Discussing the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Leaderhip Academy



[Dr. Maya Fernandez]: I was nominated for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities' leadership academy because of the potential that I have to serve in an executive position within higher education. 

Leaders here at the College saw my potential and wanted to give me more leadership development training so that I could move into a position later on. 

The leadership program was a year-long training program. 

We met once a month, virtually, with sessions with former presidents and current presidents across the United States. 

They shared their insights on how they became precedents, what it's like to be a president, and just the different issues that a president may face. 

It definitely instilled more confidence in me, in my abilities to move up into a position in higher education, in a leadership role. It also just reminded me of being able to be empathetic with your staff, being able to lead in the community, and being able to remain calm in times of turmoil and stress. 

This experience has made a difference in my professional career by being able to meet like-minded individuals, especially other Hispanic leaders that were former presidents and current presidents. 

And the Fellows that I met, there is a cohort about 20 of us. 

So being able to share our experiences with each other has made a difference. 

And being able to work on a project, a transformative project for Dallas College, in particular, the project we focused on was marketable skills for our students.

So, for our students to be able to get a career with these marketable skills, and for our academics to incorporate those marketable skills into our curriculum. 

The pearls of wisdom that I took away from the HACU leadership program are learning from current and past presidents. 

Their rawness and their storytelling were touching to me; not only that, but instilling the confidence needed to be a leader in higher education. 

Another pearl of wisdom was the transformative project we worked on for Dallas College. 

That was truly a multi-disciplinary team effort because it involved Academics, Workforce and Advancement, and Career and Transfer. 

And being able to work on marketable skills that our students need to get into their careers of their choice is definitely needed for them. 

And the last pearl of wisdom would be being able to give me the competence needed as a minority female leader to lead in this space. 

And for me, to encourage other Hispanic leaders to follow in this program and to apply and participate so that they can learn and grow themselves.​