UO Leadership Academy recognizes first class of graduates

UO Leadership Academy graduates

The first class of the UO Leadership Academy will graduate May 31.

The group of 30 academic and administrative leaders, including officers of administration and faculty members, met monthly during the 2018-19 academic year to participate in workshops and self-reflection activities aimed to strengthen their leadership and communication skills.

“The Leadership Academy was an extremely positive experience for me,” said Vera Keller, associate professor of history and a cohort member. “The content of the trainings emphasized that leadership strength is to be found in honesty, understanding, empathy, trust and diversity.”

Designed to create an engaged learning environment, the program used evidence-based scholarship and best practices to provide participants with opportunities to hone their own leadership skills and learn from the diverse experiences of other cohort members.

“This first year of the UO Leadership Academy reinforced our connections to one another, even as we joined together from many different areas and roles around campus,” said Chris Esparza, director of diversity, inclusion and leadership at the School of Law and a member of the academy’s advisory team. “It reinforced our ability to co-create a shared future here at the UO, holding both the complexities and possibilities inherent in shifting the culture of leadership and enacting positive, sustainable changes around and beyond campus.”

The local coordinating team also included Jennifer Espinola, dean of students for the School of Law, and Sierra Dawson, associate vice provost for academic affairs. Each of the daylong workshops were facilitated by Idahlynn Karre, an award-winning higher education professional with experience as a university professor, administrator and speaker that has spanned 45 years.

“Throughout this first year, I was humbled and inspired by this group of dynamic professionals coming together to explore what it means to lead in our environment and ways of being and doing more effectively,” Espinola said. “I have a new group of colleagues who I trust and admire, and I feel personally invested in each person’s success and believe they are invested in mine as well.”

During the graduation, the academy will also be welcoming next year’s class “to develop and make visible the leaders from diverse identities and parts of campus that ensure UO is a place where all can reach their full potential,” Dawson said. “We will continue to engage our external facilitator, Idahlynn Karre, for some of the sessions, and the local coordinating team will bring additional UO-specific content and concerns into the remainder of curriculum.”

The Leadership Academy was developed with the support of the Division of Equity and Inclusion and the Office of the Provost. More information about the Leadership Academy is available on the Office of the Provost website.

—By Jesse Summers, University Communications