Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson now holds one of only 25 seats on the Chair Academy’s International Advisory Board, a group focused on bringing professional development programs to colleges and universities around the globe.
Wilkerson was named to the prestigious board earlier this spring and said his seat on the board is a chance to continue to evolve professionally and encourage others to do the same.
“I value and appreciate the training I received through the Chair Academy, and I look forward to serving the organization as an advisor,” said Wilkerson. “The Chair Academy is about leadership, period. It’s about always continuing to learn about leadership and to embrace who you are, because if you accept who you are, then other people will accept it too.”
The Chair Academy for Leadership and Development, a department of the Mesa Community College and Maricopa County Community College District, offers world-class, competency-based leadership development programs for college and university leaders.
The organization’s International Advisory Board includes professionals from various community colleges across the country, plus university and college leaders at institutions located in Australia and Canada.
Wilkerson’s nomination came from Chair Academy Facilitator Scott Geddis, president of the consulting firm Inspired Engagement. Geddis has been involved with the Chair Academy for many years, even serving as Wilkerson’s mentor during the two-year Foundation program, from which he graduated from in 2008.
“[Wilkerson is] a graduate of the Chair Academy and he has great respect for what the Academy has done for him professionally. When he went through the Academy, he wasn’t the president, and I’ve heard him say his experience at the Academy made him ready for the president role,” said Geddis. “He understands and appreciates the value, and he continues to be reliable and timely. He has the experience and perspective.”
As a member of the International Advisory Board, Wilkerson said he’s focused on his own continued development in leadership, plus bringing some of the techniques used in the Chair Academy to students, faculty, and staff.
“In the future, I want to look at how to promote leadership in higher education, specifically in our curriculum and course offerings, and hosting a Chair Academy in Illinois,” said Wilkerson.
Part of his plans to promote leadership on RLC’s campus includes the integration of CliftonStrengths for Students – a question and answer assessment designed to help students discover their unique strengths and natural talents. RLC faculty and staff recently participated in the CliftonStrengths assessment to promote positivity and leadership on campus.
Wilkerson said the plan is to roll out the first CliftonStrengths for Students assessment in the Fall 2018 First Year Experience course, an orientation-like class required by all incoming freshmen. In addition to completing the assessment, students will then have activities and discussions about how to apply their results for their own success.
“Strengths-based student engagement is part of my drive behind this. We’re really good at testing students to find out what they’re good and bad at, but they’ve known that for 18 years. This is a different way of teaching. By telling them what they’re good at and how to use those strengths, it’s a way to change the conversation,” said Wilkerson.
In addition to his plans locally, Wilkerson will also participate at the Chair Academy’s 28th Annual International Leadership Conference in Atlanta next spring. He recently returned from the 27th annual event hosted in Denver.
In addition to Wilkerson, three other RLC administrators have also graduated from the two-year Chair Academy Foundation program: Henry Leeck, Dean of Liberal Arts; Lori Ragland, Vice President of Instruction; and Kim Wilkerson, Dean of Allied Health.
To learn more about the Chair Academy, visit www.chairacademy.com.