Video: Dr. Jamonica Rolle

Video Transcript:

[Moderator:] And before Dr. Rolle shares her opening statement, let me provide you with a brief recap of her background.  

Dr. Jamonica Rolle currently is the Academic Dean of the Judson A. Samuels South Campus and the Dean of the Communication Pathway at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  

Now, in these concurrent roles, she is the Lead Academic Administrator for a large urban campus and for all communication-related disciplines and programs college-wide.  

She provides strategic leadership related to academic affairs, community building and workforce alignment.  

She has successfully led numerous student retention and post-completion initiatives, including developmental education reform and robust co-curricular student and faculty engagement agenda, community and institutional partnership agreements, and programs targeting underperforming student populations.  

Previously, Dr. Rolle served as the Associate Dean of Communication and Fine Arts on Broward College's North Campus.  

Her teaching experience includes being a full-time communication professor at Broward College, instructor at Florida Atlantic University, and teacher at Broward County Public Schools.  

She's a member of several professional and civic organizations and engages in a variety of community and professional service activities.  

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Dr. Jamonica Rolle.  Dr. Rolle.

[Candidate:] Thank you.  

Thank you for that introduction.  

I am so honored to be here.  

And just in opening, I'd like to say in doing my research about Dallas College, and El Centro in particular, I'm very excited and optimistic about the positive changes that I see taking place in the region.  

We really have an opportunity to serve as the primary provider of the talent pipeline by partnering with employers and their needs.  

And we know that going forward, about 85% of the living wage jobs in the area will require education beyond a high school diploma, yet only 4 in 10 young adults in the area possess a higher ed credential.  

So, I believe the next decade will be a power decade.  

And I believe that Dallas College will be at the heart of social change in the region.  

And I have a variety of experiences that would nicely complement the tremendous work being done there.  

And with that, I am open for questions. 

[Moderator:] Excellent.  Thank you so much, Dr. Rolle. 

And our first question will be from President of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, Harrison Blair.  Harrison?

[Panelist:] Thank you, Rick.  

Dr. Rolle, thank you so much for being here and interviewing with us.  

And, you know, all of the preceding events that we've had today.  

And my first question to you is what is one big initiative that you would like to implement with external partner organizations as the incoming president within the scope of this new role? 

[Candidate:] So, one big initiative that I would like to implement would be to look at how we are aligning our credentials for economic stability.  

And in working with our business and industry partners to ask what the needs are post-pandemic, or as we come out of the pandemic.  

We know that economic stability is going to be required.  

And we also know that unemployment is around 7% in the region.  

And so what we, what we want to do is ask, what can we do to get people jobs in the short-term, and then start to look longer term at the opportunities for longer term programs, associate programs, and other CTE, bachelors, et cetera.  

But I'd love to have a partnership that's focused on workforce alignment and moving us out of the pandemic into a workforce that starts to help us stabilize our economy. 

[Moderator:] Excellent.  

And just a quick note for our attendees and participants, if you have a question, feel free to submit your question to the chat room, and we will get to our questions as best as we can.  

And next question comes from President and CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc., Kourtny Garrett.  Kourtny?

[Panelist:] Good evening, Dr. Rolle.  

Good to see you again.  

And glad to be here with everyone.  

You can tell that a few of us are on the same track of mind.  

I wanted to ask you for some examples of your community leadership.  

I think we've learned a lot by your background and your bio about your leadership within the campus.  

But give us some examples in your career of your community, maybe civic leadership, that you might bring some of that expertise here to Dallas. 

[Candidate:] Absolutely.  So, I can name several organizations that I've partnered with, including a local municipality.  

So, the Coral Springs.  

I served on a, a, excuse me, I'm sorry, I served on the Coral Springs Chamber Organization with the business leaders there, as we were up.  

And we actually as an institution, we were looking to start a center in the region, or in that particular community.  

And so I served there.  

I also served on their Public Art Committee when I was an associate dean and with that municipality.  

Adjacent to our North Campus is Junior Achievement, which is an organization that's focused on career development for students, and they bring fourth and eighth graders to the campus.  

And so I served in partnership with them for several years in terms of bringing the children over to the campus to show them opportunities for workforce.  

And I've done a lot of work with our local school district in terms of dual enrollment programs and opportunities for partnerships in bringing students to the campus and us working to align our curriculum with the K12 curriculum.  

I've worked with LifeNet, which is a community partner that helps us to provide food for insecure food students, that are food insecure.  

And right now, we have the mobile pantry that's going, and we're in partnership with them.  

So, those are just a few of the examples that I have.  

But I have a longstanding history of working in the community.  

I've done a lot of community work, particularly, those are all professional things that I've done with the college that I serve.  

But I also serve with the community and some civic organizations that I'm a part of as well. 

[Moderator:] Great.  Thank you.  

Our next question comes from our panelist who is President, CEO of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Rick Ortiz. 

[Panellist:] Thank you, Rick.  

And thank you, Dr. Rolle, again, for this opportunity, and for the opportunity to connect again. 

And I'm just getting to learn a lot more about you.  

So, I look forward to continuing to do so.  

So, my question is one that you've probably heard this one already once before.  

And it kind of ties back into some of the other questions that were asked, and that's Dallas County, as you know, it's a mix of communities that are challenged by rapid population growth across the area.  

Poverty, low and educational attainment and growing workforce needs, contrasted with affluent expanding cities.  

Please tell us what you know about the challenges in Dallas County, what role Dallas College can play more broadly in terms of assisting these communities and growing their individual and collective economies beyond your standard traditional training programs. 

[Candidate:] Yes.  So, I think I spoke a little bit to that in the, in the introduction, talking about the skills gap, particularly the middle skills gap that we have.  

And I think that will, to address the middle skills problem that we, that you see particularly in your area, it will require, we can't do things as we've traditionally done.  Right?

It's going to require additional partnerships.

And also it's going to require an additional level of support, particularly for students that are first-generation college students, students who don't necessarily have experience or family members who have experience with college.  

And so we have to do things a little bit differently in order to provide the support that's needed.  

And there was a second part to the question.  

Can you repeat it again?  I'm sorry.  

Did I, did I answer the question? 

[Panelist:] Yes, you did.  

There was just a, it just said beyond just the standard programs.  Yeah. 

[Candidate:] Yes.  Yeah.  

And also, I think one of the other things that I can add to that is as our, as our world starts to change more and more and we see technology take effect and artificial intelligence and AI happens, and we start to look at what the gig economy looks like, I think we are going to have to think about not having education be linear as it has been, and really start to think about what it means to have stackable credentials.  

So, whether that be a CTE program or some certificates stacked and laddered within another program, but short-term credentials that allow people to get a job, and then to come back and ladder those into longer term programs, I think that's going to be the way forward for higher ed in general; particularly a community college that has the flexibility that many universities do not. 

[Moderator:] Excellent.  

And just a reminder, if you do have a question, you want to throw it in the chat room, go ahead and submit your questions to the chat room.  

And our next question, Harrison Blair. 

[Panelist:] Thank you, Rick.  

Dr. Rolle, my next question is kind of in that same vein of what Rick just asked, but a tad different.  

What is one of the biggest challenges you see for students at El Centro College coming out of the pandemic?  

And do you have any strategy for how you will approach that, one of those biggest issues? 

[Candidate:] I think coming out of the pandemic and what we're also seeing right now is that nationally the Class of 2020 just hasn't attended college in the same rate that other classes have.  

And many people say they're going to take a gap year, they're not necessarily embracing technology the way that we expected them to.  

Zoom school is not as cool as, you know, people initially thought it would be.  Right? 

And so there are some challenges around that.  

And so I think one of the things that we will have to do to address that is I think there will be two things.  

One, leverage technology in a way that is flexible that allows a hybrid model so that there is some in-person learning alongside the use of technology to augment and supplement what's happening in the classroom.  

And then the other part of that is that we know that the vast majority of our students are also working, working, they are working jobs.  

And so what we need to do is think about, how do we get them a living wage, and allow them to earn a living wage while continuing to further their education?  

And so that goes back to the idea of embedding certificates in shorter term milestones into programs so that that students can get short-term wins, they can see success, work and come back and continue to get education and ladder their way up to completion. 

[Moderator:] Great.  Kourtny Garrett, next question. 

[Panelist:] So, this question has to do, again, with digging in a little more on community engagement.  

I'm interested in some examples of how you've engaged diverse communities in those areas that you've worked.  

Really specifically some best practices and lessons learned in community engagement and really reaching all the different constituencies within any given community. 

[Candidate:] So, I can think about, you know, in South Florida, we have a program, and I think I mentioned this particularly earlier in one of my forums, it's called Broward UP.  

And what that is is a community program that engages in, we've targeted particular zip codes that have very high unemployment rates, but low educational attainment rates.  

And we are going into those communities.  

We have signed MOUs, memorandum of agreements with municipalities, the cities in those areas, along with community partners.  

So, the Boys and Girls Club, the Urban League, NAACP.  

And I can name, you know, a variety of organizations that we signed MOUs with.  

And what they do is they allow us either facilities or technology support, and we are providing services, primarily to our residents in those particular neighborhoods.  

So, Broward College is about, it's an HSI, which is a Hispanic Serving Institution.  

We're about 40% Hispanic, about 30% black, and about 15% white.  

And the--we represent about 144 different countries.  

So, it's a very diverse community.  

And in particular, when you think about our Broward UP Program, we are targeting a lot of the underserved populations in our region because those are the students that have the lowest numbers of, lowest numbers in terms of educational attainment in our region. 

So, we've done a lot of work to engage them.  

And believe it or not, we have a mobile unit, what we call a, it's a TRIO grant, and we were able to secure a mobile unit.  

And we take our mobile unit with us to football games, to, you know, fairs, and wherever you are, you know, wherever there are people in the community, we are out and in the community, and we are asking-- we are accepting applications, we're helping through FAFSA, we're helping with all of the things that students will need to get completed.  

And then what the beauty of it is that they don't necessarily even have to try to travel to get to a campus, but we can service them right there at that particular location.  

So, if it's the Boys and Girls Club or, or, you know, Urban League or wherever it is, we're servicing them there. 

[Moderator:} Excellent. 

[Candidate:] That's an example. 

[Moderator:] Excellent.  Thank you, Dr. Rolle.  

We're going to jump to the chat room. 

And if you do have a question in the chat room, feel free to throw your question out and we'll get to them.  

Could you do a little bit of a deeper dive?  

Earlier, you mentioned a little bit about the gig economy and AI.  

Can you do a deeper dive on its impact on education, higher ed? 

[Candidate:] So, in particular, with the gig economy, by the year of 2030, so in about 10 years, we're expecting about, and this is national data, and I'm sorry if I don't have the source right in front of me, but data shows that about half of the jobs will, employers will be, they will be looking at contract workers.  Right?

So, what will happen is you will see a change in the need to have more individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets, entrepreneurial training, if you will.  

So, we are, as an institution, going to have to think about how we cultivate those elements.  

We know that technology is changing the way that people work.  

In the past, it would be 30 years, you'd get a job, and you could live a middle class lifestyle.  

But things are changing so rapidly.  

Technology is moving so quickly that people are going from job to job.  

And I believe that lifelong learning is going to be a staple of that, of, you know, we're going to have to teach students to be lifelong learners, because they will be moving from industry to industry perhaps.  

And definitely some of the, when I say entrepreneurial mindsets, I'm thinking about flexibility, I'm thinking about communication, I'm thinking about creativity, I'm thinking about those human skills that technology can't replace.  Right?  

That those are things that a computer cannot do.  

So, how will we help our students be able to engage alongside the computer or technology? 

[Moderator:] Excellent.  Thank you.  

Rick Ortiz, next question.

[Panelist:] Thank you, Rick.  

Dr. Rolle, you mentioned entrepreneurial mindset, and in terms of the work that you see, you foresee.  

What about entrepreneurship?  

What role do you see that playing in the work, in the plan?  

Or is that part of the plan, as if you come in and take on the position? 

[Candidate:] Absolutely.  

I think it's important to have, to be creating entrepreneurial, entrepreneurs.  

At Broward, we have an innovation hub.  

And I know there is a plan to have a maker space and some very creative type spaces at El Centro.  

And so I think it's important to have people thinking about products and developing ideas from beginning all the way through, and then using community support to assist in that process.  

So, annually, we take students through like an incubation model where we allow them to take an idea, and we get a cohort of about 20 students, and we help them think about their idea, we get them from the beginning stages all the way through the process, and then we allow community members to come in, and we do sort of a Shark Tank style pitch where they pitch their products and their ideas so that they're getting real world type experience and practice.  

But I think it's definitely something that we'll need to be thinking about going forward, because we're definitely going to need those, you know, more business leaders and entrepreneurs. 

[Moderator:] Great.  

All right, Harrison Blair, next question. 

[Panelist:] Thank you.  

Dr. Rolle, this question is really in that same vein, but it's all around really connecting students to more opportunities.  

And I want to know, what is your strategy to engage with community partners like Chambers of Commerce to create more opportunities for students at El Centro College?  

Specifically around entrepreneurship. 

[Candidate:] That's a good question.  

So, I have taken on a variety of different strategies.  

One of the things that I think is important is to have the faculty involved in serving and participating in some of the chamber activities.  

I like to bring, and not just myself, but my team, we like to bring the chamber to the campus at least once or twice a year.  

And, and, at different chambers, because we have different ones in the region just like you do as well, and, and we invite, we either have a breakfast or a luncheon, and we invite business leaders in, and we invite our faculty and staff in, and we have a day of collaboration.  

And we talk about how to, what we can do to support the chamber and business and entrepreneur-- entrepreneurial leaders, and then how the members of the chamber can also support us in helping us align our curriculum with your need-- with the needs of the workforce.  

We talk about providing internship opportunities for students.  

We talk about, you know, serving, having members of the chamber serve on our advisory committees, and really engaging in that collaborative sort of partnership style that I think is critically important when you're talking about building a community or rebuilding a community. 

[Moderator:] Great.  

And just a reminder, if you have a question for the chat room, go ahead and put it in there.  

And our next question comes from Kourtny Garrett.

[Panelist:] There we are.  

So, this is an exciting time for Dallas College and for the El Centro Campus.  

Talk a little bit about your approach to visioning.  

We're talking about new facilities and aligning new programs.  

I'd love to hear from you your process of visioning both internally and externally as those projects move forward. 

[Candidate:] So, when you say visioning, are you talking about the vision for the campus or the vision for the facilities or both?

[Panelist:] I think perhaps drawing some on your past experience, if you've gone through visioning like this before, and then how that might apply to both the new campus and its programs, whatever the case may be, just more the process is what I'm interested in. 

[Candidate:] Okay, yes, so one of the more exciting projects that we engaged in was the rebuilding of the main communication building on North Campus.  

And it was totally redone in terms of the way that we situated faculty.  

So, we moved our faculty to one area and students and staff to another area.  

And some things that I thought that were critical was first safety and security, and we needed to make sure that, you know, that we had the most modern and up-to-date access controls, and some of those kinds of things that an older building wouldn't necessarily have.  

So, for me, safety and security was probably at the top.  

We brought the faculty and the community in to talk about what is unique and what the needs are.  

We created some collaboration classrooms so that they're not chairs, as you think about a classroom, where there are, you know, in chairs and desks in a row, but they're collaborative workspaces and the instructor has the ability to pop in and out with technology and see what's going on in a group assignment.  

We-- I'm trying to think of what else, we had, there was a lot of unique things that we did.  

Oh, the use of technology I think was very--the way that we--and actually, we were doing more of this since the pandemic with the CARES funding that we received.  

But we're creating classrooms that have the ability to--that you can use simulation with, and you can simulcast from one room to another, and you can use an iPad or a telephone or a computer and show things and walk around the room, and then also have them displayed in different rooms.  

I mean, we're doing a lot of that, especially in the pandemic, with instructors in the classroom, being able to simulcast for, for social distancing purposes, you know, to other classrooms, and also externally.  

But I think it's important for us to be thinking about the future of work and how people will work together, whether it will be a collaboration type space, and I don't think that, I mean, of course there's still a need to have some traditional classroom spaces.  Right?

I think lecture halls are still needed.  

And we also have to make sure we're thinking about efficiency.  

But I think the use of technology, collaboration, teamwork, all of those things are important when you're thinking about building out a new space and vision for a new space. 

[Moderator:] Excellent.  

Next question, Rick Ortiz.

[Panelist:] Yes.  Thank you, Rick.  

Dr. Rolle, so, in this new role at El Centro, what challenges do you anticipate, both internally and externally? 

[Candidate:] Challenges.  That's a good one.  

So, I would say the challenges that I would expect would probably be one, getting through the pandemic, and just what that looks like in terms of making sure that everyone that health and safety is at the forefront.  

I see that as a challenge.  

I think another challenge could be, and this is not just unique to El Centro, but I think this is a national challenge that we're all faced with, and that has to do with just the national conversation about the value of education in higher education in particular.  

What we're finding is that a lot of people are saying, is it worth it, the amount of debt that I have amassed, as I've, you know, gone to college, really has it, you know, provided a return on investment?  

So, I think we really have to do a better job of sharing the data with, with the community, with students, with potential students and parents and saying that yes, it is worth it, and that this is a challenge that we can overcome.  

And in the long run, you will see the return on your investment, and particularly if you start at a community college, because the costs are much, are much fewer, they're less, and if you start in high school getting your dual enrollment credits, that makes it even better.  Right?  

And, and there are ways to grow.  

So, that just, that conversation is happening, and I think that will continue to be a challenge for higher ed in general.  

But I think it's something that we can certainly overcome. 

[Moderator:] Great.  

Well, we are at the end of our scripted ordered agenda questions.  

However, what I would like to do is just open up this next section for any and all of our panelists if you want to revisit an issue or bring up a question, we'll do that, and then we also want to give Dr. Rolle final time to say closing thoughts.  

But to our panel, any other questions? 

[Panelist:] I'll toss one out there.

[Moderator:] Okay. 

[Panelist:] Dig in a little bit.  

I think, Harrison, you may have been the one to bring this up in the beginning, but downtown is the region's largest employment center.  

We have, you know, 135 jobs in the downtown.  

So, we've developed as a neighborhood in the last 20 years.  

We're still very much driven by the corporate business community.  

So, talk a little bit more about your experience engaging the business community.  

I keep using that word engaging for a reason.  

But I love all that you've talked about related to job placement and a lot of these types of programs.  

But when it comes to the powerhouse of the corporate community that is in downtown, I think there are ways it could be leveraged.  

So, I'd love to hear your perspective on that. 

[Candidate:] Ways that I've engaged the business community? 

[Panelist:] Yeah.  So, you talked a lot about your job placement programs, so I'd just like to hear a little bit more on that, that topic. 

[Candidate:] So, I'm trying to think if I have additional examples.  

We have a variety of corporate partnerships that-- that I've engaged with, particularly, so I'll give an example where I am now on South Campus, that's our aviation center is on South Campus, and we have our aviation maintenance programs that are there.  

And we have done a lot of work with some key airlines-- Spirit Airlines, their headquarters is here in South Florida, and so we've worked with them and leveraged some partnerships there so that they are actually working very closely hands-on-- hands-on with us, in terms of training our-- helping us train our students.  

And then they've agreed, of course, at the end, to employ a certain number of our students upon completion.  

So, we've done work hand-in-hand with the Spirit Airlines as an example.

[Moderator:] Great.  

Panelists, any other follow-up questions or any other questions? 

Looks like the chat room is quiet as well.  

Last call.  

Y'all are ready for dinner.  

Okay, I'd like to leave Dr. Rolle, if you could give us final thoughts.  

I know we've covered a lot today in the previous forum and in this one.  

Any closing thoughts? 

[Candidate:] Yes.  Thank you so much, again, for having me.  

I am honored to be here and to have made it this far in the process.  

And I hope that as we conclude that what comes across is that I believe in the vision that is Dallas College, and particularly El Centro Campus.  

I have led change, and I have, you know, accomplished a great deal in my current institution, and I would love the opportunity to effect change in your region as well.  

And, again, I'd like to thank you for your time and for engaging with me and for asking me all the great questions that you have, and hanging in there with me, because it's getting late. 

[Moderator:] Dr. Rolle, thank you so much, and thank you panelists; Harrison Blair, Kourtny Garrett, and Rick Ortiz, and community members for your participation in this forum.  

Our next three community forums will be held tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., and Wednesday, December 9th, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.  

Thank you guys, and have a great day.