Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

WCE Welcomes Community College Leaders to Campus

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Provost Marilyn Sheerer, Watson College Dean Dempsey and WCE higher education faculty members James DeVita, Kevin McClure, Symphony Oxendine and Denise Henning welcomed representatives from 25 community colleges to campus for a leadership gathering on May 16. The full-day event was designed to launch WCE’s new Community College Leadership Certificate and build a foundation for future collaboration.

The appreciative topic of the day was, “Generating Leadership Capacity to Remain Healthy and Viable through Collaborative Partnerships.”

In introductory remarks, Dean Dempsey expressed enthusiasm for a university-community college partnership focused on leadership development, saying there is a need for aspiring leaders at the community college level to replace a growing number of retirees. Provost Sheerer also expressed excitement for the initiative, saying she hopes the collaboration will eventually lead to the introduction of a doctoral program at UNCW for aspiring community college leaders.

Henning, coordinator of WCE’s Community College Leadership Certificate program, planned the leadership gathering. Over the course of the day, she used an appreciative inquiry approach to lead the group through an ice breaker, a discussion of strengths and opportunities, and a series of workshops designed to discover, dream, design and deliver to a collective vision of what a collaborative partnership could entail.

“I believe we accomplished a lot at this gathering,” Henning said. “Our aspiration is to create authentic partnerships with community colleges in the state of North Carolina that are innovative and dynamic for our collective future. Our certificate program as it develops and grows will benefit from our working together. Our students in the program will require these partnerships to be strong collaborative teams so we can provide experiential and applied learning for professional growth and to bring about a positive future for students, community colleges and UNCW.”

Henning joined WCE’s higher education program as a part-time faculty member in January and began coordination of the program in March. She brings 14 years of community college leadership experience to her new role. Her career spans 23 years working in higher education in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. She has served as president and CEO at two community colleges, as president and vice-chancellor for a university-college in Northern Canada and as Vice-President of Academic and Research at First Nations University of Canada.

Community College Leadership Certificate Program

The Watson College will admit a pilot cohort in fall 2019 for a new Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program in Community College Leadership.

The 12- credit hour program, offered through the Higher Education program in WCE’s Department of Educational Leadership, is designed for community college administrators and faculty members. Courses focus on teaching and learning at community colleges and provide an overview of the mission, functions and diversity among community college leadership. Organizational management, including policy and budgeting, will also be covered.

The program will be offered in a hybrid format that provides flexibility for full-time professionals who may need access to distance education options. 

Interested individuals can visit UNCW’s Graduate School to apply. Applications for the initial cohort will be accepted through July 1.

For more information visit the website or contact Dr. Henning at henningd@uncw or 910-859-4889.