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Tuesday, February 23


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What It is Like to Serve In Governance? An Interview with Professor Ed Riggs and Student Council Chair Christian Gbewordo

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What It is Like to Serve In Governance? An Interview with Professor Ed Riggs and Student Council Chair Christian Gbewordo

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Category: Governance

Published: 2016-02-23 00:00:01.000

Professor Ed Riggs began teaching at Montgomery College 44 years ago. He is currently chair of the media arts and technologies department. Professor Riggs has served as co-chair of the Faculty Council and currently is the chair of the Academic Services Council and vice chair of the College Council.

Christian Gbewordo, originally from Ghana, is a general studies major, a Renaissance Scholar, and on the Dean's List. Christian is the chair of the Student Council.

MC Governance (MC): What motivated you to serve?

Ed Riggs (ER): I have never been an advocate of letting things happen around me, without at least having some input. Being involved in governance provides all MC employees the opportunity to be heard.

Christian Gbewordo (CG): Two things - the opportunity to serve the wonderful MC student community and the opportunity to further develop my understanding and practice of leadership.

(MC): What is it really like to be a council member? What do you actually do?

(ER): Participating on a council is not as time-consuming as some may think. Constituent and campus councils meet twice a month, and functional councils meet once a month. For the most part, members discuss issues relevant to their particular council and quite often vote on recommendations to address those issues. Members also have the opportunity to hear presentations regarding college initiatives and problems. Council members get firsthand information on just about everything that is going on at the College, and often get that information before it is public knowledge.

(CG): Our main objective is to represent student interests in the College's decision-making process. Among other things, we receive concerns from students, discuss them to determine the probable causes and solutions, ask the respective staff or administrator for a briefing and next steps, share the concerns with the College Council and other councils with direct jurisdiction on the matter, and we work collaboratively to get a solution to the issue or get students' voice in the decision.

(MC): What would you consider a few of the most important accomplishments of governance?

(ER): There are many accomplishments. One only needs to access the governance website to get the minutes from every council meeting or peruse an issue of <i>Governance Connections</i>. Many of the accomplishments may be taken for granted, but to those who are affected, they are vitally important. Councils played an important role in the academic restructuring initiative and vetting the change process. The Faculty Council, for example, is involved with virtually every committee, assuring that faculty input is considered. Many committees, including the senior academic advisory group, have a Faculty Council and a Staff Council representative.

(CG): There has been a significant increase in the involvement of students in the decision-making process. Some accomplishments of the Student Council include:<ul><li>Expansion of MC Shuttle hours of operation to 7 a.m.-7 p.m. (from 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m.),</li><li>Collaborated with the Student Senate presidents to review and approve the first-ever collegewide student-centered constitution to govern the Student Senates,</li><li>Worked with the ADA Compliance Office, Disability & Support Services, and Facilities to resolve an accessibility concern brought by a student,</li><li>Supported the College's plan to join the Achieving the Dream network,</li><li>Advocated for future/continued student employment in the restructured bookstore operations,</li> and<li>there are more on the way!</li></ul>(MC): What advice would you give to someone considering whether to serve?

(ER): I firmly believe that all MC employees and interested students should serve on a council at least once during their tenure at the College. If nothing else, consider it an opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. I personally feel that you can either influence policy or be content to let it influence you. If you are interested, have someone nominate you, or you can nominate yourself. Once nominated, don't feel that you have to campaign. Just write a strong statement indicating why you want to serve. An employee should check with his or her supervisor before accepting a nomination. Most find that supervisors are very supportive. Feel free to attend a council meeting to see what it is all about.

(CG): Just do it! It's a rare leadership opportunity to represent the interests of 60,000 students. As students we're the major stakeholders of this reputed institution, and we should take our rightful position to help influence the policies and regulations that support us. It's an indispensable experience for your resume and future.

Nominations are open now:

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