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Waubonsee Named National Finalist for AACC Award of Excellence
Waubonsee Community College is among a select group of finalists in a prestigious new program designed to recognize innovation and promising practices among two-year colleges nationwide. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) established the Awards of Excellence this year and will award them annually.
Winners in each of five categories will be named April 23 in San Francisco during the AACC annual convention, an event that attracts close to 2,000 educators, policymakers, corporate and foundation representatives each year. Waubonsee’s President Dr. Christine J. Sobek was recognized in the Emerging Leadership category, which honors AACC member CEOs who have developed exemplary systems of leadership and professional development and created a campus culture that proactively supports employee career and leadership advancement for all campus personnel. Other categories include Student Success, Exemplary CEO/Board, Advancing Diversity and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership.
Under the leadership of Dr. Sobek, Waubonsee has developed a culture of engagement that proactively supports administrator, faculty and staff professional development. She promotes leadership through the development and expansion of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, administrative in-services, growth of cross-functional teams, expansion of the President’s Cabinet membership and ongoing resources for active participation by administrators, faculty, and staff in local, state, regional, and national associations and conferences. Dr. Sobek regularly mentors new Illinois community college presidents and makes leadership presentations throughout the district. Waubonsee also launched an innovative Leadership Academy for employees in 2011 that fosters leadership development throughout the college community.
Criteria for the Awards of Excellence are designed to reflect best practices in areas that relate to recommendations of the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, a national, blue-ribbon group of education experts that issued its report last spring. In the report, members of the commission described a redesigned community college of tomorrow, one that would “reinvent the student experience” and help “reclaim the American dream.”
“Over an 18-month period, the 21st-Century Commission provided a bold and forward-thinking blueprint for the community college of the future,” said Marie Gnage, chair of the AACC Board of Directors. “With these new awards, AACC intends to elevate community colleges that are in the vanguard of progressive practices. The awardees will receive national visibility, but the spotlight on their exemplary practices will ultimately benefit all community colleges.”
Finalists for the AACC Awards of Excellence were chosen by a specially appointed committee of the association’s board of directors, based on specific criteria. The American Association of Community Colleges is a national organization representing the nation’s more than 1,100 community, junior and technical colleges and their 13.5 million students. Community colleges are the largest sector of higher education, enrolling almost half of all U.S. undergraduates.