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Enlightened Deanship

A few months after Richanne C. Mankey (Ed.D., 2007) completed her doctoral degree at TC, she attended a workshop that changed her life. At the time she was already employed in her present position as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Daemen College in Amherst, N.Y., and on the surface, things were great. Inside, however, Mankey felt something was amiss; after all those years of intensively nurturing her mind, she felt it was time to tend to her soul.
Mankey found the spiritual component she was looking for at the workshop—which focused on, of all things, the Mayan Calendar. This system of distinct and subtle cycles of consciousness, including a 260-day sacred year, is due to reach completion on or about the winter solstice in 2012. “We think of a calendar as time, but their calendar is about the unfolding of human consciousness evolution,” Mankey explains. “They believe the energies of the Universe are teaching us to find the humanity in everybody and that the only person we can really control is ourselves.”
Over the past two years, Mankey has been able to apply some of what she learned in the workshop and in subsequent study of the Mayan Calendar to her field of student affairs and leadership. “It helps me realize as a dean that while I’m responsible for a lot of people, I can’t control them, I am responsible to hold them accountable for their choices and to give them opportunities to learn,” she says. ‘It also makes me pay attention to what I value and how I’m modeling that, or not.”
She has also worked to share her newfound knowledge with others. This May, Mankey presented a paper on leadership and the Mayan Calendar at the International Leadership Association Symposium on Worldly Leadership, in England. She has also presented papers on the subject at academic conferences across the U.S. and will present in the Czech Republic and Bermuda (at the TC-sponsored Transformative Learning Conference) in November.
In a way, it’s a continuation of the work she began in the AEGIS program at TC. Her dissertation was on holistic leadership, which Mankey defines as a balance leaders can achieve through the “Four E’s:” Enlightened self-awareness, Ethics, Empowerment and Empathy. She has fond memories of TC’s faculty, especially Lyle Yorks, Victoria Marsick and Jeanne Bitterman, and of the AEGIS program itself: “It gave me the courage to want to teach,” she says.

Published Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009