Published: Nov 14 2016 12:00AM
Alice Boatman has been a Montgomery College employee for 18 years. Currently a counseling faculty member, she has been involved in governance for three years. Boatman first served on the Staff Council, then as a staff representative on the Academic Services Council and is currently vice chair of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Council.
MC Governance (MC): What motivated you to serve in governance?
Alice Boatman (AB): I believe that to be successful in any role at the College, one must be involved in the College as a whole. I want to be a part of the community. I want to know what is working and not working so that I can help be part of the solution and have pride in the things that work.
MC: What is it like to be a council member? What do you actually do?
AB: It is like being part of a committee working on a big project, the project being to create the best MC possible. We meet monthly and talk about initiatives and special events around the College. We hear and try to find a way to help resolve challenges that arise around the campus. The council hosts and supports events that improve community involvement as a whole.
MC: What would you consider a few of the most important accomplishments of governance?
AB: I think the biggest accomplishment of governance is bringing together representatives from different areas of the College. Even though different councils have specific areas they focus on, the broad representation on each council allows all areas to have a voice as we progress.
Another big accomplishment is fostering buy-in for the vision and growth of the College. By utilizing a participatory governance approach, constituents feel they have a voice, not just because there is an outlet for submitting concerns, but also because they have a vote in who represents them on the councils.
MC: Do you think governance makes an impact on the College? If so, how?
AB: I believe that governance does make an impact on the College. Governance brings together people across the College who may not have interacted before. This may seem redundant, but I think the true impact is the sense of belonging and commitment governance fosters. During my career at MC, I have held three positions, all at different College locations. This has allowed me to network with and get to know many people in the MC family. I feel governance gives this same opportunity for people who work in only one location. This exposure spills over into our work and studies at the College. Engagement is important for true success.
MC: What are some ways that governance in general and/or your council specifically can have an impact on student success?
AB: Supporting and encouraging student success is one of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Council goals this year. We will be participating in student events to show our support. We are working with the student representatives on our council to really focus in on the issues that are important to them. We will be working closely with the Student Senate and the Office of Student Life to make sure we remain aware and are active in supporting our students. We have representation on the Achieving the Dream (ATD) core team as well. This is a big initiative to improve student success. We will liaison with the efforts of ATD as the academic year progresses.
MC: What advice would you give to someone considering whether to serve?
AB: Attend council meetings before deciding if you are going to serve on a council. Be sure that you have the time to commit to more than just monthly meetings
MC: Are there ways for people who aren't formally on a council to participate?
AB: Absolutely! I encourage everyone to attend council meetings. Knowing what councils are focusing on in their annual plans helps constituents know where they may be able to participate. Sometimes workgroups are needed in which people outside of the council have valuable information to add for the topic being addressed. When councils host events, they need volunteers. No one knows everything, but together we always find the answer.
This article is one in a continuing series. To read about the experiences of other governance members, please visit the governance website: http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/mcgovernance