Episode 2 - Interview with Valencia College's Dean of Learning Support Dr. Leonard Bass
Dr. Leonard Bass joins Jerrid and Courtney for Episode 2. Leonard is the Dean of Learning Support at Valencia’s east campus. As dean, he oversees New Student Experience, the library, Supplement Learning, the Academic Success Center as well as a host of other projects and initiatives. Plus, Leonard is Jerrid and Courtney’s boss!
Leonard tells the story of how he became involved with Valencia’s social entrepreneurship work thanks to Jerrid. At the time, Jerrid was working on his doctorate and saw a potential for starting a program. Leonard says, “It is important for those in leadership to be comfortable with new ideas.”
The New Student Experience course also provided fresh perspectives into the value of social entrepreneurship education. The first common read for the course was Blake Mycoskie’s Start something that matters which tells the story of social entrepreneurship powerhouse TOMS Shoes. The basic principle of the company’s business model is that for every pair of shoes that is purchased one pair is donated.
The themes in the book provided a toolbox of strategies for students to use in their academic and everyday lives. Themes discussed included collaboration, building networks, time management, and good reputations. The positive student response to the book was another impetus for starting a full-fledged social entrepreneurship program. To that end, Jerrid wrote a white paper and he teamed with Leonard to look for others who were interested in joining what Jerrid fondly calls the Guiding Coalition.
The social entrepreneurship program has been a success so far. Leonard credits this with recruiting faculty who have a deep desire for the work and who have a certain level of expertise. He also found it essential to devise a strategic plan to assist in articulating the program’s purpose.
One other biggie, collaboration is key. You just might find allies in the most surprising places. For Leonard, his pleasant surprise came in the form of Valencia’s Sustainability Department. While he did not originally think to partner with Sustainability, the director Resham Shirsat has become one of the program’s staunchest advocates. So throw those assumptions out the door!
With what little spare time he has, Leonard serves on Covenant House Florida’s board which focuses on addressing the needs of homeless youth. He is a classically trained bassoonist, and also participates in mud runs.
Links For more information on topics discussed during the show, see the list below.