Leadership Academy’s sixth year kicks off with 14 members of faculty, staff

The Leadership Academy class of 2018-19 includes (from left) Megan Nicholson, Chelsea Reavis, Jonathan Wade (academy co-director), Michael Birch, Jenny Stewart, Jeanie Wyderko, Lisa Gaetano, Ricky Lanning, Mackensie Jimison, Deidre Hopkins, Teri Domalgolski, Amanda Murchie (academy co-director), Don Strickland and John Walsh. Not Pictured: Judy Flemming and Porscha Street Elton.

Western Carolina University’s sixth annual Leadership Academy kicked off Friday, Sept. 21, with a retreat titled “The Landscape of Leadership.”

This year’s Leadership Academy consists of 14 WCU faculty and staff members for the yearlong sessions that are designed to grow leaders at all levels, regardless of their title or position. Participants meet approximately twice a month during the academic year, engaging in sessions that are focused on real-life challenges and opportunities, as well as experiential sessions in which they will explore key aspects of the campus and Western North Carolina.

“We’ve got a great mix of people from across the university, ranging from folks that keep the campus safe in emergency management to faculty members. It’s a good balance of folks,” said Jonathan Wade, acting director of Coulter Faculty Commons.

Wade is a co-director of the academy, representing faculty members. Business officer Amanda Murchie is the other co-director, representing staff members. The Leadership Academy is sponsored through the Office of the Provost.

This year academy members are Michael Birch, associate director of intramurals/club sports; Teri Domagalski, associate professor of business management; Judy Fleming, academic adviser; Lisa Gaetano, chief audit officer; Ricky Lanning, human resources consultant; Chelsea Reavis, parking enforcement operations manager; Jenny Stewart, coordinator of teaching education advising; Don Strickland, Graduate School technical support; John Walsh, assistant professor of broadcasting; Jennie Wyderko, research protections officer; Mackensie Jimison, administrative support associate for Center for Service Learning; Megan Nicholson, emergency services telecommunicator; Deidre Hopkins, executive assistant for the general counsel; and Porscha Street Elton, academic adviser.

The group will study the book “Reframing Academic Leadership,” by Lee G. Bolman and Joan V. Gallos. The theme for this year’s academy is “Leadership In Times Of Change,” which revisits a previous topic, Wade said.

“We thought it was a really important thing for us to consider, given the fact that we’ve got a lot of moving pieces this year with the new chancellor search, all of our new students and the continued growth. There are a lot of things happening,” he said.

The academy concludes May 13-17 with its annual five-day bus tour of WNC counties where members, along with other senior administrators and campus leaders, learn about the region WCU serves and how to strengthen relationships between the university and surrounding communities.

Applications for the Leadership Academy are accepted in the spring. For more information, visit the website.