What is the Bellwether? Part 2

There is a part 2 to the Bellwether story? Yes, there is!

To summarize the original blog post about the Bellwether Award …

In September we received notification that we were nominated for the Bellwether Award. The Bellwether Award is a nationally recognized award for innovative and effective programs at the community college level.

We submitted our application. The top 10 applications are named finalists and are invited to present to the Bellwether College Consortium Futures Conference in Orlando, Florida. In November we were named alternative finalist. Basically, if one of the original 10 finalists is unable to present in Orlando, we would be the new Finalist. Of the hundreds of applications, we were considered number 11.  “Not bad,” we thought. “We’ll get them next time!”

But that’s not the end of the story. Let’s go to part 2!

In early December we received a surprising phone call from Frank, the program director of Community College: Futures Assembly (the organizing body of the Bellwether Awards). He said that one of the original finalists would be unable to attend the conference, and he asked if we would be interested in participating. Wow — what an amazing curve ball!

After checking with the bosses and the finances, we said yes, Weekend College at Lee College will go to Orlando!

We are now a Bellwether finalist.

With a little over a month to prepare, we needed to create a 45-minute presentation and submit a binder about our comprehensive program dedicated to the success of the adult learner.

Even though we were last time slot of the day, we had a full room. Dr. Brown, the president of Lee College, even came to offer his support and encouragement.

Sadly, we did not win Bellwether Award. For our category of Instructional Programming and Services, the winner was the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California. It would have been an incredible Cinderella story if we had won.

It was a great experience and an honor to showcase Weekend College at Lee College to a national audience. Here at Lee, we have hardworking and committed faculty members, amazing and dedicated students, and supportive administrators. It was an award given to Weekend College, but Weekend College’s success is a team effort!

Thank you to our students, faculty members, and staff!