Louisiana Tech University has announced a new program designed to build leadership competencies for faculty and staff members; the President’s Leadership Initiative will instill the skills and provide the experiences necessary to develop the University’s future leaders.
According to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and the results of their 2022 Higher Education Employee Retention Survey, higher education in general is facing a crisis in retaining its talent with 57% of the workforce at least somewhat likely to look for other employment opportunities in the next 12 months. It further reports that “investment in career development” and “opportunities for advancement” are top among the areas of dissatisfaction for the higher ed workforce.
“Teams who work together effectively contribute to building a culture of trust,” said Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech President. “When leaders are empowered with the skills to lead change and build resilience, they are more likely to do the right things at the right moments in an increasingly complex global landscape. They are set up for success.”
Michele Robinson, who serves as Executive Director for the President’s Leadership Initiative, said the program will build on future leaders’ current skillsets and create new leadership competencies.
“We identify leadership as one of the Tenets of Tech – one of the cornerstones of the institution’s identity and the pillars upon which our mission and vision are built,” Robinson said. “Studies show organizations that invest in their leaders are more competitive, better able to attract and retain talent, and more likely to have long-term success. Valuable outcomes such as increasing revenue, changing culture, and creating transformation start with leaders who have the skills to take the right actions.”
Three current initiatives – the University of Louisiana System Management and Leadership Institute (MLI), the Louisiana Tech Leadership Institute (LTLI), and the Academic Leadership Initiative (ALI) – bring developing leaders from throughout the campus together to inspire innovation and partnerships.
“Even though effective leadership is often home-grown, traditional roles and structures within higher ed can inhibit what a faculty member, for instance, can and will know about admission, recruiting, budgeting, etc.,” said Dr. Jeremy Mhire, interim Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and ALI participant. “I applaud President Guice in undertaking this initiative. Louisiana Tech continues to attract talent from across the globe, and with opportunities like the President’s Leadership Initiative, we can now take that talent to new levels and develop it in ways previously unimagined.”
Associate Athletic Director for External Relations Reggie McIntyre said his LTLI class is full of individuals who have already attained success, but the program will help them work together to achieve greater success for the University.
“Louisiana Tech is filled with successful, motivated, brilliant individuals; the opportunity to be around strong leaders from all corners of campus who want to serve our students is invaluable,” McIntyre said. “This program has allowed me to enhance my knowledge about Tech’s structure, culture, and mission. Additionally, it has facilitated my reflection on who I am as a leader and how I can best leverage my skills to form fruitful collaborations in order to support our students.”
Participants engage in activities that help them better understand their behavioral preferences and therefore understand their leadership styles. Leaders hope this approach empowers participants to work and communicate more effectively with their teams and colleagues.
“The Louisiana Tech Leadership Institute has connected me both inwardly with my own professional and personal strengths and outwardly with individuals from all areas of campus as we work collaboratively to move the mission and vision of the University forward,” said Gavin Kelly, Social Media Strategist and member of this year’s LTLI class.
The President’s Leadership Initiative, Robinson said, is integral to the University’s progress toward achieving Goal One of its Tech 2030 Strategic Framework – developing leaders, learners, and mentors.
“Achieving the second and third goals – cultivating cooperation and innovation and advancing our sustainability initiatives and physical facilities – is dependent upon the first,” Robinson said. “When leaders have the skills to inspire, engage, and connect their teams, team members are more likely to be engaged with one another and to find purpose in the work they do as it connects to overall organizational impact.”
Current ALI participants are Dr. Mary Caldorera-Moore, Dr. Marcia Simmering Dickerson, Dr. Miguel Gates, Yolanda Hoof, Dr. Jeremy Mhire, Dr. Jamie Newman, Karl Puljak, Dr. Sheryl Shoemaker, Dr. David Szymanski, and Dr. Heath Tims.
Current LTLI participants are Wes Cavin, Krystal Corbett, Pasquale De Paola, Nicole Duet, Angela Dunnington, Ashley Jackson, Dr. Jane Jacob, Gavin Kelly, Keri King, Reggie McIntyre, Matthew “Monty” Montgomery, Lindsey Murry, Ashley Owen, Dr. Patrick Scott, LeAnn Waldroup, and Joanna Ward. Past participants include Dr. Jordan Blazo, Dr. Andrea Drake, Dr. Katie Evans, Megan Fair, Devin Ferguson, Dr. Miguel Gates, Dr. David Herda, Casey Ingram, Dr. Paul Jackson, Courtney Jarrell, Adam McGuirt, Dr. Terri Murray, Joe Peel, Dr. Ernie Rufleth, and Dr. David Szymanski.
Current and past MLI participants include Mortissa Harvey, Dr. Ernie Rufleth, Sam Speed, Adam McGuirt, Michele Robinson, Dr. Donna Thomas, Dr. Lindsey Keith-Vincent, Devonia Love-Vaughn, Stacy Gilbert, and Dr. Sheryl Shoemaker.