Through the University Affiliates Program, designed by the offices of Affirmative Action and AHANA Student Programs, and the Irish Institute, participating employees will serve internships, attend monthly professional development events and be mentored by BC senior administrators.
This experience, say the program administrators, will enrich professional skills of African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American employees and improve their credentials for future administrative positions.
University Affiliates administrators include, from left: Irish Institute Program Manager Aideen Mullen, AHANA Student Programs Director Donald Brown, Affirmative Action Director Barbara Marshall and Irish Institute Director Sean Rowland.
The first 10 affiliates will be announced later this month. Following an orientation period in November, they will be placed in vice-presidential divisions, schools or departments. The program will formally begin in December and last until May.
During this time, participants - who will continue working in their present jobs - will complement their internships with a series of active-learning techniques. These seminars, lectures, site visits, discussions and other activities will cover themes relevant to higher education administration, including communications strategies, academic and student affairs, and financial management.
Administrators describe the Affiliates Program as the culmination of numerous discussions over many years on strengthening diversity at Boston College.
"We've made considerable progress in hiring AHANA employees, but not as much as we would like in higher administrative levels," said Vice President for Human Resources Leo V. Sullivan. "To be a candidate for such positions, it's vital to be exposed to the decision-making and strategic planning that typifies higher education management. The Affiliates Program will accomplish this."
"It is a uniquely BC program," said Affirmative Action Director Barbara Marshall. "We looked at others with a similar focus, and incorporated some of the best elements. But no institution has a program that is as comprehensive, that places such an emphasis on mentoring, as this one."
"The potential of the Affiliates Program is enormously exciting," said AHANA Student Programs Director Donald Brown. "We see this initiative as a way to increase the extent to which an historically underrepresented group of professionals can pursue opportunities for administrative leadership at Boston College."
A critical factor in the development of the Affiliates Program, administrators say, is the Irish Institute's ability to develop and direct multifaceted programs in management and leadership for professional groups.
"The institute has many years of experience in delivering cross-campus programs, drawing upon the expertise of various departments and resources throughout the University," said Irish Institute Director Sean Rowland. "Like our other offerings, the Affiliates Program will combine academic excellence and practical experience."
Guidelines for eligibility include, but are not limited to, a bachelor's degree, three years of professional or equivalent work experience, and the departmental support for the candidate's participation. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose elaborating on their career objectives, and a letter of recommendation from the vice president of their division.
"This is a pilot project and we expect to learn a lot from this year," said Marshall. "But we feel confident that the Affiliates Program reflects the best of Boston College: a collaboration across different offices and departments, and the involvement of an enlightened leadership in creating opportunities for persons of color to advance to the administrative level."
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