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“At a time when higher education is facing unprecedented challenges, the role of faculty members as effective and passionate advocates for a meaningful, rigorous and strong academic foundation for our citizenry has never been more important.”

That’s how Dr. Sara Zeigler, dean of EKU’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, described the need for the University’s Faculty Leadership Institute, which she co-chaired recently with Dr. Russell Carpenter, executive director of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity.

Seventeen faculty members, representing a cross-section of the academic community, attended the second annual institute, held Jan. 8-9 in the Faculty Center in the Keen Johnson Building.

The event “is designed to provide faculty with the skills to lead from where they are,” Carpenter said, “regardless of whether they are interested in moving into administration. Many faculty are asked to take on leadership roles – chair a committee, coordinate a program, or serve on Faculty Senate. This experience provides skills faculty can use when they are called upon to lead.”

Session topics ranged from “Landscape of Higher Education Leadership: Transparency and Trust” to “Creating a Respectful Climate of Leadership” and from “Funding Realities” to “Managing Difficult Conversations,” among other subjects.

Presenters, in addition to Zeigler and Carpenter, were Dr. Lynnette Noblitt, Dr. Joan Beck, Dr. Shirley O’Brien, Dr. David McFaddin, Dr. Jerry Pogatshnik, Dr. Lori Wilson and Dr. Matt Winslow. O’Brien, Wilson and Winslow comprised the planning committee.

This year’s participants were Stephanie Adams, Dr. Gaby Bedetti, Heather Beirne, Dr. Jacob Domenghini, John Fitch III, Dr. Michelle Gremp, Dr. James Maples, Dr. Jill Parrott, Dr. Beth Polin, Dr. Erin Presley, Dr. Gina Purdue, Dr. Charlotte Rich, Dr. Stephen Richter, Cristina Tofan, Dr. Kelly Watson, Dr. Timothy Wiggins and Dr. Weiling Zhuang.

“Faculty members are the key to adapting to the new environment,” Zeigler said, “and we hope to play a role in preparing them for this work, in whatever roles they choose for themselves.”