Leading from a First-generation or Immigrant Background in Higher Ed: A Discussion Forum



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Explore how your identity as an immigrant or first-generation American has shaped your own experience and perceptions of self as a leader.


All too often, first-generation and immigrant leaders in higher education feel they must assimilate to “standard” forms of leadership, which are historically grounded in white, heteronormative, male-centric experiences and stereotypes. But leading from a first-generation or immigrant background carries with it unique insights and perspectives that are advantages to be celebrated and leveraged in leadership.

Join us online for a conversation about the interplay between cultural heritage and leadership. Our subject matter expert, a first-generation Asian-American woman leader currently serving as a community college President, will share some of the barriers she has come up against in her journey and how she eventually came to embrace them as advantages in her leadership. You’ll be given intentional space to discuss your own experiences and self-perceptions with others who identify as first-generation or immigrant leaders and will come away with specific strategies for how you can in turn leverage your unique cultural heritage to lead more authentically and effectively.


Who Should Attend

This discussion is designed for higher ed leaders across functional areas and at all levels. If you identify as an immigrant or first-generation American serving in any kind of leadership role in higher education, this training is for you. 

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions


September 17, 2021

1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern

I) Introduction/table setting 

You’ll engage in an opening activity designed to help you get to know your fellow participants  and establish a safe space among the group.   



II) Exploring the intersection of cultural heritage & leadership 

In this section, our instructor will share some specific ways in which her own leadership  experience in higher education has been shaped by her identity as an immigrant. Then, you’ll  engage in discussion with the rest of the group about your own experience. In what ways has  your own identity as an immigrant or first-generation American shaped your experience as a  leader? How do you perceive your own cultural heritage, and in what circumstances has this  perception worked for or against you in your leadership role?  



III) Reframing cultural heritage as an advantage  

In this closing section, we’ll focus on harnessing our collective learnings & key takeaways as a  group. Our instructor will share specific strategies she has used to embrace her cultural heritage  and use it to lead more effectively and more authentically. Specific strategies she will cover  include:  

  • Adopting a coaching mindset  
  • Embrace your cultural values
  • Creating a unique brand for yourself 


Portrait of Dr. Jianping Wang

Dr. Jianping Wang

President, Mercer County Community College, Princeton Junction, New Jersey

Dr. Jianping Wang served as Special Assistant to the President, Director of Institutional Research, Dean of Arts & Humanities, and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Since 2015, she has been serving as President of Mercer County Community College in Princeton Junction, New Jersey 

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


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