Out of hundreds of eligible colleges, American Council of Education (ACE) Fellow Dr. Adenuga Atewologun, Dean of Natural and Applied Science at the College of DuPage, chose to spend his one-year mentorship program here at BCC.
“This is a year to learn, to listen, and observe,” said Atewologun. His primary mentor is president Jean Floten, whom he is accompanying to board of trustees meetings, meetings of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, president’s staff meetings, and grant initiatives.
The ACE fellows program picks professors, administrators, and deans considered emerging leaders from American colleges and universities to be trained for leadership and presidential positions in educational institutions. Atewologun, like the 34 other fellows in his class this year, picked the college of his choice to host his learning experience.
“Nuga expressed interest in certain areas and we recommended specific mentors based on their skills, ability, and availability,” said Lucinda Taylor, executive administrative assistant to the president. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Atewologun taught as a professor at the college of DuPage for ten years before working into administration.
“When I was three or four years old in Nigeria, I went with my mother to the elementary school where she taught,” said Atewologun. “Even then, I wanted to teach the students.”
His long term goal is to have the greatest impact possible on students he refers to as occupying the “middle” range of academic ability, students who have potential toward self-initiated learning, but who have had insufficient resources or opportunity to attend universities. Community colleges, he said, are full of students who fit this description.
Increasing his role in administrative and potentially policy-making positions, Atewologun hopes he can affect change in the U.S educational system. The goal of ACE fellows is usually to become the president of their own college or university. Atewologun explains he hopes this will further launch him toward a position where he can work with less priviledged students, and work to improve standards for elementary and middle school student math and language proficiency.
“Math is the language of science,” he said. “Just like English or ASL are the languages of thought, of art, of social sciences, and the facilitators of communication”.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for BCC to have Nuga here,” said Boyum. “He participates, he adds to our staff a new perspective and his own experience.”
Following an outline from the ACE leadership program, he is studying Floten’s decision-making processes, her organization, and learning the state, local and administrative systems through which she navigates her responsibilities. He is also shadowing three other administrative mentors: Jim Bennet, VP of Equity and Pluralism, Paula Boyum, VP of Workforce Development, and Laura Saunders, Vice President of Administrative Services.