Maritime Academy: Participant Reflections, Part One

Since 2012, the Michigan College Access Network has hosted Maritime Academy, a three-day, intensive dive into the Collective Impact framework as applied to Local College Access Networks. This invite-only, intimate gathering of LCAN Coordinators and Leadership Team members from across the state and country are selected to join the staff for a comprehensive training. Last month marked the fifth year of Maritime Academy. This blog is the first of a two-part series that includes testimonials from several Maritime Academy graduates.  


Doug Wright
Coordinator, Midland Career & College Access Network

"I went to MCAN’s Maritime Academy not really knowing what to expect. I had been in my job as an LCAN coordinator for about three weeks and was still trying to wrap my head around my position as it related to my county, my state, and most importantly, Michigan students. Maritime Academy truly helped clarify many of my questions. The presentations covered step by step how to begin an LCAN through how to continuously improve a highly functioning LCAN. This structure ensured that everyone in the room had valuable takeaways at the end of the three days.  For me, the Academy clarified my LCAN’s past and provided an understanding of the theory that went into getting us to our current stage of development. I then learned how to take the next steps to help our LCAN reach its full potential. The brilliance of the presentations is that the same was true for everyone else in the room, regardless of where their LCAN is on the developmental spectrum.

The speakers were energetic, engaging, interesting and informative. It is rare that I find a discussion about data or collective impact, to name just two examples, interesting. Maritime Academy succeeded in my eyes where many before had failed. The consistent use of humor, audience participation, as well as the much more important aspect of conveying information that was both societally important and personally necessary to do my job had me hooked. Each speaker was effective and obviously was an expert in their field. 

The speakers also made it abundantly clear that our connection with them does not end with the end of Maritime Academy. Each speaker, in multiple presentations, announced many times that they were not only available for consultation but that they welcomed those discussions. They offered, numerous times, to come to our Leadership Team and Action Team meetings to provide whatever assistance or guidance we as local coordinators may need.

As someone who has all the normal insecurities that go with starting a new position, especially a position where students’ lives can be impacted positively or negatively based on my performance, I am glad to have the MCAN team in my corner. Whether you are a new coordinator, new Leadership Team member, or in some other way working with an LCAN, I highly suggest you make plans to attend the Maritime Academy. It will provide valuable education which will greatly increase your chances of being successful."


Angelica Gallegos
Service Center Manager, Allegan-Barry County West Michigan Works!
Leadership Team Board Member, Barry Career Access Network 

"Attending Maritime Academy as a member of the leadership team was a great educational experience. The benefits of understanding the structure of collective impact, the structure of an LCAN, the responsibilities of the various pieces and parts of that LCAN was enlightening.

In terms of the presentations themselves, I considered them outstanding! Each section was again, well structured, clear, and delivered with a depth of knowledge and passion that was easily seen. The necessity for collective impact is unquestionable.  Its benefits are far reaching, and touch all industries all institutions all organizations. With that being said, the most important facet of this work is the educational attainment of our students. Our students deserve our best efforts, and collective impact is the mechanism by which to accomplish this."



Author: Sarah Anthony, Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Posted: Sept. 6, 2017


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