My Interest in ASCN: Heather Belmont

Miami Dade College
School of Science

Prior Organizational Change Work

One major organizational change that I was formally tasked to lead as biology chair was the development of a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. Although our community college had been approved to offer several bachelor's degrees, this was to be the first in the liberal arts and I needed to garner support from faculty, staff, the county and State in order to move forward. Once the faculty were on board, we worked closely with local industry experts who assisted the faculty with developing appropriate competencies and curriculum. The curriculum included increased hands-on lab time (over the standard bachelor's in biology) and an industry internship capstone experience. The degree program is now in its forth year and our graduates are thriving in the community.

How ASCN Can Contribute to my Work

One of the most difficult things about leading change efforts is being a profit in your own land. Inevitably, there comes a time when there is "change" fatigue and the choir is fed-up with listening to all of the reason why "change" is important. What I would hope to gain from participation in the ASCN would be methods/strategies to combat the fatigue. I also have a deep desire to move from practice to research, but feel that I have limited resources to move forward. So, I would hope that by participating in ASCN, I will make connections that will help me share the successes that we are having at the community college level.

How I Can Contribute to ASCN

Over the past five years, I have led development of an undergraduate stem research initiative at a community college. Currently, we support over 100 students every year to do active research with community college mentors or at local universities. All students must present their original research at the annual summer research symposium and many have gone on to present at regional and national meetings. Retention rates and graduation rates of these students far exceed the College averages. I have also led development of successful STEM advisement models and guided pathways, peer-led, team learning, career symposia, learning communities, and service learning programs.