Debra Dobkins, dean of the Brenau Women’s College, spoke Thursday, Sept. 21, at the Women’s College Coalition Annual Conference, held at her alma mater Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.
The WCC Annual Conference was Thursday and Friday, Sept. 21-22, and focused on “Women Creating Change” through education, leadership and philanthropy. Georgia’s four women’s colleges – Agnes Scott, Brenau, Spelman and Wesleyan – were the hosts for the 2017 event, which brought together women’s college presidents, provosts, deans, advancement officers and trustees, as well as key stakeholders and partners in women’s leadership and philanthropy.
Brenau, as a host university, had a large contingent of female faculty and staff present. Dobkins in particular was part of the Leadership Panel that asked: “How do we work together to connect the multi-sector women’s leadership efforts to accelerate women’s progress?”
“For decades we have done great work at Brenau in terms of the co-curricular leadership piece,” Dobkins said. “Our student services team has been amazing in this. We have had a very strong group of servant leaders for years and years. They’ve done great work, and in the last few years, we’ve tried to take this to another level.”
Dobkins said one way the university has done this is through the undergraduate women’s leadership certificate at Brenau, which is 12 credit hours. “We’ve tried to do this by involving more faculty and a more academic focus,” she explained. “These leadership initiatives require a strong partnership between the academic side of the house and student services. We really worked hard to build something that we thought would be viable and workable for our students to prepare them to lead beyond our institution.”
Dobkins was joined on the panel by Sally Kenney, executive director of the Newcomb College Institute at Tulane University; Kathryn Kolbert, director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College; and Elaine Meyer-Lee, associate vice president for global learning and leadership at Agnes Scott. The panel was moderated by Agnes Scott President Elizabeth Kiss.