Waldron’s Faculty Leadership Academy a First at Radford
In an initiative to develop leadership skills and encourage collegiality, the Waldron College of Health and Human Services has established the Faculty Leadership Academy, the first group of its kind at Radford University.
“The overarching goal of the academy will be to share gained leadership skills with colleagues who have not yet had opportunities to acquire these experiences,” said Raymond Linville, dean of the college. “They have volunteered to participate and give of their time in assisting others with instructional skills, scholarly endeavors and services to professional organizations or community agencies.”
Charter members of the group are Waldron Professors Ellen Birx, Virginia "Ginger" Burggraf, Kim Carter, Elise Fullmer, Diane Hodge and Lisa Onega. With Provost Sam Minner attending as a guest, the group held its first meeting Oct. 21.
The members described their current work and personal leadership styles, told how their careers evolved into leadership positions and recalled their mentors. A common thread in their narratives was that they began their careers with the aim of helping others and that they see humility as a key element in true leadership.
Minner told the group, “Good leadership has been and remains critical in all organizations, but the challenges facing higher education today make it even more so. Adequate academic leaders are not good enough.
“We must identify, nurture and support the development of superlative leaders if the academy will continue to prosper. I salute Dean Linville for his recognition of this reality and his bold actions to address it."
The Waldron academy’s mission is to encourage and support:
- the College Leadership Team on matters of teaching and learning.
- assimilation of intellectual discovery and creativity in teaching.
- academic freedom and vigorous collegial debate.
- relationships that provide opportunities for scholarly interactions.
- recognition and advancement of outstanding faculty members.
- contributions to the knowledge and understanding of the professions.
While the organization is still developing, members decided that it will comprise a leadership team and committees for nominations, development and recognition.
Several schools in the United States have similar teaching and leadership academies, including Texas Tech University, New Mexico State University and the University of Washington. Such groups typically organize so that deans and faculty can expand their skills, share experiences and interact with other leaders in the field.
Minner told Waldron’s charter group, “Most all leadership positions are not positional. That doesn’t make a leader. True leaders are people of integrity. You can trust them. The best leaders are selfless.”