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Cultivating faculty leaders: Emory’s Academic Leadership Program
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Ashlee Gardner
Group photo at the Academic Leadership Program Graduation Ceremony

The 2023-24 program participants included (L-R) Pearl Dowe, Anandi Sheth, Kristy Kiel Martyn, Anna Erickson, Philip Ojo, Jennifer McGee, Margo Bagley, Gulisa Turashvili and Julia Bullock.

— Byoodefel Media

Gathered in the Woodruff Library’s Jones Room on a summer Friday afternoon, an assembly of faculty from across Atlanta capped off a year of transformative programming designed to develop the next generation of leaders in higher education. The event was the graduation ceremony for an innovative offering from Emory’s Office of the Provost called the Academic Leadership Program.

Managed by the Office of Faculty Affairs, the program brings together faculty members from both Emory and Atlanta-area colleges and universities for a full academic year of leadership development workshops and programming. This year’s cohort included participants from Emory, Agnes Scott College, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University and Morehouse College. (See the full list of participants in the box below.)

Designed to cultivate future university leaders, the curriculum equips participants with not only leadership development tools but also a comprehensive understanding of higher education’s complex landscape. Monthly day-long workshops cover topics including leadership styles, strategic planning and governance, diversity and inclusion, conflict resolution and public relations.

“It felt like a rendezvous of academic Atlanta. We all met in-person, and we exchanged ideas and viewpoints,” says Philip Ojo, professor of French at Agnes Scott College. “The program, along with networking with other participants, broadened and deepened my understanding of key issues and challenges across the spectrum of higher education. I learned essential leadership skills needed to address those issues.”

Pearl Dowe, now vice provost for faculty affairs, participated in the program as an Oxford College professor during the 2021-2022 academic year. This year, she organized and led the program along with Rebecca Nurse, senior director of programming and special events.  

“Increased complexity around higher education requires a deep bench of leaders to address challenges and opportunities,” says Dowe. “I’ve experienced the program from both sides and know its value. Participants acquire skills that translate regardless of role or university, and they take what they learn back to their home schools. New perspectives and competencies will be applied to managing teams, communicating effectively and developing new policies and procedures.”

In addition to developing skills around leading an academic unit or program, participants were afforded the opportunity to learn about themselves. Everyone took the Birkman personality assessment and had a 360-degree assessment with feedback from personal and professional contacts.

“Starting off this journey by understanding our strengths and how we were perceived as leaders was a good way for the learning modules to be more impactful and intentional,” says Jessica Sales, professor of behavioral, social and health education sciences in the Rollins School of Public Health.

Participants were divided into teams to work on group projects throughout the program. The project topics were chosen based on current challenges faced by academic leaders. Each team produced a presentation and a white paper.

This year’s project titles included:

  • Freedom of Speech, Social Media, and Public Discourse
  • Recognizing Public Scholarship and Community-Engaged Research as Scholarship in the Tenure and Promotion Process
  • Impact and Wisdom of Embracing Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education

Motivations for joining the program vary. Some participants are currently in leadership positions and others are thinking about making the transition from teaching to administration.

Julia Bullock, professor of Japanese Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, began a new role as director for the Halle Institute for Global Research shortly before joining the program.

“I've been in this role for just under a year, and much of my learning has been on the job, as with any new position,” says Bullock. “This program came at the perfect time and dovetailed nicely with what I am learning.”

As this year’s participants reflect on their experience and contemplate new opportunities, Ravi Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, shared words of encouragement at their graduation celebration: “It is a challenging time to be in academic leadership; there’s much to be done. We find meaning by guiding students and research toward a better future. I am delighted you all raised your hands to do this important work.” 

Learn more about the Academic Leadership Program.

2023-24 Participants

Emory University

Margo A. Bagley, School of Law
Vice dean; Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law

Julia Bullock, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor of Japanese studies; director, Halle Institute for Global Research

Kristy Kiel Martyn, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Professor of nursing; associate dean for education; Independence Chair in Nursing

Jennifer McGee, Oxford College
Associate professor of psychology

Jessica Sales, Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH)
Professor of behavioral, social and health education sciences; co-director, Prevention and Implementation Sciences Core of the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR); director, Emory CFAR implementation Science Hub; co-director, RSPH Maternal and Child Health Certificate Program

Anandi Sheth, School of Medicine
Professor of medicine; associate vice chair of faculty development

Gulisa Turashvili, School of Medicine
Assistant professor, pathology and laboratory medicine 

Atlanta Colleges and Schools

Georgene Bess-Montgomery, Clark Atlanta University
Interim chair; associate professor, English and modern languages

Anna Erickson, Georgia Institute of Technology
Woodruff Professor and associate chair for research

Triscia Hendrickson, Morehouse College
Professor of biology; associate provost for research and student training

Philip A. Ojo, Agnes Scott College
Professor and director, French program

Adeel Syed Khalid, Kennesaw State University
Professor of systems engineering; assistant chair, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Southern Polytechnic School of Engineering and Engineering Technology

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