By University Communications
Last spring, the Chancellor’s Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP) graduated its inaugural class of nine participants. The program, which is led by Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Sue Edwards, provides development opportunities for department chairs, assistant chairs and academic administrators, preparing them for leadership and management roles at Appalachian and beyond.
Chancellor Sheri N. Everts created the program, she said, because she recognizes, “the faculty of Appalachian is strong and eager to pursue new opportunities.” Likewise, she recognizes, “Appalachian has much to gain from investing in our academic leadership.”
The inaugural nine were:
One key objective of the ALDP is for participants to develop an understanding of how a university works on a day-to-day basis. It provides future leaders a “30,000-foot view of how Appalachian operates within a larger university system,” Edwards noted. “This sort of overview is essential when preparing future leaders for roles in an academic institution such as Appalachian,” said Edwards. “We have extensive talent in the faculty and we hope to provide development opportunities to retain and promote that talent here, at Appalachian.”
Newly appointed to her role of interim vice provost, Edwards keenly understands the value of leadership training and development for those whose areas of expertise fall outside of academic administration. She acknowledges that she did not go to graduate school to become a department chair. “I was trained as a biologist,” she said. “My graduate training did not prepare me for becoming an administrator. I was just very fortunate to have had great mentors along the way, who provided me with development opportunities that challenged me in new ways.”
To that point, the goal of the leadership program goes beyond simply preparing future academic managers. Leadership, as Edwards explained, “is not about titles; it’s about valuing the people you work with; it is how you support them, and how you work with others to achieve results.” The ALDP, she explained, strives for a holistic and humanistic approach to developing future leaders.
Edwards is quick to point out that a program like the ALDP doesn’t happen alone. She recognized the dedicated team that worked with her to create the program: Walker College of Business Dean Heather Norris; Dr. Jim Denniston representing the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Dave Williams representing the Beaver College of Health Sciences; and Dr. Jim Toub representing the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
She uses her biologist’s frame of reference to explain that the benefits of the program apply not only to the faculty, but also to the university. “Evolution in an institution is as essential as it is in nature.”
Nominations to the program are made by a faculty member’s chairperson or dean. Applicants must be at the rank of associate or full professor and be interested in pursuing academic leadership positions. All participants have demonstrated evidence of professional leadership and service at department, college or university levels.
The 2016-17 ALDP is underway. Participants are:
For more information on the ALDP, visit http://aldp.appstate.edu.