Second Wright Leader Academy kicks off with new cohort of emerging university leaders

The second Wright Leader Academy cohort includes 14 participants from across the university. (Photo by Matt Helton)

Wright State University President Cheryl B. Schrader, Human Resources support team members and graduates from last year’s inaugural Wright Leader class packed the room Aug. 23 to kick off the university’s second Wright Leader Academy cohort.

“I’m so pleased that Wright State has this type of leadership program because it is very important,” said Schrader. “I hope this program helps you add to your leadership toolbox and helps us identify how you will help us move forward in our next 50 years.”

Launched last year by Human Resources and directly supported by the associate provost’s office, Wright Leader is designed to facilitate leadership development opportunities for employees that can be tough to find in higher education. The program is considered an important and valuable professional development opportunity for Wright State faculty and staff.

“Our key goals in developing this program were to provide high-performing employees a chance to grow their leadership toolbox, to strengthen collaboration among participants through relationship building and to facilitate a pipeline of talent that has a broad university perspective and willingness to promote a culture of excellence,” said Shari Mickey-Boggs, associate vice president and chief human resources officer.

Participants in the 2017-18 cohort include:

  • Julia Acosta, director, Office of Latino Affairs
  • Paula Bubulya, associate professor and associate chair, biological sciences
  • Seth Gordon, director, Veteran and Military Center
  • Kurt Holden, police sergeant, Wright State Police Department
  • Jonathan Jackson, manager, Desktop Services, CaTS
  • Deborah Lundin, associate director, Research and Sponsored Programs
  • Jacqueline Neal, assistant dean, College of Science and Mathematics
  • John Needles, manager, Medical Academic Operations, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • Sue Polanka, associate university librarian, University Library
  • Sean Pollock, associate professor, history, and faculty director, Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Debra Radford, business manager, Facilities Management and Services
  • Shu Schiller, associate professor and chair, information systems and supply chain management
  • Lafleur Small, professor, sociology and anthropology, and director, applied behavioral science
  • Jonathan Winkler, professor and chair, history

Cohort participants must apply and interview to participate in the program. They are selected because they have already demonstrated an ability to contribute and lead change at Wright State and are poised to take the next step in their careers.

The full-day, once-a-month leadership sessions begin in September and conclude in May.

Facilitated this year by Emily Hamman, Human Resources business partner and staff labor relations director, leadership sessions typically start with presentations by outside subject-matter experts. Then leaders from various Wright State functions visit the cohort to share information about their leadership styles and how their areas connect to the mission of the university and trends facing higher education.

“Wright Leader is helping us nurture our homegrown talent. We will have leaders that are prepared, leaders that are trained, leaders that are thinking holistically about the institution,” said Hamman.

“Our hope is that at the end of this process, we have exposed them to a variety of leadership styles and given them lots of tools to be introspective,” said Mickey-Boggs. “By spring they should have a variety of best practices to model, understand their role and their interaction and engagement with the university at a higher level and have a network of peers bonded together from this unique experience to reach out to.”

Wright Leader is sponsored by the Wright State University Foundation.

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Wright State became an independent institution in 1967 and spent the next 50 years growing into an innovative leader in affordable and accessible education. In 2017, it celebrates its 50th anniversary and sets the course for the next half century.

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