Community College Summit - StoryTelling and Growing Expert Instructors

Workshop Session 2
Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

StoryTelling and Growing Expert Instructors

Community colleges face many challenges and the panel will address two distinct and persistent ones faced by career and technical training programs. First, communicating the power of educational innovations takes more than a 30 page report – it takes a good story that engages your audience and gets them to care about your innovation.  How do we craft good stories for career and technical training programs? Second, industry experts are essential subject matter experts that deliver the “job-driven” curriculum in community colleges and prepares our students for success in the workforce.  But frequently, being an industry expert doesn’t translate into an expert instructor. The U.S. Department of Labor’s SkillsCommons project has produced free and open tools, templates, and strategies that everyone can use to address these challenges. The panelist will briefly review the  strategies and resources and  walk participants through how these two tools have been applied in higher education and at the industry level.

Collaborative Ideation Challenges
Interactive with audience. Panelist will ask participants at tables to choose one of the challenges, explore the SkillsCommons resources on their own devices, and discuss how to deliver the right tools, at the right time to faculty and staff to successfully overcome the challenges and increase collaboration across their participants institution.

Challenge Questions:

  • In why ways would storytelling benefit your college's initiatives?
  • What is the first story that needs to be told and to whom?
  • Imagine your college implemented the IE2EI course with industry experts. After one year, what are the targeted outcomes. How do you celebrate?
  • What did you hear today that you could use in the next 3 months. What are the first 3 steps toward making that a reality? 
Scheming Time, Applying StoryTelling and Expert Teaching in Your Setting
Panelists will showcase an example such as selecting one story or one module from the IE2EI course and the audience will be asked if they had considered something like it.
Wrap-Up and Summarize
Question and Answer session relative to SkillsCommons IMPACTcommunities Panel and a brief summary of highlights and resources.


Nicolette van der Lee is a Program Coordinator at the Office of Continuing Education & Training for workforce, sustainability and contract training programs at University of Hawaii Maui College. Through the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui, she coordinates non-credit based community outreach and development activities in sustainability across disciplines including clean energy, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart sustainable communities, and green workforce and education. She is also a StoryTelling Ambassador for the StoryTelling Network at SkillsCommons, supporting community colleges to share solutions addressing the challenges of offering industry-aligned education and job-driven workforce development. Her current doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University focuses on the sustainability of innovations, and developing strategies to build social networks, successfully engage stakeholders, and achieve sustainable outcomes in higher education.
Maria Fieth, M.A.2, RTC Maria currently serves as program manager responsible for partnership development for California State University-MERLOT SkillsCommons. During the last 28 years, Maria has worked with businesses and PK-20 educators providing guidance for refining and sustaining healthy learning and working environments and building partnerships and community among stakeholders. Maria's background in federally funded project management provides a strong backdrop for national level accountability and performance. Her work has received honors for building exemplary educational settings and community partnerships from Kevin Jennings of the U.S. Department of Education and Auburn University among others. Maria holds a dual Master's degree in English and in Education, a Master's degree in Psychodynamics and certifications in Reality Therapy and from the National Institute for School Leadership. She has numerous certifications as national trainer for organizations such as Ruby Payne's Poverty Framework, Olweus Bullying Prevention, Discovery Communication Model, and Crucial Conversations.
Brenda M. Perea, Director of Educational and Workforce Strategies at Credly and works on large scale implementations. She also consults for MERLOT/SkillsCommons CalState-Long Beach and DXtera in technology projects and helps grow the educational technology community through outreach and engagement. Brenda brings nearly 20 years experience in the instructional technology-design field on projects spanning academia, corporate, government and military technology initiatives. Previously she was a Project Manager for Special Grant Projects at Colorado Community College System, where she designed and developed a system-wide digital badging credential system which entails building collaboration between a consortium of colleges and workforce to identify and target workforce skills not apparent in courses, certificates & degrees supported by interoperable technology. Brenda believes it is critical to use technology to ensure post-secondary education and career training is relevant for today’s workforce while using data to better inform students, administrators, faculty & employers. She works with the international Open Recognition Alliance and IMS Global to shape the national conversation on recognizing learning where it happens, industry and business engagement in post-secondary education and workforce credentialing.

Extended Abstract