The Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI) was designed to help African Americans become acquainted with the issues and challenges they must be aware of so they can overcome them in order to be considered for senior administrative positions or gain tenure and progress through the academic ranks. LMI assists participants in: 

·         Addressing the unique and often difficult challenges they my encounter as faculty or administrators of color.

·         Acquiring the skills necessary to help move their institutions forward.

·         Developing capacity to think through complex issues in a changing educational context and engaging in collaborative leadership.

The concept of the Leadership and Mentoring Institute was initiated in the fall of 1996 by members of the Black Caucus of the former American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). Concerned with the decline in professional development workshops, the Caucus sought a way to address this issue. However, what became apparent while the idea was in its infancy was a need for more intensive, sustained, and coherent professional development opportunities for African Americans desiring to advance through the academy’s administrative and professional ranks. The Caucus wanted to provide an experience to mitigate the effect of the glass ceiling in higher education for African Americans, who would cite isolation and a lack of support needed to be successful. To this end, the Board requested that members of the AAHE Executive Board develop a program that would identify and encourage professionals to engage in professional development experiences in higher education. Discussions at two “Summits on Blacks in Higher Education” focused on gathering data and sharing ideas for how to address the problem. One concrete solution that surfaced was to sponsor a Leadership and Mentoring Institute for Caucus members and other African Americans to help them acquire information and skills to prepare for senior administrative positions and senior academic rank. The inaugural Leadership and Mentoring Institute, held in 2003 on the campus of Savannah State University under the leadership of Dr. Joseph H. Silver, Sr., instituted two tracks for participants. One track was for those seeking to move into senior administrative positions and the other track was for junior faculty hoping to move into the tenured senior academic ranks.


Learn more about our Director of Residence Life, Lennon Prothro-Jones:

Lennon Prothro-Jones, Director of Residence Life, is no slouch when it comes to air miles either.  Early in his career he moved to Australia to serve as the Residential Life Manager at the University of Sydney and while he loved it there, the U.S. based company he worked for called him back to the States to work for the University of Texas Arlington.  He comes to Cal Maritime from nearly four years as Assistant Director of Residential Life at San Jose State University.  Lennon is settling into life in Vallejo, having just purchased a house and making plans for his wedding this October.

Lennon joined Cal Maritime in 2021 at a key juncture as we regain our footing with cadets living and attending classes on campus.

Q: What drew you to Cal Maritime?

“I am actually a “707” native!  I grew up in Vallejo/Benicia so this a bit of a homecoming with much of my family still being in the area.  But Maritime also has such a unique academic experience that I am really excited to learn and hopefully add value to.”

Q: The pandemic impacts the ability to connect with others socially.  What ideas do you have to address that?

“This year, though we anticipate having the ability to hold more activities and events in-person, we are going to continue to be creative in how we find ways to engage and develop cadets.  One idea that is already in motion is to have more social media presence, but to use those to better share the cadet experience and showcase the amazing things our cadets are doing.  Another aim is being able to expand the use of our common areas in hall for our on-campus residential cadets as the year goes on, and we are able to meet reasonable health measures for the spaces. For me, it is about making sure that as much as we have a goal for their experience, that we highlight the experiences while they are in them.  I am encouraged that it is not me alone who will help set that tone.  Whether it is the RHOs, other Res Life staff, ASCMA, or many of the other Student Affairs offices, we are pretty excited for having the cadets back and able to have a more complete cadet experience.”

Q: What challenges do you think need to be addressed at this time, in general and related to reopening full residence life during the pandemic?

“Honoring first and foremost our commitment to the heath and safety of our community. This encompasses physical health precautions we can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as the mental and other health challenges faced by our cadets, faculty, and staff. After that, maintaining the integrity of the academic experience and institutional mission. Retuning to full, in-person instruction for all cadets is a piece of this, but it also includes the range of academic support programs, services, and activities in which cadets engage. Finally, we need to remain prepared to change course in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, as circumstances dictate. This could mean adjusting campus policies around health and safety, academic instruction, or other areas, and doing so as seamlessly as possible.”

Q: What impact has living abroad had on you, personally and professionally?

“I was very fortunate in getting to work at the University of Sydney.  It was a remarkable experience.  Every university has its own culture and style, but adjusting to a different national approach was very eye opening.  The big thing was seeing how another country solved some of the same challenges every education system faces.  It was an opportunity to truly see the world from a different point of view, and I was able to learn so much about myself while also making great friends.  I never thought Res Life would take me overseas, and now I am working at a campus that is all about our cadets traversing those very seas, gotta love it.

Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus offers undergraduate degrees that prepare students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.