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Nov. 3, 2011 Volume 33, No. 11

Faculty, staff emerge as leaders through Chancellor’s program


Employees amp up MU involvement

Graduates from last year’s Chancellor’s Emerging Leaders Program have continued the tradition of setting this year’s curriculum as a class assignment. The program was instituted last year, founded by the Administrative Leadership Development Program as a class project.

Emerging Leaders alumni, who consist of MU employees, have a large role in tweaking the program to fit the needs of the following year’s class.

“It’s an organic kind of organization,” said Karen Touzeau, associate vice chancellor. “The alumni give us feedback on what we can do differently as we go from year to year.”

The Chancellor’s Emerging Leaders Program was created to assist entry-level leaders achieve their goals on campus. The program is open to faculty and staff, and participants have spanned the campus with positions in a variety of fields, including fiscal analysts, Ph.Ds., managers and M.D.s.

“It’s a pretty impressive group,” said Robin Walker, unit coordinator at the graduate school and current participant. “We share bio sketches with one another, and pretty much everyone in the program has accomplishments in their respective positions. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better.”

This year’s class was selected from more than 90 applicants, Touzeau said, and a committee consisting of predominantly alumni chose the 30 who would make up this year’s leaders.

The curriculum began in September, and opened by introducing participants to the LEADS (Leadership Enhancement and Development System) to help them self-evaluate their strengths and areas to work on. In December, the class will receive their assessment results and will begin meeting monthly, with the remainder of the curriculum built around targeting the areas in which participants have received feedback.

Touzeau said one of the most popular sessions is the three-day workshop in January, where the program teaches the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

“The material is timeless,” she said. “It deals with personal as well as professional development, your purpose not only in the job but in life — the whole work/life balance.”

Walker said she is looking forward to getting her results back, and strengthening her abilities.

“I always feel that I have room for improvement,” she said. Walker said she is particularly interested in working on situated leadership — learning how to read the context of the situation and be flexible in her leadership style.

“You can’t have a one-size fits all mentality,” Walker said.

Walker also said she feels that her membership in the program will help amp up her involvement around the MU campus.

“In my current position, I don’t have the opportunity to collaborate across campus in different programs,” she said. “This is more of a service opportunity for me.”

Rachelle Duke, the LEADS administrator and executive staff assistant to Touzeau, said this fits well with the program’s ultimate goals. They hope that after a few graduating classes, the Emerging Leaders alumni will serve as ambassadors and voices on campus.

“They are more up to date on campus,” said Duke, emphasizing that the leaders could use their roles to foster understanding in programs such as retirement benefits. “It will be interesting for them as leaders,” she said.

Suzanne Neff, one of last year’s graduates, said she has already taken advantage of some of the skills she had learned in the program.

“I feel more confident going into situations,” she said, adding she has learned the right way to approach situations to create a positive outcome. “I learned the skills, but then I am also able to use those skills to help people that I work with to be better. It feels good to see success.”

This year’s Chancellor’s Emerging Leaders Program class has already been filled, but future leaders can visit in the spring of 2012 to apply for next year’s sessions.

— Megan Cassidy