presentation. Upon completion of the lecture the fully integrated presentation is created, uploaded and available for immediate on-demand playback. The player interface seen by the end-user is an eloquent integrated screen defined by a template that may be customized with each school's name, logo, and colors. In addition to the slides, thumbnails, content indexing, and audio, there are places for a jpeg picture of the presenter, as well as textual course description information and notes.
For more information, and
to download a fully functional trial version, click
The League for Innovation in the Community College and Distinguished Partner Microsoft Corporation are pleased to announce the selection of Brian Carmenatty, Miami-Dade Community College District (FL), and Beau Crawford, Seattle Community College District (WA), as the 2002 Terry O'Banion Student Technology Champions. Microsoft sponsors the awards in honor of Terry O'Banion, Senior League Fellow and President Emeritus of the League.
The students selected for this year's awards demonstrated a special talent and interest in a career in technology and a need for financial assistance in meeting their career goals.
"Brian's outstanding leadership in organizing the new Computer Club and volunteering for campus and community activities make him an outstanding candidate for this annual award," said Microsoft's Diana Carew, Manager, Workforce Development and Community College Relations. "Beau's outstanding commitment to tutoring and generous spirit in helping others learn, combined with overcoming adversity, his personal achievement, and passion for technology are inspirational. Both students have skills that are desperately needed in the workforce today, and it is our hope that the $5,000 honorarium will help both of them continue their studies."
The two winning students are designated Student Technology Champion (Carmenatty) and Student Developer Champion (Crawford). The winning students each receive $5,000 plus a variety of software products from Microsoft. The winning letters of nomination were read during the League's recent Innovations 2002 conference in Boston, and Microsoft will produce a video of this year's winners to show at the 2002 Conference on Information Technology, November 17-20 in Long Beach, California. Announcements of the winning scholars will be made on Microsoft's website and on the League's website.
For additional information
about the Terry O'Banion Student Services Awards, contact Edward Leach
at (480) 705-8200, x233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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