Publications & Products
Volume 7, Issue 3

Sharing Professional Development Valuable for Community Colleges

Community college leaders and staff have a significant asset: collaboration. According to foundation expert Diane Shoger, it's easy to collaborate and create partnerships in the community college world.

For the past three years, Shoger,  executive director of the Monroe Community College Foundation, has reinforced collaboration among community colleges in New York state with the help of the CASE District II Venture Capital Fund.

In 2015, the first year Shoger received assistance from the fund, she and a team of community college leaders used the support to bring a speaker to their annual retreat.

"For seven years, we've had this retreat in Albany, and it's provided an outlet for people who can't go or can't send more than a CEO to conferences," says Shoger. "And we know community colleges (staff) do best by getting together and talking to each other...and knowing that we have strength together."

The next year, Shoger again applied for funds—this time seeking to partner with leaders from two nearby community colleges. Knowing that the institutions had a range of staff with diverse needs, Shoger tailored the professional development day to focus on a joint-training in efficient business cycles for the staff.

"Some of us have some pennies in our pocket, but it becomes a challenge to spend my money on other institutions or to host other people—it gets close to an area where maybe donors wouldn't like us to spend money," she says.

This year, Shoger and partners from nearby community colleges received support  to expand their reach to 13 community colleges in New York—from Utica to Albany—for their professional learning day.

"For $1,500 we are providing an experience for 46 people representing 13 different colleges," says Shoger. "Most community colleges don't have the funds for conferences, so this is really an extension of the work we've been doing with this retreat—helping ourselves by providing our support and learning."

Leaders and professionals at community colleges are especially adept at taking advantage of resources, which helps make the most of small grants or assistance, says Shoger.

"The venture capital grant has been transformative for us. We have resources to execute this idea in a way that really returns this investment tenfold," says Shoger. "It's a pretty modest amount of money, and we're making it work. We've seen firsthand the benefits of this grant and how it can bring us together." 

CASE District II, District V and District VI have Venture Capital Funds available.

This article is from the March 2017 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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