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Fellowship Program Aims to Boost Diversity in Higher Education IT

A new fellowship program, sponsored by Bowdoin College in partnership with the NorthEast Regional Computing Program and Educause, is working to increase the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) professionals in senior leadership roles in the field of higher education information technology. The one-year Next Leaders Fellowship will bring together a cohort of diverse candidates for mentorship, coaching, community and professional growth.

Participants will gain "a space to explore how their identities as BIPOC professionals may influence and shape how they navigate their careers," according to the program website. In monthly group experiences, they will engage with topics such as recruiting, team development, leadership, emotional intelligence, organizational behavior, financial planning and design thinking. In smaller groups, they will reflect on the monthly sessions and develop closer relationships with mentors and fellow participants. They will also have access to career and professional development support, including sponsored travel to the 2022 NERCOMP and Educause annual conferences and other events.

In addition, NLF will "host experiences to engage with institutional leaders, human resources professionals, search consulting firms, and other interested parties on how together we can update recruiting practices that too often result in BIPOC candidates not successfully advancing."

NLF will kick off with a series of conversations and exercises held in conjunction with the 2022 NERCOMP annual conference in March. The inaugural cohort is comprised of 12 fellows:

"Many of the early computing pioneers were women, but those numbers drastically declined after personal computers began being marketed almost exclusively for boys. Participation among people of color more broadly, and African Americans specifically, has long lagged the population as a whole," commented Michael Cato, NLF director and senior vice president and chief information officer at Bowdoin College, in a statement. "More diverse teams working in inclusive environments are better at solving complex problems because they have access to a wider array of novel approaches, and they are more willing to consider and pursue them. This is IT's core job."

For more information, visit the Next Leaders Fellowship site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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