Clark State Community College’s Inaugural Class of SOAR – Serving Our Own through Leadership and Retention – will complete the program at the close of this academic year. Clark State launched SOAR under the guidance of Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin last fall.
“This program was developed in order to facilitate mentoring of faculty and staff on campus and assist them in identifying current and future leadership opportunities that would result in personal and professional growth,” said Blondin.
The goal of the SOAR program is to develop and create leaders who are committed to serving Clark State as partners in student success. SOAR is a comprehensive professional development experience for full-time faculty and staff that provides self-assessment, leadership strengths building, mentoring and career development planning, thereby leading to stronger, more prepared leaders who will enhance Clark State’s focus on student success.
Additionally, the program focuses on developing leaders at the individual, team and system levels as well as empowering co-workers of participants to become “implementers of change” at all campus levels.
Selected participants – three faculty members and three staff members - must attend all meetings and events and complete all program requirements. Each will receive a one percent increase in base salary (in addition to any annual salary adjustments) at the successful completion of the program, special recognition at Charter Night and a well- developed career/mentoring plan.
“The program is going better than I could have hoped, due in large part to the commitment and engagement of the SOAR participants,” said Blondin.
The current class of SOAR members include:
- Therese Filicko, associate professor, Arts and Sciences
- Kara Jackson, assistant professor, Registered Nursing
- John Minter, customer service specialist, Financial Aid
- Charmaine Misick, administrative assistant, Business and Applied Technologies
- Dr. Naureen Qasim, associate professor, Anatomy and Physiology
- Nathan Walters, director of client support, Information Technology
In February, the group visited the Ohio State House as part of the program requirements. Blondin said the purpose of attending a Legislative Day was to introduce to SOAR members how legislation and advocacy affects Clark State—and the importance of good government relations.
“The SOAR program has been a wonderful opportunity to learn about the important role that community colleges play in the United States and in Ohio,” said Therese Filicko, associate professor of Arts and Sciences for Clark State. “I have enjoyed learning more about the institutional structure at Clark State and the leadership philosophies of Dr. Blondin's team.”
Filicko accompanied Blondin and members of the Board of Trustees recently to the ACCT Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. “I was pleased to be able to join conversations with our legislators and their staffs about pending legislation before the Congress and its impact on Clark State students,” she said. “I'm looking forward to our meetings in Columbus and the opportunity to learn more about state-level policies that impact Clark State and our students.”
Blondin and the current members of SOAR were featured presenters at the League for Innovation in Community College conference in National Harbor, Michigan, March 18-21.
“I can tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed this program and getting to know the SOAR participants,” said Blondin. “It has been my absolute privilege to lead this program.”