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Leadership Academy: Tools, Resources, and Practices to Strengthen Your Program

Track Room Location: J Building 116

Do you need to improve your relationship with local business and industry leaders, strengthen your curriculum, develop new classroom models to better engage and retain students, communicate more effectively with colleagues, and supplement your programs with innovative grant projects? And do you need to do all of this with little to no budget money, a huge work load, and a small support staff? You’ve come to the right place! Find the answers you and your students need as Working Connections’ “Leadership Academy” helps you develop skills and strategies to take your program to the next level.

Learn more about yourself, meet your peers, and hear best practices. Work in groups, use role-playing and workbook activities, master new strategies. Discover essential resources and tools. This material is not just for IT instructors and administrators. These processes can work across all technical disciplines and beyond.


Lead Coaches


Ann Beheler

Principal Investigator, National Convergence Technology Center
Executive Director of Emerging Technology Grants, Collin College

Ann Beheler has been in the Information Technology industry for over 30 years, and she is now responsible for Emerging Technology grants at Collin College. In that capacity she leads the National Convergence Technology Center, a $4.4 million National Science Foundation grant, and just concluded leading the National Information, Security, and Geospatial Technologies Consortium, an almost $20 million DOL TAACCCT grant.

Ann has corporate experience, has led her own consulting firm, has created and taught in one of the first networking degree programs in Texas, and has previously managed IT-related divisions and grants ranging $1-$20 million in community colleges in Texas and California. Prior to her current position, she was Vice President of Academic Affairs for Porterville College, responsible for all instruction at the college, and prior that she was a Dean at both Orange Coast College in California and at Collin College.

Among other things, Ann is known for effectively bringing together business and industry using a streamlined process to identify with them the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) they predict will be needed by “right-skilled” job candidates in the future. She then works with faculty to align curriculum such that those who complete certificates and degrees in IT have the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will make them readily employable in high-paying IT positions. Ann holds a PhD in Community College Leadership from Walden University, a MS in Computer Science from Florida Institute of Technology, and a BS in Math from Oklahoma State University.

Helen Sullivan

Director, National Convergence Technology Center

Helen Sullivan has been Director of the Convergence Technology Center, the ATE National Center funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, for the past four years at Collin College in Frisco, TX. She was the director on two prior NSF-funded project grants: The North Texas Regional Technology Consortium, Advancing Careers in Technology and Science, and the Regional Convergence Technology Center.

Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics with a concentration in technical writing from the University of Texas at Austin. She has done graduate work in journalism at the University of North Texas and has completed a certificate series in Project Management at Collin. She has taken mediation training fulfilling the statutory requirement for mediator certification in the state of Texas. She received a master's degree from Southern Methodist University with a concentration on communication, media and technology.

She has over 25 years project and program management experience, including as Director of Documentation and Training at Nortel, where her organization provided support for 64 network-based telecom projects. Her previous career in journalism netted awards from the Associated Press, Texas Press Women, Northeast Texas Press Association and four School Bell Awards from the Texas State Teachers Association. She is a conference speaker and facilitator.

Three Objectives
1. Understand strategies to maximize your relationship with business and keep them engaged and active in your program
2. Learn best practices to improve your program by introducing new curriculum formats and leveraging grant opportunities
3. Strengthen your interpersonal communication skills and ability to work with different personality types


During this program, you will learn how to…

Monday – Maximize business relationships to benefit your students. Rather than relying on traditional “back-seat” advisory panels that follow faculty’s lead, put your business leaders in the front seat and get them actively involved. They know best what students need to learn.

  • Energize relationships with local business and industry leaders to make them an asset to your program and your students
  • Structure meetings and discussions with your local business and industry leaders to forecast industry trends, identify job skills, steer curriculum, and ensure your students are well-prepared for the workforce

Tuesday – Strengthen your program curriculum with best practices and new ideas. Get more students in the classroom, make them want to stay there.

  • Attract more students with accelerated classes and stackable certificates
  • Improve curriculum approval process with fast-track strategies
  • Support busy student schedules with 24/7 virtual labs

Wednesday – Challenge yourself to improve your communication skills by understanding how to effectively work with all personality types.

  • Assess different personality and communication styles to improve teamwork and communication with students and colleagues
  • Get a “yes” from your business leaders, administrators, and colleagues to get students the resources they need
  • Practice specific workplace situations where communication can be challenging

Thursday – Boost your program, stretch your program budgets, and support your students by taking advantage of grant opportunities.

  • Learn how to read a grant solicitation
  • Improve your ability to turn a good idea into an organized, persuasive, well-supported grant proposal
  • Understand the grant proposal application process and how to improve your proposal’s chances for approval

Friday – Discuss how the best practices and resources you’ve learned all week work together to create a more robust program.

  • Develop a customized action plan to implement “Leadership Academy” strategies and enhance your program’s success
  • Workshop your action plan with your “Leadership Academy” peers to help find solutions to challenges and avenues of opportunity


Please bring with you to the track:

1. A laptop (your classroom does not have PC workstations)

2. Current list of your active BILT members – names, titles, companies

3. Answer these questions related to their BILT:
Do you validate job skills with your BILT at least once a year? Yes/no
How often does your BILT meet?
Do you meet with your BILT in person, on the phone, or both?
Who controls and develops the meeting agenda?
What’s a typical meeting agenda include? Is it more than just a program update for the BILT?

4. A copy of your program’s degree plan that includes networking

5. Two networking syllabi – one entry-level course, one intermediate level course (both with learning outcomes); and if it’s a class you’re teaching, even better.

6. Answer these questions related to soft skills:
What soft skills are lacking in your students today?
What’s the most challenging part of teaching soft skills?

7. A communication “issue” – a situation or person that’s causing you trouble (we don’t need names)

8. A specific project idea that might be suitable for an ATE grant (new curriculum, new recruitment/retention program, new classroom tool or technique)

Please ALSO…

1. Take the DiSC assessment, which will be sent to you via email from Mindful Games. (For those who did the DiSC last year, you won’t be taking it again – we have your profiles from last summer.)

2. Watch the 54-minute webinar recording below related to working with business leaders:

3. Read the “Getting Business and Industry Involved” handout attached here. leadership_acad_pre-work.pdf

4. Read the following ATE grant-related items for your Thursday session on grant writing:

Please note that content is subject to change or modification based on the unique needs of the track participants in attendance.

track_leadership_academy.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/26 15:59 by admin