Career Path to president of Lynette Findley & Associates, LLC

Posted by Ronald | March 28, 2016  |  No Comment

Dr. Lynette Findley is president of Finley & Associates, LLC. Findley received a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University. Findley is a renowned change agent in creating, developing and implementing programs for secondary and postsecondary students. At the 2016 American Council on Education Conference (ACE), she was presented ACE’s State Network Leadership Award. An excerpt of an interview with Findley follows:

What career path led to your profession, president of Lynette Findley & Associates, LLC?

My career has been spent on creating, writing grants and implementing programs for at-risk populations. In the early 90’s, I created a national model program recognized by the American Council on Education and Noel Levitz for at-risk underrepresented students starting in the seventh grade and continuing through grade twelve. Students, based on good behavior and good attendance in middle and high school could return each year and participate in two and a half day program on college campuses to learn about skills to make them successful in their respective schools. Students were also given the practice PACT (Pre-Admission Content Tests) to enhance their test-taking skills and expose them to the different majors and colleges within a university setting. This program doubled the at-risk population enrollment, including students being involved in the Honors Program.

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In the late 80’s, I created another national model program called Summer Incentive Program (SIP). SIP brought in 50 students each summer, who were denied admission to the university, for a seven and a half week “boot camp” program. Students were assigned mentors, taught how to study, took test and worked in a campus office along with other soft skill development programs. All students had to receive a C + grade or better in three courses which included English, psychology and political science in order to be admitted into the university the fall semester. The success rate for these students was 99 percent. Students enrolled in SIP had the highest first-year retention than any cohort in the university as a result of the strong skills taught during the summer.

The success of SIP and other programs designed to prepare students for college led to the creation of the Student Success Center for all students. I guess one would say if you can make at-risk students very successful, the same should apply for all students. Within six years, the retention and graduation rates increased one percent each year leading to an increase of six percent.

What I do now is what I did for close to 30 years. I work with Foundations, write grants and create programs for schools and districts to provide students with the necessary skills to be successful in middle and high school; and prepare them for college. I work with colleges and universities to build and design the necessary programs including longitudinal database collection to increase students’ retention and graduation rates.

What educational background and/or professional training are essential for this profession?

I have spent my life profession working with all populations of students to build sustainable models that have a return on investment in the learning community, leading to careers and job placements. I do it with passion and my heart is invested in student success.

My educational background in Special Education, Guidance & Counseling and Higher Education Administration with a strong emphasis in Counseling and Psychology is extremely helpful. My background has helped me to understand the needs of at-risk, underrepresented students from middle school through college.

It is important that you have great communication skills and the ability to meet with Foundations, politicians, school boards and all areas of education in order to increase the educational attainment for the public good of our country.

What influenced you to pursue a career in your profession?

When I was young and prior to leaving for college, my Mom kept foster children. Social Services, however, always wanted to give her the children with special needs. I would assist my mother with these children most of my childhood. I have always had a special place in my heart for children who were not given a fair chance in life and often times, unfairly labeled in some part of our system. I am a clear example of being labeled as a result of certain life circumstances. I was placed in special education in elementary school and had to work my way out of special education. If it were not for having strong self-esteem, perhaps I would have succumbed to these labels. Instead, once in middle school, I was an honor roll student throughout middle and high school and president of my senior class. I always felt my mission in life was to change the system as much as possible that falsely labels and do not give our children the opportunity to succeed.

What advice do you give to students who desire to pursue a career in higher education?

I always tell students that you must have a passion for working with students in higher education. You must have a mindset to help them be successful in college, as well as prepare for their future. This future could be in the role of a faculty member in the classroom or a staff or administrator in the higher education setting.

If the students do have passion, they should express their interest in leadership positions as undergraduates. They should work with professors on research projects or some other form of work or internship in higher education.

What led you to create the MI-ACE Women of Color Collaborative?

We are in our fifth year of the Women of Color Collaborative (WOCC). I have been a member of the MI-ACE Women’s Network for close to fifteen years and a board member for twelve years. Prior to 2011, the women of color annually, during our one day annual conference in June would have a one hour roundtable which would take them away from the other programs they also wanted to attend. This venue always left the women attending the one hour roundtable very frustrated and wanting more support.

In April of 2011, I convened three other women of color to meet with me in order to create more programs for WOC. It was clear that women of color share a different dynamic in our institutions of higher learning than Caucasian women. It was also clear that we needed a venue to come together to express our concerns and similar experiences in higher education where ultimately there was a need to bond and create programs to assist women of color in higher education at the professional level. I wanted the WOCC to be supported by the entire board of the MI-ACE Women’s Network so that they would endorse its purpose and need.

We held our first luncheon on December 11, 2011. Sixty women from across the state of Michigan attended the luncheon. We had our first all-day conference the day before our annual conference in June. This now made our annual conference two days. To our pleasant surprise, the WOCC women attending the first day of the conference also stayed for the second day of the conference. We welcomed all women who wanted to improve the work life of women of color in higher education’s institutions in the state of Michigan.

The WOCC has definitely and continues to bring women of color together and provide the synergy needed for networking, mentoring, career development and career advancement for women of color across the State. Women of all ethnicities look forward to both the luncheon and annual conference each year.

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of 12 books: Jacob’s Dream! “A Lesson on Numbers and Birds,” “Jacob’s Dream! A Lesson on Alphabets and Continents,”How to Eradicate Bullying,” “Education Questions to be Answered,”Current Issues and Answers in Education,” “How to Eradicate Hazing,”Professional Career Paths,” “Your Answers to Education Questions,” “How to revitalize the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.” “Completing the Dissertation: Tips, techniques and real-life experiences from Ph.D. graduates.” “Jacob’s Dream, A Story of Careers for Children” and Jacob’s Dream, A Story of Animals in Africa. He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper.  Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at rwh@theholmeseducationpost.com

 

 

 

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