Development programs to pay dividends for NSU


Northwestern State University is offering two new faculty and staff development programs, one for those in early and mid-career and another for newly positioned campus leaders.

IGNiTE is a two-semester program for early and mid-career faculty and staff interested in broadening their understanding of the institution’s vision, mission, and goals and in developing their academic, professional, or administrative leadership skills to support those principles. NSULeAds is an intensive leadership training program designed to facilitate the transition of recently positioned campus leaders into their new roles.

“Northwestern State’s biggest asset is its people,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “These innovative programs will help our faculty and staff better understand the university, develop stronger personal and professional ties and ultimately help provide a better overall opportunity for our students.”

According to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Handel, the IGNiTE program will immerse participants in the strategic framework of the university to maximize their understanding of how these core ideals drive NSU’s operation and initiatives. Handel said NSULeAds will feature interactive and educational experiences, mentor partnerships, and collaborative engagement with leaders from across the University.

“Participants in IGNiTE will develop a greater understanding of effective leadership fundamentals in higher education and how to recognize and culture those competencies in themselves and their colleagues,” he said. “NSU LeAds will take those who are in new leadership roles and provide them with experiences and opportunities that will lead to further professional growth.”

Handel stated that the goals for NSU’s IGNiTE program participants are to enhance understanding of personal and professional leadership competencies and gain familiarity with the strategic framework of Northwestern State. Other goals are to deepen understanding of how the strategic framework is incorporated into the operational decision making of the university and advance Northwestern State.

A diverse group of 15 faculty and staff were selected for the program. Participants attend nine half-day sessions spread throughout the fall and spring semesters. Handel hopes participants will develop a strong understanding of functional units within the University as well as exploring their personal leadership skills and competencies. Activities will include professional and social networking, engaging group projects, reflective reading and writing initiatives and a mentoring experience.

Those taking part are Anna Morris, coordinator, Non-traditional BSN Program, Bob Jordan, director of the Academic Success Center, Christie Price, assistant to the president, Dean Kostantaras, assistant professor of history in the Louisiana Scholars’ College and director of Study Away Programs, Emily Posey, associate bursar, Jeff Moore, associate men’s basketball coach, Jerona Washington, NSU@BPCC coordinator, Jerry Brunson, associate professor in the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, and Keith Dromm, professor of philosophy.

Other participants are Kim Johnson Liner, Title IX coordinator and director of student advocacy, Nabin Sapkota, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, Neeru Deep, instructor in the Department of Psychology, Nick Taylor, assistant professor in the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts, Oliver Molina, assistant professor of music and assistant director of bands, Roni Biscoe, executive director of institutional effectiveness and human resources, Sheri’ Wilson, assistant professor of nursing, Telba Espinoza-Contreras, director, International Student Resource Center and Study Abroad and Tracy Brown, chief technology officer.

Topics to be covered during NSULeAds include team building, diversity, equity and inclusion, goal setting and strategic planning, assessment, conflict resolution and community engagement and fundraising. Meetings will be held monthly through December.

At the first meeting, participants identified a potential mentor who is a seasoned leader on campus and does not work in their area. This mentor program will run concurrently with the leadership institute, with reports on mentor activities during a portion of each meeting. At the second meeting, the participants were assigned a project to develop a plan the campus community.

Participants are Katrina Jordan of the School of Education, Jim Mischler, head of the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies, Brett Garfinkel, head of the Department of Theatre Cade Stepp of the Office of University Recruiting, Chris Lyles, interim director of the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, Holly Shivers of the Department of Psychology, Joel Hicks, head of the School of Allied Health, John Dunn, Faculty Senate president and an assistant professor in the School of Creative and Performing Arts, Josh McDaniel, director of marketing and branding. Katarina Haymon, assistant director of First Year Experience, Ruth Weinzettle, head of the Department of Social Work, and Taquita Bell, director of admissions.