Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

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UNLV leadership development initiative

Posted: January 29, 2013



            The last several months have revealed many issues on campus that require focused attention from the office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. While we are still catching up in many areas of providing academic leadership that UNLV has lacked in the recent past, we are also beginning this spring to roll out new initiatives that we believe will start to change the institution, for the long term. One of these initiatives is to undertake a pro-active, inclusive and engaged approach to the development of future campus leaders at UNLV.  For an increasingly diverse campus, developing leaders from underrepresented communities is of particular concern.  In order to address both of these issues, my office is launching a set of initiatives aimed at cultivating campus leaders.  Two of these programs will be formally announced and questions answered at a launch event on March 14, 2013, at 3:00 in the Stan Fulton Building.  Please plan to attend and RSVP with Sandie Gajkowski at .

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Origin of this Initiative

            One of the key roles of the Provost is identifying and developing campus leaders who are capable of guiding the University toward its identified goals.  While this role is prominently associated with our national searches for high-level administrators, developing our own campus leaders is a crucial part of the Provost’s job.  Whether campus leaders serve in administrative posts or lead from their position as teachers and researchers, identifying and developing them aids the University and ensures its future.  Recognizing a growing crisis in campus leadership (as evidenced by our overreliance on associate professors for key administrative positions and an underrepresentation of women and minority faculty in various leadership positions), I organized a working group to discuss how to better develop campus leaders, particularly from the ranks of the women and underrepresented minorities on campus. The working group consists of President Emerita Carol Harter, Presidential Senior Advisor Rainier Spencer, Associate Vice Provost Monica Lounsbery, and Academic Fellow Liam Frink. Noting her experience conducting leadership training of this type at Ohio University, the working group recently added Vice President Juanita Fain.

The working group has met several times to discuss possible leadership development initiatives.  Apart from the specific task of developing future leaders, the working group noted the need for more extensive professional development for current campus leaders, particularly chairs.  At the March 14 event the working group plans to roll out the two initiatives set out below.

Initiative One: University Leadership Discussion Panels

            The first initiative is a series of panel discussions on the key leadership roles at the modern university: chairs, deans, vice presidents, and presidents.  The panel discussions are roughly modeled on the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) biennial program for law professors interested in entering law school administration ( but broken into four afternoon sessions spread throughout the year.  Each panel will explore one level of university administration, highlighting the nature of the job(s), the attributes needed to be successful, and the qualifications that make for attractive candidates.  We expect to invite panelist from a wide array of schools to highlight differences and commonalities across institutions.  These panels will be followed by a question and answer session that we hope will be robust.  We also expect to invite feature speakers who will talk about their career paths and the lessons learned throughout their careers.  Like the SALT program, this initiative is aimed at developing a more diverse university administration.  Consequently, the panel and speakers will be asked to address the challenges for women and underrepresented minorities in leadership positions; however, these panels will be open to all UNLV faculty and we encourage you to attend.

Initiative Two: UNLV Leadership Development Academy

            The second initiative is an intensive leadership training program: the UNLV Leadership Development Academy.  Between March 14 and April 12, 2013, the working group will accept proposals for the academy from candidates.  From this pool we will select up to four Leadership Development Fellows for participation in a yearlong program.  Fellows will attend biweekly seminars on topics facing university administrators and will be imbedded with at least two different UNLV administrators, shadowing them and working on a project from within their portfolio. Leadership Development Fellows will receive a service reassignment.  While participation in the program will not be tied to nor guarantee any administrative appointment, we believe the academy will help groom future administrators.  Additional details regarding what a strong proposal might contain will be forthcoming.