Campus and Career Impacts from the Middle Leadership Academy: An Interview with Jennifer McCune, Director of Enrollment Services, CSU Bakersfield

By Dr. Thad Nodine

June 2023

In 2017, Jennifer McCune was the coordinator for the Academic Advising and Resource Center at CSU Bakersfield when she was asked to participate with others from her campus in a series of weekend sessions to tackle developmental math reform. She jumped at the opportunity and found herself at the CSU Network’s Middle Leadership Academy.

According to Dr. McCune, participating in the Academy with her campus team transformed her perspective and her career. She recently defended her doctoral dissertation and received her doctoral degree in educational leadership. She is now the director of Enrollment Services at CSU Bakersfield. “I attribute a big part of that to the Middle Leadership Academy back from 2017,” she said, “giving me the belief in myself that I was a leader and that I could be a change agent at my campus and within the CSU system.”

Through external evaluations, the CSU Student Success Network found that the Academy:

  • Provides a space for colleagues to connect and get tangible tools to engage in equity on campus,
  •  Actively contributes to breaking siloes within and across campuses, and
  • Strengthens relationships among like-minded colleagues.

As well as developing leadership skills and relationship building among CSU campus teams, the Academy also supports teams in developing an equity project for implementation on campus. Two-thirds of campus projects developed at the Academy have been implemented. Another 20% of projects were in process at the time they were studied. Four out of five CSU campuses have sent a team to the Academy.

After participating with her campus in 2017, Dr. McCune has returned to the Academy for several years as a facilitator supporting other campuses that are developing their equity-based projects. As a facilitator, she said, “I’ve been able to watch staff members grow and start to believe in themselves as middle leaders and see themselves as being really instrumental to change on their own campuses and in their daily lives.”

Find out more about the Academy and its opportunities in a five-minute video with Dr. McCune here. Learn how your campus can use the Academy to address an equity issue by contacting Academy applications for the 2023-24 academic year will be available in August 2023. Engage with us on Twitter @CSU_SUCCESSNET.