Edison Community College Thesis

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Edison State College: Organization, Leadership and Community Orientation

Educational and Community leadership require a sensible balance

between commitment to the strategic interests of a school and to the human

interests of the community. In the discussions here with Washington

Barqueo, MD, Chairman of the Board of Trustee's at Edison State College in

Florida and with personnel affiliated with him, the research here will seek

to better understand organizational leadership. Using the Board of

Trustees as a research context, we will draw conclusions regarding the

quality of leadership as derived from vision, culture, communication and

community orientation.

Edison State College is a unique educational organization.

Constituted of four Florida based campuses, it attends to the variation of

cultural needs reflective of Florida's diversity. Edison is a public,

comprehensive community college that has provided a high-quality,

contemporary education to a large and diverse community for the last 47

years. Lee Campus serves Fort Myers within the state of Florida. Edison's

annual enrollment is around 17,000, with a 10,000 person majority located

on the Lee Campus. There are several critical external factors that affect

the organization, including: the local economy, high school graduation

rates, college and university enrollment rates, state budget &

accreditation review, all of which are discussed in some capacity on the

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In contending with his demands as a board leader for the trustees, it

is the responsibility of the board director to ensure that relationships

between the school, the outside community and private industries are

fostered and maintained. Likewise, the board leader and other members of

the board of trustees will be responsible for seeing to the proper

distribution of gifts, contributions and grants throughout the academic

institution. Hereafter in this discussion, we will address the primary

Thesis on Edison Community College Assignment

focus at present for the college, for the Lee Campus specifically and, by

extension, for Dr. Barqueo and his staff. To this matter, Dr. Barqueo

takes a fairly progressive stance on providing the necessary oversight to

helping the campus develop and improve. Maintaining a private medical

practice in addition to his work with the school, Dr. Barqueo has long

sought to bring a consistent and grounded value system to his approach with

campus matters. Indeed, there is good evidence in discussion with Barqueo,

through his friendly and informative staff and by way of many of the

available school-website based sources on the director to help us

understand his elevation as part of the leadership structure on the campus.

Our research endorses a leadership environment that contends, "if leaders

pursue moral purpose, understand the change process, develop relationships,

foster knowledge building, and strive for coherence - with energy,

enthusiasm, and hopefulness, the rewards and benefits will be enormous."

(Heritage et al, 123).

Quite so for the campus itself, which under the oversight provided by

Barqueo and his colleagues, would help to bring a great many positive

changes to Lee. Beginning as a member of the board in 1997, Barqueo would

begin with a focus on the bigger picture. His goals for the school would

be longterm, and he would, according to his own report, bring a certain

degree of sustained confidence to his role. It would be clear that others

both within and outside of the organization responded to his assumption of

such trajectories, elevated him first to the role of vice chairman in 2006

and, for the 2008-2009 academic season, to the role of Director of the

Board of Trustees. The implications of his leadership would be extensive

across that period of time, demonstrated clearly by the integration of two

new facilities into the Lee Campus infrastructure.

Barqueo and his colleagues would help to usher in a new era for Edison

in terms of modernity and student functionality with the Richard H. Rush

Library, which opened this October. According to Lee Campus President Dr.

Robert R. Jones, "the completion of the Rush Library $7 million

renovation, which includes state-of-the-art information retrieval systems,

multi-media display platforms, a cyber caf?, private study areas, a

dedicated Learning Lab for the Edison State School of Education, a Teaching

and Learning Development Center for Edison State faculty, and a 200 seat

auditorium for classes and community use" has helped to give the campus a

new face. (Edison State College, 1) Indeed, the new library promises to

bring expansive new opportunities to the students of Edison and to the Fort

Myers community that will simultaneously benefit from the addition of

extensive new research and computing lab facilities.

Barqueo's profession also has factored into his point of focus in

developing the prospects of the campus. Projected plans right now denote

an increasing emphasis on answering to one of the communities most pressing

needs, both educationally and professionally, by helping to improve the

availability of healthcare and nursing professionals in the area. Thus,

also according to the Lee Campus president, "early next year we will break

ground on a new nursing building to house our highly acclaimed and

recognized nursing program - ranked 13th in the nation." (Edison State

College, 1) By emphasizing an area where it has already experienced a

nationally recognized degree of success, the campus has the opportunity to

truly strengthen its role in the community. Particulary, its interest in

further stimulating enrollment and improving access for aspiring nurses

will be an important part of helping to address the state and region's

issues with nursing shortages. Here, an opportunity for students, for the

college and for the community in which it operates to help collectively to

reach solutions to widespread social problems impacting all of said parties

is demonstrative of the value of figures such as Barqueo, without whom, the

necessary contributions and contributors could not be lined up and

distributed correctly.

Dr. Barqueo would characterize the particular functions of the board

of trustees as being very broad and central to the experience which

students have in their attendance of Edison. Particularly, he would

characterize it as a compass for contributors seeking to improve the

facilities and functionality of the school. The Director would

characterize its responsibilities as contributing to the image and

actuality of a reliable, responsible and accessible school where the

community, state and students all feel that their investments are being put

to good and notable use. According to his report, the domains of his

leadership include embracing improved student life experiences that

anticipate emerging trends in global education, effective leadership in

supplement to academic life and a core integrity in serving admitted

students and making a conscientious community presence felt to attract

prospective students through the contributions of those outside of the


In telephone contact initially with Dr. Barqueo's secretary, I was

able to learn a little bit more about the Board of Trustees at Edison. The

secretary would inform me that it was the charge of the board as a whole to

help make a place for private donors, private organizations, community

agencies and others at the table where decisions are made. Such decisions

would include the manner in which available monetary resources are to be

spend and which longterm priorities can be seen as realistic, attractive or

appropriate for the college and for the community.

This characterization is echoed by the school's website, which

features a page devoted to information about the trustees and the larger

foundation for which they provide staff and leadership. Accordingly, the

site denotes that "the Edison State College Foundation is a not-for-profit

corporation chartered under Florida Statutes to serve as a direct support

organization of Edison State College. The Foundation accepts gifts in

support of the activities directly related to the mission of Edison State

College, including cash, property, securities, bequests and trust and life

income arrangements." (Edison State College, 1) For Dr. Barqueo, this

means a widely distributed array of charges relating to the organization

and administration of policy. Thus, his office holds a number of

responsibilities which help to channel the input of the many groups which

are invested in the school.

As an individual who is responsible for the administrative oversight

of a number of employees as well as chairmanship of a board, Dr. Barqueo is

directly concerned with the quality and validity of his approach to

leadership. Based on the phone interview administered, the Director would

identify several core values which direct his leadership approach. In no

particular order of priority, Dr. Barqueo would describe as central

qualities to effective leadership: vision; an understanding of the

organizational culture; effective communication skills; and team


According to our research, vision is a directional initiative that

identifies the status quo and articulates "a mental picture of a preferred

future which is shared with all in the school community." (Beare et al, p.

99) Dr. Barqueo would add to this conception, denoting that vision is also

a leadership platform used to reinforce the board's philosophy and

activities by urging them toward progressive accomplishment. The school

system being dynamic, the vision is continually refined strategically in

order to stay relevant within political, economical, social and

technological perspectives. Within the context of the Board of Trustees,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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