Donna Gonzalez Fiedler, associate director of development at Montgomery County Community College, wants to be part of a new generation of Latino leaders who are making a difference in higher education. She was recently named a 2017 Hispanic Leadership Program Fellow by the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC).
A resident of Lansdale, Pa., Gonzalez Fiedler is one of only 22 Fellows selected from community college candidates around the country, and the only one from Pennsylvania. Hosted by the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the prestigious program is designed to develop a pool of highly qualified Latinos whose career interest focuses on assuming increasingly responsible administrative positions, with the ultimate goal of becoming a community college president.
“A demographic shift is occurring in the United States and we are preparing new leaders who can model the way for the growing Hispanic population our community colleges serve,” said NCCHC President Maria Harper-Marinick. “Through this program, Fellows gain the necessary knowledge and skills they need to lead higher education in the future and positively impact the economic and civic success of their respective communities.”
The Leadership Fellows Program includes two residential training seminars. The first was held in June at the University of San Diego. Each Fellow prepares an individualized professional development plan and engages in a mentoring relationship with a Hispanic community college leaders, as well as attending the NCCHC Leadership Symposium in the fall, and carrying out online activities in between sessions.
Gonzalez Fiedler is working with three other Fellows to develop a leadership theory presentation they will deliver at the NCCHC Leadership Symposium in Miami in September. She is also working with her mentor on a professional development plan.
"It was refreshing to see the talent and level of dedication of the Fellows in my cohort," Gonzalez Fiedler said. "Hispanics face many obstacles in their pursuit of higher education, and we need to assure that more Hispanics complete their education and get through the educational pipeline. For those who do make in through, we need to make sure that they have the professional opportunities to become leaders and agents of change."
NCCHC is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, a national organization that has provided leadership to the community college movement for the past half-century. The Council, which was established 30 years ago, works to promote the educational interests and success of the Hispanic community and emphasizes access, equity and excellence for students and staff in community colleges. One of the first ventures was to offer a leadership development program, with support from the Ford Foundation. Of the original 72 Fellows, more than 15 are now community college presidents and many others have moved to positions of increased responsibility and executive level administration. Since the program’s inception, more than 250 community college administrators have participated as Leadership Fellows.