Meet Eric Sewell, PLSP-ECMC Foundation fellow

Meet Eric Sewell, director of technical education at Southern Union State Community College. Sewell’s Techniques interview appears as part of a digital-exclusive spotlight series on fellows in the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation.

What leadership skills do you hope to develop as part of the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation?

I hope to learn skills that will help me meet people where they are and work with them to realize their full potential. The skills we learn in the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program are practical and the program structure allows us to practice implementation. Each month as we meet, I look forward to growing in a new area. As a leader I want to stretch my understanding and rid myself of any biases that might be present. Through working with other leaders, I hear how they are improving their organizations and it inspires me to try new methods and adopt strategies to make my school more efficient.

In what ways have you innovated to engage students & inspire colleagues in CTE through the COVID-19 pandemic?

During a global pandemic, it can be hard to motivate students who are hands-on learners. Students find it difficult to practice their technical skills from home. To alleviate this, we implemented simulation software that helped some students virtually, but we did not find a genuine replacement for hands-on learning. To keep students safe, we had to limit the number of students in labs. We also offered nontraditional times for students to participate in labs. The pandemic brought a whole new meaning to flexibility and change. We had to come together to fight to keep our students and faculty safe while still training the future workforce.

Our education systems face many challenges in 2021. Please discuss the steps CTE can take to improve equitable access to high-quality CTE programs of study.

As we hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, we must be ready to face the challenges that the future holds. We continue to see a decrease in enrollment, and this affects underserved students the most. Over the next year, we hope to work with prospective students and employers to offer flexible schedules and help the already strained workforce receive training. The challenges that arose in 2020 taught us to think outside of the box. At all times, we must try to do what is best to meet student and employer needs. I hope to help each person in their unique situation. Together, CTE trains the workforce of the future.

Learn more about the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation.

Please also meet:

  • Tiffanie Rosier, STEM education coordinator at Northern Virginia Community College
  • Tachaka Hollins, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Tracey D. Cooper, executive director of nursing at Temple College
  • Bernie Phelps, director of Perkins, Perkins Rural Reserve and dual enrollment at Montana Technological University, Highlands College
  • Vickie Thomas, director of the Center for Workforce and Community Development at Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell
  • Moira Lafayette, dean of health sciences and public safety at Blackhawk Technical College
  • Brad Kinsinger, director of the Global Agriculture Learning Center at Hawkeye Community College
  • C.J. Wurster, district director at Maricopa County Community College District
  • Katie Vincent, director of workforce partnerships at Owensboro Community and Technical College
  • Xue Xing, assistant professor of teaching and learning at University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Aleksander Marthinussen, program manager with NOVA SySTEMic at Northern Virginia Community College
  • Martha Payan-Hernandez, director of CTE at Fullerton College
  • Dan Adams, former CTE administrator and current stay-at-home dad
  • Ashlee Spannagel, dean of CTE and workforce development at Southeastern Community College
  • Darlene O’Rourke, Perkins grant director and officer at Queensborough Community College
  • Shelsi Barber-Carter, CTE coordinator at Baton Rouge Community College