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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

April 4, 2008

Leadership academy in the works

by Erin Rosacker

An advisory committee of faculty and staff is working to create an "Emerging Leaders Academy" at Iowa State, similar to a program initiated at the University of Colorado during ISU executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman's tenure there as president. The program will focus on developing the leadership skills of faculty and staff.

J.D. Beatty, a retired faculty member and administrator at ISU, is chair of the committee. He helped implement the leadership program at Colorado, where he served as Hoffman's chief of staff. Kevin Saunders, coordinator of continuous academic program improvement in Hoffman's office, also is facilitating the group.

"The idea is that higher education has not done as much as it could with providing leadership development for faculty and staff," Beatty said. "It's very common in the corporate world, not as common in higher education."

He said graduate schools generally prepare scholars to be outstanding in their field of study, but not for leadership roles such as department chair, college dean or provost. For staff, similar specialization is common, rather than studying to pursue senior administrative positions, such as vice president roles.

"This program will help people decide if administrative leadership is something they even want to do," Beatty said. "It's not geared to taking our current leaders and putting them through some kind of tune-up. It's looking for people who are in those tenured faculty or middle-management and above staff positions who think they might have an interest or talent for administrative leadership, but they're not quite sure what it is."

Committee members have taken a look at leadership programs around the country and at ISU. Beatty spent his first weeks back on campus gathering input from both current and former ISU leaders. In fact, he said most of these leaders will serve as mentors to program participants. Once the program is established, graduates can serve as an alumni group and might be added to the pool of mentors.

Right now, Beatty said, the committee is finalizing a set of outcomes for the program. A list of nearly a dozen curriculum components -- from personal understanding to organizational and communication theory -- are among them. Participants would attend an initial retreat-style gathering and a series of half-day or daylong sessions, workshops or interactive lectures on different topics over the course of a year.

Beatty said the committee will consider bringing in outside experts to lead some of the activities, but many of the facilitators may be right here.

"The committee feels that we have an enormously talented pool of people on campus that, in many cases, do this kind of work all over the country," he said.

The selection process still is being worked out by Hoffman's office, but membership likely will hover around 20 to 25 per "cohort" class, an equal mix of staff and tenured faculty. The committee is considering a tuition concept, with funds contributed by the department, college or division and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Beatty said the committee is working toward submitting a recommendation to Hoffman by the end of the semester. The program should launch this August or January 2009, depending on whether the committee decides to follow an academic- or calendar-year schedule.

"We want people to know what it is, be excited about it, be engaged and hopefully find it very, very helpful," Beatty said.

More information is online.


Find out more about a developing leadership program for ISU faculty and staff online.