Editor’s Note: This blog was written and submitted by Vision 2020 Virginia Delegate Dr. Linnie S. Carter.
I reached out to someone whose opinions I value and asked her this question: Why is it important to have African-American female community college presidents? Her response was intriguing.
Please meet Wynette Richardson, a 28-year-old community college instructor in North Carolina. She teaches English, composition and literature and plans to apply to a community college leadership doctoral program. Her long-term professional goal is to serve as a community college administrator – and possibly a president.
Here are her thoughts – in her own words:
I believe that it is important to have African-American females as community college presidents because they are able to identify with the students on a level of understanding to reach the students beyond boundaries, and females understand the process of developing.
When working with community college students, you interact with students from all different walks of life, different age groups, different cultures, etc. Therefore being able to lead effectively with such a diverse group, one must be well equipped with leadership skills and abilities. Being a female, especially an African-American female, we have experienced boundaries in life that have shaped us to be able to identify any boundary and grow from that particular boundary.
I strongly believe that an African-American female community college president has the ability to see the vision of the college through because of knowing the importance of breaking through the barriers that the students may deal with. The way that females approach situations, especially African American females, is based on the results they would like to see. Progression is the main focus, therefore, the end results will reflect such.
Development is a process that takes time. It takes a special person to aid in the development of another person. Due to the makeup of an African-American female, they tend to be nurturers by nature, even when they are not trying to be. When helping a person to develop, it is important to pay attention to the whole person not just certain areas. Students that attend a community college are in the stage of still being developed. Therefore, it is important to have an African-American female as a community college president because of her life’s process. She will be able to aid in the development process of the student body.
In closing, I remember the West African symbol, Sankofa, which means return and get it and learning from the past. I believe African-American females represent this symbol in their daily lives, especially as an African-American female community college president, because they are and will continue to reach back into the communities and develop the younger generations to be what they dream of becoming.