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University launches Leadership Academy

The University recently enrolled a 10-person class in its first Leadership Academy, which is designed to groom a new generation of leaders for the campus.

“We’re moving the way of corporations that realize that leaders are their future,” said Shelley Dionne, associate professor in the School of Management and associate director of the Center for Leadership Studies. “We’re not that different. Everyone is managing individuals, and if we can make them better at that segment of their job, we’ll have happier employees.”

Staff members from the Center for Leadership Studies are running the academy, which includes individual leadership assessments and development plans, one-on-one mentoring, booster sessions and other opportunities to improve skills ranging from coaching to data analysis. What sets the program apart is its focus on transformational leadership, a hallmark of Binghamton’s research-based leadership and development programs, Dionne said.

Sylvia Hall of the University Center for Training and Development noted the strategic plan addresses investing in people at the University. It’s her view that these investments are vital to perpetuating the excellence for which Binghamton is known.

“It’s simply about recognizing excellent people, then grooming them and keeping them,” she said.

The first academy class includes two people from each of the University’s five divisions. More than 30 people applied to the competitive program. Hall said she hopes the academy will be offered annually; discussions are also under way about a possible sister program for academics.

Mary Daly, interim associate director of the Discovery Program, is one of the participants.

“I think it’s already changing the way I look at my job and my work here at the University,” she said. “It certainly makes you take a hard step back at your leadership and where you want to go with it.”

Daly said she finds herself trying to praise people more and do more to identify employees’ strengths. She said she values the opportunity the academy offers for reflection, too.

“Already we’re having conversations with the 10 people in the group and connecting with them and sharing our experiences as well as the work we’re doing at the University,” she said. “It’s been a powerful experience.”

Dionne said the academy offers participants lessons and information they can use on the job right away. If these managers get better at what they do and pass on the skills they acquire to the people they lead, the University can potentially create a huge pool of leaders, she said.

“It’s an intense commitment for the participants,” Dionne said. “They’re going to grow and develop faster. This is an action-oriented leadership development program.”

Academy’s First Class
The members of the first Leadership Academy class are: Elizabeth Carter, director of the Discovery Program; Suzanne Howell, interim director of Residential Life; Scott Hancock, assistant director for Licensing, Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships; Mary Daly, interim associate director, Discovery Program; Venkat Ananthanarayanan, assistant dean, Information Systems, Graduate School; Murnal Abate, assistant director for summer and winter sessions, Continuing Education and Outreach; Katie Ellis, director of communications in the Department of Communications and Marketing; Mike Hizny, assistant director, networking – Information Technology Services; Karren Bee-Donohoe, long-term planning director, Physical Facilities; and Francine Montemurro, University ombudsman.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08