The College of the Canyons Leadership Education in Action Program
(LEAP) was presented with the North American Council for Staff, Program
and Organizational Development (NCSPOD) Innovation Award, at the
organization’s annual conference October 24, in Reno Nevada.
The NCSPOD Innovation award recognizes achievement in a program, project or event that demonstrates innovative ideas, adaptations, activities, or approaches that enhance the effectiveness of staff, program, and/or organizational development.
“Innovation is one of our top priorities at College of the Canyons,” Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook said. “It is included in our strategic plan, it is a quality we emphasize in our job descriptions, and we strive to create a campus climate that fosters innovation. So this award is really a tribute to those on our campus who dare to be different and encourage others to do the same.”
During the conference, Dr. Van Hook — the recipient of the 2007 NCSPOD College President/Chancellor award for outstanding leadership in support of professional development programs — provided the keynote address at the NCSPOD Leadership Breakfast, in which she spoke to the importance of providing professional development opportunities for all faculty and staff, and making those services a top priority at every college campus.
In addition, Dr. Van Hook, Diane Stewart, the college’s dean of early childhood education and training programs, and Leslie Carr, the college’s director of professional development, were asked to provide conference attendees with a LEAP themed conference workshop — to both share information about the program and demonstrate the growing and urgent need to promote and support leadership development from within.
“The LEAP workshop provided information that will serve as a road map for any college wanting to develop its own leadership development program, while also encouraging participants to grow their own leaders from their college’s best resources — their own faculty and staff,” said Carr.
LEAP was launched at College of the Canyons in spring 2008 to help foster the development of visionary, pace-setting administrative leaders. Specifically, LEAP provides individuals who want to be leaders, at College of the Canyons or elsewhere, an opportunity to identify and develop the knowledge and skill sets required to lead and shape the Santa Clarita Community College District, and indeed the California Community College System.
Throughout the spring semester, the 45 College of the Canyons faculty, staff and administration members who participated in the program attended a series of workshop sessions and presentations by community college leaders from around the state, visited other community college campuses, and reviewed institutional case studies — before teaming up to develop and complete real-life projects which addressed a current institutional challenge at College of the Canyons.
“The LEAP participants came up with outstanding solutions to these challenges. We moved quickly to implement them on our campus, and the results speak for themselves,” Dr. Van Hook said.
LEAP will again be offered to College of the Canyons staff, faculty and administrators in spring 2009. In addition, participants from the first LEAP class will have the opportunity to further the skills they learned in a LEAP II session that began in October.
The college’s most recent NCSPOD award comes on the heels of last year’s honors, which also included the 2007 NCSPOD Institutional Merit Award, recognizing the college for its excellence in the delivery and impact of professional development programs, and its longtime and continued promotion of such programs on surrounding community college campuses.