Joshua Foster, an admissions specialist at Clark State Community College, talks to the Watson family about Kage Watson, a high school senior, attending Clark State next year. Bill Lackey/Staff

Clark State recognized nationally as leading community college

Clark State Community College and one of its administrators have both been recognized nationally as leaders in programming and community colleges.

The school was named a top 10 finalist for the Community College Futures Assembly Bellwether Award. The award recognizes outstanding programs and practices that are positioning community colleges in the future.

“Clark State’s workforce programs are top notch, and this recognition confirms the innovative work we are doing in manufacturing,” Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin said in a statement. “Our faculty and staff have been responsive to workforce needs in manufacturing, and being a finalist for the Bellwether Award is a testament to their hard work.”

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More than 200 applications were submitted for consideration. Winners of the award will be announced in January.

Also recognized was Clark State’s Vice President of Student Affairs Theresa Felder. She has been accepted into the Executive Leadership Institute and recently took a trip to Arizona for its convention.

“What they do on an annual bias is they bring in current leaders from community college across the county who aspire to be college presidents in the future,” Felder said of the meeting. “Typically, those are vice presidents, provost and people that are in leadership positions who are a step or two away from becoming a president.”

Felder wrote an essay and had to file an application to get accepted into the program. She also had some of Clark State’s leaders, including Blondin, write a letter of recommendation for her. She said the convention helped her understand better what community colleges are doing nationally and to understand what might the future of schooling look like.

Felder said she hopes to one day become a president of a community college, but said right now she is preparing and the convention she attended will help her continue to develop relationships in the Springfield.

READ MORE: Clark State cyber-security program gets national recognition

“We talked about working in and meeting the needs in the community,” Felder said. “From a work force development standpoint and how the community college can best address the need for business leaders and help bridge the gap between the work force and the business that need an educated and trained work force.”

She said being accepted into the program was an honor.

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity that Clark State afforded me to attend this and in particular, I am appreciative of Dr. Blondin,” Felder said. “She is a mentor and she is working toward preparing me for my next move in my career.”

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