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College of Education Faculty Join ‘Network of Change Agents’ at Leadership Academy

Paula Short
UH Provost Paula Myrick Short launched a leadership academy in late 2013 to help the university grow its own leaders.

Posted Feb. 28, 2017 – One semester into her new leadership role at the University of Houston College of Education, Margaret Hale knew the importance of her own professional development.

So once a month over the last year, she attended training as a participant in the Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy, an initiative started by Paula Myrick Short, UH System senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

“We talked many times about the difficulties of leading – dealing with problems that come up and how to navigate those problems when someone is tenured,” said Hale, who became associate chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in August 2015. “I appreciated that we talked about developing shared meaning with people and learned specific tools to help us develop shared meaning with colleagues.”

Hale joined about 30 selected participants in the leadership academy, including three others from the College of Education: M. Nicole Coleman, associate professor of counseling psychology; Lyle McKinney, associate professor of higher education; and Bradley H. Smith, professor and director of the school psychology Ph.D. program. They celebrated their graduation during a ceremony in January 2016.

Faculty who previously graduated from the program are Cathy Horn, associate professor of higher education (2014); Mimi Lee, associate professor in curriculum and instruction (2014); and Norma Olvera professor in psychological health and learning sciences (2015).

Nicole Coleman, Margaret Hale, Lyle McKinney and Bradley Smith
College of Education faculty members Nicole Coleman, Margaret Hale, Lyle McKinney and Bradley Smith are graduates of the Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy.

Short developed the academy in late 2013 to help the university grow its own leaders.

“I’m very proud of our efforts to build a network of change agents and strategic leaders across the university,” said Short, who is also a distinguished professor in the College of Education. “By cultivating leadership skills and expertise among faculty, we are contributing to greater student success.”

The academy focuses on topics such as personal leadership style, conflict resolution and communication skills.

McKinney recalled one session where participants reflected on their own work habits and how they influence group dynamics.

“That experience showed us that to make a highly effective team you need people who are different and who have different work styles and abilities,” McKinney said. “For anybody who’s considering a leadership position or wants to polish and refine their leadership and communication skills, this academy instituted by the provost is an excellent way to prepare the next generation of leaders at UH.”

McKinney and other participants agreed that the connections they made with faculty across the university were invaluable.

“I look forward to putting what I have learned into action and helping to guide the department and college toward the successful pursuit of our mission and goals – while having some fun doing it,” Smith added.

The College of Education faculty chosen for the 2017 leadership academy are Jen Chauvot, chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Jorge Gonzalez, associate professor of school psychology; Anne McClellan, executive director for growth and innovation; Kimberly Schoger, human development and family studies program area coordinator; and Nathan Smith, associate professor of counseling psychology.

–By Ericka Mellon