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Staff Leadership Academy
Imagine what it would feel like to step into work every day, no matter your role, as an empowered leader whose contributions are recognized and celebrated. What if it were possible to cultivate an organizational culture where you feel engaged and empowered as a staff member? What would it feel like to work in an organization where you feel deeply valued and your personal and professional development is highly prioritized?
The College of Liberal Arts’ Staff Leadership Academy takes bold steps toward building that workplace. Through this program together we:
- Empower staff to step into their full leadership genius
- Cultivate a community of outstanding, courageous, and transformative leaders
- Build an organizational culture where we face challenges as opportunities
- Stress less while accomplishing more
- Work collaboratively to build a supportive and growth-minded community that furthers our individual and collective mission and work
In Fall 2021, the College of Liberal Arts launched the inaugural Staff Leadership Academy. This 9-month program runs each academic year from September through May. The program has one, 3-hour live session per month, and weekly, 1-hour small practice group sessions, with meetings taking place in-person or virtually as necessary. The total time commitment per month is approximately 10 hours, consisting of live sessions, practice group meetings, and individual study. All monthly sessions and practice groups are held during work hours and considered work time. Additional reading and preparation may be necessary during personal time.
The Staff Leadership Academy is a place where you and the College make a mutual investment in your personal and professional growth, as a human and a leader. You will learn, practice, and build your skills in transformative communication, collaborative leadership, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. You will gain insight and strategies on how to handle challenges and breakdowns in your work and relationships. You will design a leadership project that captures your unique genius and launches your message more fully into the world. And you will do all of this with the support of a committed community of colleagues who will hold space for you to grow in your curiosity and impact. If you are ready to expand and deepen your leadership journey, this program is for you.
- Phase I: Foundations
The first month of the program orients you to the goals and structure of the program, focusing on cultivating a collaborative learning environment. We explore concepts and skills such as vulnerability and courage, growth mindset, holding paradox, grit and anti-fragility. A focus on diversity, equity and inclusion is infused throughout this and all phases of the 9-month curriculum.
The next two months of the program center on community building and deep skill development and practice, focusing on the relational tools needed to thrive as leaders. We expand upon the themes introduced in month one, adding topics such as building an inclusive workplace, transformative communication, utilization and resourcefulness, among others.
- Phase II: Collaborations
The second phase of the program is designed to connect and engage you with leaders from across campus, to deepen your well of resources and grow your network of collaborators. We explore the concept of collaborative leadership and connect with and learn from premiere COLA and UT leaders and partners.
- Phase III: Expansion
The final three months are spent exploring new ways to approach challenges, failures, and breakdowns, as well as further honing communication and messaging skills. In this phase, you will develop an individual leadership project that addresses a need or challenge in your work. This phase is designed to put leadership skills into action. The program concludes in May with a "graduation" event where cohort members share their leadership projects with their cohort.
- Phase IV: ExpansionI am required.
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The COLA Staff Leadership Academy has given me a vastly new perspective on what successful leadership means. Beyond professional aspirations, I've also gained a valuable, deeper understanding of myself as a person. I'm really thankful for this experience and the thoughtful colleagues going through it with me.
Learn more about how practice groups are utilized during this program.Learn More
Learn more about the leadership project and how you will engage with this project throughout the program.Learn More
Learn more about the certification process for this program and the required materials.Learn More
Learn more about eligibility and how to apply for the program.Learn More
The planning team facilitates the monthly in-person sessions, along with invited collaborators who provide instruction and expertise on topics such as DEI, wellness, and mindfulness.
Heather Gatlin, Chief of Staff
Patty Prado, Executive Director of Career Initiatives
Tamela Walker, Director of Human Resources
COLA Staff Leadership Academy