Yesterday, I was a motivational speaker for the Winnipeg Technical College Staff Retreat. The event was designed to invigorate college staff before students return to classes this week.
This exciting event kicked off with an inspirational speech by the college president John Bobbette.
I had dinner with John the evening before and he explained to me some of the changes he has implemented in this small community college.
The change has been substantial. In the two years he has been at the helm, John has:
- changed the programming for most of the core program areas
- changed the student record system to a more comprehensive student information system that tracks student progress, class sizes, etc. He uses this data to pull up reports to help him build a case for increase funding for program areas.
- implemented major campus renovations.
- shook up and altered management responsibilities, expectations and roles
- increased the number of students per class from 20 to 30
John's inspirational speech divulged some of the changes he has implemented over the years. An inspirational leader, John spent his first full year asking questions and listening to the college staff. The changes implemented were all a result of the requests of staff, students and the community.
I asked John about some of the hurdles with implementing change. He suggested some of the long term college staff dont want to budge, they resist the new momentum and hope they can either retire, John will leave or the new changes will just fizzle. With these employees, John spends more time coaching and mentoring to get them on board.
Perhaps the hardest part is changing people's expectations for the job. When told about change, some employees ask....Is my performance low? (NO). Are the students unhappy? (NO). Than why change?
After John and I were the motivational speakers for the college staff retreat, we did a tour of the facilities. The campus renovations are close to ready for september 6, the first day of classes. For the first few days the instructors will have to improvise!
If you are ever in Winnipeg, go and see the incredible things going on in this inspiring community college!