Clark State Community College President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin will be a featured author in a book being released this spring. Blondin penned a chapter for “Generation X Presidents Leading Community Colleges” at the request of editor Martha Ellis.
Blondin was tapped by Ellis to contribute to the book because of her successful role as a Generation X president. Ellis was the lead in developing the research project and authored several chapters based on interviews with 19 Generation X presidents. Ellis and Blondin served on a panel together at the League for Innovation in Community Colleges conference on Generation X presidents in 2016.
“Dr. Blondin is an outstanding Generation X president who is, as a colleague of mine said, ‘a rising star on the national level in community college presidents,’” said Ellis, vice president/dean of graduate faculty and professor in the Community College Leadership Program, Roueche Graduate Center and National American University. “We wanted her insights, knowledge and ideas shared with the field.”
Blondin’s chapter, titled: “The Real Work: Gen X Presidents as Mentors for Student Success and Sustainability” encompasses sustaining the vision of and focus on student success into the future through the development of the next generation of leaders.
Blondin said she has given many presentations, but has not written extensively or published on the topic of mentoring until now. “The premise of the chapter is that Generation X presidents and leaders, in particular, must change the focus of their work and their mentoring to ensure that students are at the center of everything we do and every decision we make, including how we coach and develop our next leaders,” Blondin said. “We have to move from a ‘staff-centric’ model of leadership to a ‘student-centric’ model—and ensure student success is our core business.”
Ellis said the book addresses the changing landscape of community colleges. “The authentic voices of new leaders allow the reader to think differently about leadership and provides perspectives on how to succeed in unchartered territory,” she said.
The official launch of the book will be at the American Association of Community Colleges convention this April in New Orleans, but copies may be available in March. It will also be available as an e-book.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) reports more than 900 presidential transitions in the last five years. It also estimated that nearly 50 percent of presidents will retire in the next five years. As community colleges face challenges with the exodus of successful presidents, Generation X leaders are stepping in to fulfill the vacant leadership positions.
The target audience of “Generation X Presidents Leading Community Colleges” includes community college trustees, leaders, faculty and anyone considering a leadership role in community colleges. Eight authors contributed to the book, including six Generation-X presidents and two researchers.