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ECMC Foundation Surveyed Alumni ECMC Foundation Fellows of the CTE Leadership Collaborative. Here’s What We Learned.

November 04, 2021

By Patrick Bourke, Program Officer, Career Readiness

“Making connections with other passionate scholars and practitioners focused in postsecondary CTE helped validate my efforts and my passion. Thank you.”—Sam Mabini, NC State

In July 2021, ECMC Foundation surveyed alumni ECMC Foundation Fellows (Fellows) of the CTE Leadership Collaborative (LC), a network of six fellowship programs funded by ECMC Foundation that are designed to provide professional development opportunities for the next generation of leaders from a range of disciplines, approaches and geographies dedicated to improving postsecondary CTE. While the six grantee partners oversee the majority of the programmatic activities, ECMC Foundation offers programming to foster collaboration across programs. The first fellowships concluded in the spring of 2020.

Alumni Fellows of the following programs were invited to complete this survey about their fellowship experiences and career trajectories:

  • The CTE Research Program at North Carolina State University
  • The Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at the Association for Career and Technical Education
  • The Higher Education Media Fellowship from the Institute for Citizens and Scholars

Of the 88 alumni Fellows invited to participate, 44 completed the survey. Here’s what we learned.

The survey questions centered on the goals of the LC and asked about alumni Fellows’ experiences in their fellowship programs. The goals fall into four main functions, which include building community, increasing knowledge, introducing opportunities and raising awarenessll aligned to postsecondary CTE. The survey also asked about field-building activities, including giving presentations, connecting with other Fellows and authoring publications focused on postsecondary CTE. The majority of alumni Fellows agree or strongly agree that the goals of the LC are being achieved thanks to the efforts of our grantees leading the six fellowship programs, while many noted pandemic-related challenges limited opportunities to engage in field-building activities.

"My mentor was an absolute treasure in my development regarding CTE and my professional career overall.”—Melita Mitchell, NC State

All of the alumni Fellows surveyed agreed that their fellowship program and Foundation-led activities helped them increase their knowledge of issues, challenges and best practices within postsecondary CTE, while more than 90% increased their ability to bring awareness to the work and connected with other professionals working in the field on issues different from theirs. Nine of the alumni Fellows that participated in the survey were promoted or moved into new roles better aligned with their professional interests.

“The most helpful aspect of the program was the networking and the support provided during the COVID outbreak. Having the Fellows to walk alongside during such a disruptive year was priceless.”—Jason Simon, ACTE

Many of the alumni Fellows surveyed indicated how important networking and connections were to them, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with the challenges encountered over the last year, ECMC Foundation Fellows continued to stay engaged by authoring publications, presenting at conferences and connecting regularly with one another beyond the fellowship. In fact, nearly half of the alumni who completed the survey remain in touch with their fellowship program leaders once a month and the ECMC Foundation Fellows in their cohorts every few months, while a third of the survey respondents report connecting with ECMC Foundation Fellows from different cohorts or programs every few months.

This survey to alumni ECMC Foundation Fellows will be issued on an annual basis. We look forward to sharing the findings of the next survey, which will be published in 2022, and following the ways in which current and alumni Fellows continue to advance postsecondary CTE.

About the CTE Leadership Collaborative

CTE Leadership Collaborative (LC) brings together diverse perspectives and equips postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to advance the field.

Visit to learn more.

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