Friday, November 17, 2017
The RP Group
Leading from the Middle


Professional development for community college “middle” leaders working to strengthen their students’ success and the effectiveness of their institution...

I have learned so much about my work, my college, and myself as a leader and educator. I have new tools and strategies, and mostly new understandings of the issues, which will help me impact change. I also have made connections to colleagues across the state, which I know will continue to add to my experiences. - 2014 LFM Participant

I would describe [LFM] as a journey of self-discovery and development... The bottom line is that one develops their leadership skills by DOING rather than by listening to others lecture or read about it .  - LFM 2016 Participant



Leading from the Middle Academy 2018: Applications are Now Open!

Faced with implementing an array of statewide initiatives and now, Guided Pathways, California Community Colleges need leadership development more than ever. Our institutions must have strong, innovative “middle” leaders who can effectively work with executive staff to address the myriad of reforms facing our institutions, to facilitate communication, and to move stakeholders to action. The RP Group is developing this group of critical change makers through our Leading from the Middle (LFM) Academy.

The 2018 LFM Academy Will Focus on:  

  • Developing college capacity to address the complexities of implementing Guided Pathways beginning with key starting points, including:  

    • Building a case for pathways using data and evidence; 

    • Application of planning and design approaches to promote coherent strategies that integrate guided pathways with current institutional initiatives — equity, student success, basic skills, and professional development;

    • Developing a broad support coalition and; 

    • Engaging stakeholders who are skeptical or opposed to Guided Pathways.

If your college leaders are interested in sending a team to the 2018 LFM Academy, please send an Email of Interest to Dr. Robert Gabriner, LFM Director and indicate why LFM would be helpful for your college’s student success programs.

Where and When

The Academy consists of three convenings at the Kellogg West Conference Center in Pomona, California and a year-round support system (coaching, peer support, and online activities) for each college team. The 2018 convening dates are: 

  • Thursday, February 22 through Saturday, February 24

  • Thursday, June 7 through Saturday, June 9

  • Thursday, October 25 through Saturday, October 27

Cost Per Person

$1,000 (reduced from $2,800 due to a generous award from the CCCCO Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI)), which covers tuition, food and lodging for the three face-to-face convenings.

History of LFM

LFM began in January 2013 with 47 faculty leaders, classified staff, chairs, deans, and directors from 13 colleges interested in activating improvements at the local level. We are now in our sixth year and we have serving approximately 300 community college practitioners, including deans, directors, department chairs, faculty coordinators, classified staff and teaching faculty. 

For More Information

To learn more about this initiative or how to participate in the LFM Academy 2018, email LFM Director Dr. Robert Gabriner

To Apply

  • Enrollment is limited to no more than 70 participants.

  • Teams should include a minimum of three participants up to a maximum of five per team, including a faculty member, an administrator, and a researcher.

  • Apply here by November 15, 2017 (new submission deadline). A PDF of the application is available if you would like to review it prior to applying.

Curriculum and Pedagogy

Offered annually by the RP Group, this interactive, sustained professional development program:

  • Uses a project and problem-based learning model

  • Engages college teams comprised of faculty, administrators, and researchers in the implementation of a component of the Student Success Act (e.g. SSSP, Equity)

  • Includes face-to-face sessions, coaching, and online activities designed to both support the leadership development of individual participants and assist college teams in project delivery

  • Curricular topics include:

    • Making the Case/Using Evidence

    • Understanding and Analyzing Institutional Cultures for Successful Leadership 

    • Communicating Successfully

    • Building Teams and Coalitions

    • Engaging Resistance

    • Using Design Tools (concept mapping, prototyping, case studies and logic models)

    • Failing Successfully

    • Taking Risks 



Dr. Robert Gabriner, Professor, Educational Leadership Program, SF State University

Team Members

Rose Asera, Independent Researcher and Evaluator, the RP Group

Vicki Fabbri, Instructor, Communications, Cabrillo College

Ben Gamboa, Senior Research & Planning Analyst, Crafton Hills College

Barbara McNeice-Stallard, Director of Research and Institutional Effectiveness, Mt. San Antonio College

Ben Mudgett, Articulation Officer and Assistant Professor, Palomar College

Debra Polak, Dean of Instruction, Mendocino College

Anniqua Rana, Dean of Athletics, Library, & Learning Resources, Cañada College

Cindy Stephens, Early Childhood Education Department Chair, College of the Canyons

Ireri Valenzuela, Senior Researcher and Professional Learning Facilitator, the RP Group

Kristina Whalen, Dean of Fine, Applied, and Communication Arts, City College of San Francisco

Rebecca Wong, Interim Director, Title III Program, West Valley College

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