Dean of the New Bedford Campus at Bristol Community College
Jim is one of our new alumni and when asked to describe his leadership in one word, Jim said, “Relevant.” He explains further: “Too often, as colleges, we tell people what we do and what we can provide, rather than asking them, “What do you need? How can I help meet that need?” And more importantly, “How can I be a partner with you – how can I be involved with you – or – what do I need to do or be – to be relevant to you and with you . . . in the community?”
What do you do professionally?
I am the Dean of the New Bedford Campus for Bristol Community College where I oversee the downtown campus and about 2,000 students.
How are you involved in the community and what motivates you to engage?
Upon coming to New Bedford and taking this position, one of my commitments was to be involved with the community and represent the college in multiple ways that brought value to the community, the students, and the college.
I serve on the board for Downtown New Bedford Inc., the New Bedford Educational Foundation, and the New Bedford Festival Theater. I am also involved in activities with the YMCA and the New Bedford Chamber of Commerce and I work with various community projects like Narcotic Anonymous, Homeless population, Economic Revitalization Working Group through United Way and other downtown events. I am also involved with Keith Middle School, the Whaling City High School and New Bedford High School developing innovative programs.
What did you find most valuable about the LSC experience and how did it contribute to your community leadership?
Being new to the community, Leadership SouthCoast gave me a good opportunity to understand what is happening around me. The visits to all the different places were great. In addition it introduced many community members, some I knew, but many was meeting face-to-face for the first time.
As far as the materials, the Positive Leadership portion, I will remember most and use in my current position both now and in the future. I also in enjoyed the Strengths Finder. It was nice to confirm some things I knew about myself, but also to learn or see things I missed or didn’t realize. The program as a whole was outstanding!
Describe your leadership in one word.
“Relevant.” What we do must be relevant to our community. Too often, as colleges, we tell people what we do and what we can provide, rather than asking them, “What do you need? How can I help meet that need?” And more importantly, “How can I be a partner with you – how can I be involved with you – or – what do I need to do or be – to be relevant to you and with you . . . in the community? Colleges have to get out of the business of telling and back into the business of teaching. And the key to good teaching is good listening. And as a result of good listening, a person can become “relevant.”