NCTC Faculty participate in virtual leaders conference

Jane England | Oct 29, 2020

On October 8-10, 2020, NCTC Faculty members Pat Ledbetter, Jane England, Cammy Boaz, Anne Coltman, Jared Ince and Amber Sultanov attended the 40th Texas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA) Leaders Conference. The Conference was held online for the first time but nonetheless the program was packed with stimulating presentations and opportunities for attendees to interact with colleagues from across the state.

Two of the NCTC attendees serve as Campus Representatives and members of TCCTA State Committees: Pat Ledbetter, Campus Representative for Gainesville, Bowie and Graham, is a member of the Legislative Committee and Jane England, Campus Representative for Corinth, Flower Mound and Denton, is a member of the Professional Development Committee.  Professors Ledbetter and England attended online committee meetings prior to the start of the event.

The other four NCTC participants, Professors Boaz, Coltman, Ince and Sultanov, were recently selected as the 2020-2021 TCCTA Faculty Fellows. The Fellowship program provides specialized professional development opportunities for new faculty members who have been teaching at their respective institutions for five years or less.  Before the conference, the Fellows were enrolled in the TCCTA Master Teacher Meet-Up groups so that they could get to know Faculty Fellows from other colleges.

The conference opened on Thursday, October 8 with a special Faculty Fellows only program.  Jared Ince appreciated the introductory sessions, commenting “I thought Missi Patterson’s discussion – especially her emphasis on the importance of transparent communication – was interesting.  The small-group breakout sessions on that day were also beneficial as I was able to learn about new online teaching tools from some of the other instructors.”

The conference officially opened on Friday with a “Legislative Update” by TCCTA Lobbyist Beaman Floyd and TCCTA Director Richard Moore. Jared Ince remarked “I particularly enjoyed Beaman Floyd’s legislative update.  It was interesting to see exactly how the inner workings of the state legislature impact our jobs and our ability to do them, especially in the current political, social, and economic environment.”  The second session was an “Update from the THECB” featuring Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Workforce Education, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

For lunch, attendees had the opportunity to participate in Networking Luncheon break-out sessions where they discussed current higher education issues and shared best practices with colleagues. Cammy Boaz commented, “A highlight for me personally was the lunch breakout.  Our group did not necessarily focus on one particular thing but shared experiences about testing procedures, student struggles and successes during this COVID period, and the importance of self-care both for students and faculty.  I even incorporated some YouTube self-care idea into my course's attendance check-in and the dialogue with students has exponentially increased.”

The afternoon program featured a discussion of “Racial Justice on Campus” by Ricky Jones, Graduate Director & Chair of Political Science, University of Louisville. Professor Boaz found that “it was easy to be drawn in and emotionally stirred with the presentation on Racial Justice on Campus with Ricky Jones.  He delivered some powerful truths with such authority.”

Friday’s last presentation was a panel examination of the responses of three colleges to the pandemic. The “Covid-19 Update on Campus” presenters were Joan Becker, Dean of Nursing Program, El Centro College; Phillip Parrish, Success Coach Coordinator, Texarkana College; and Amy Tan, Dean of English and Communications, Houston Community College.

The Saturday, October 10th, program began withMaintaining Compliance with SACSCOC Standards in the Face of the Covid-19 Pandemic” by Linda Thomas Glover, Vice-President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. The conference concluded with a presentation on “Legal Issues: What to Expect and Your Rights” by Attorney Michael Kim, founder of MKim Legal. Mr. Kim discussed recent Supreme Court cases that relate to higher education with special emphasis on academic freedom and professional liability.

Amber Sultanov was energized by the conference. She noted, “I participated in all three days of the conference. I enjoyed learning more about how to get involved in the community college and what it takes to be a faculty leader. The most riveting part of the conference was the presentation featuring Dr. Jones who discussed Racial Justice on Campus. I was inspired by his call to make sure that all of our students are engaged in a multi-cultural approach, we learn the most from people who are unlike us. Our leadership has to represent our diversity. The conference touched on the issues that are at stake this school year.”

In planning the conference TCCTA made every effort to provide participants with resources and follow-up opportunities. Attendees have access to recordings of each of the sessions,  links to all mentioned resources , and  PDFs of Michael Kim's and Dr. Linda Thomas Glover’s presentations. Additionally unanswered questions from “Update from the THECB”  were forwarded to Ray Martinez and his responses will be made available.  

Clearly the 2020 TCCTA Leaders Conference was a success! TCCTA did an outstanding job meeting the challenges resulting from the pandemic and creating a virtual venue where attendees could interact with peers, participate in meaningful discourse and gain insight into current trends and problems facing community college educators.