As the UO Leadership Academy enters its third year, it will continue to explore core assumptions of what it means to be a leader at the University of Oregon.
“Ultimately, we hope the academy helps shift the mentality that leadership is simply a positional designation or management role,” said Chris Esparza, director of diversity, inclusion and leadership development at the UO School of Law and one of the academy’s organizers. “We hope the academy helps build an institutional culture that frames leadership as relational, inclusive, service-oriented and transformational.”
The academy is a leadership development program for mid- and senior-level officers of administration and faculty members. The program operates under the belief that the integration of diverse backgrounds and life experiences is valuable to enhancing group effectiveness and learning.
“In order to become transformational leaders on the University of Oregon campus, we need to understand how we each contribute to the university’s mission in important and unique ways,” said Sierra Dawson, associate vice provost for academic affairs and an organizer of the academy. “A strength of the program is that it brings together faculty and officers of administration from different parts of campus in community with one another.”
On the recommendation of a group of campus leaders, administrators in the Office of the Provost and the Division of Equity and Inclusion established the academy to provide visibility, mentorship and leadership training opportunities for faculty members and officers of administration as a way to grow diverse and talented leaders within the university.
“As a member of this community, I am encouraged to know our campus leaders are investing in our development in this unique and concentrated way,” said Jennifer Espinola, dean of students at the UO School of Law and an academy organizer. “I truly look forward each month to spending a day with talented colleagues from across campus to talk about how we can enhance our leadership perspectives and skills. It’s inspiring.”
To accomplish this, the academy provides participants with opportunities to learn from the scholarship of leadership and personal growth, while providing participants with an environment in which they can learn from others across different backgrounds and disciplines.
The academy meets once a month for an academic year, participating in leadership development and self-reflection activities. This collaborative environment allows participants to understand and improve their own leadership style while fostering a community of like-minded leaders on campus.
“I have appreciated the opportunity for structured self-reflection and the facilitators are fantastic,” said Angela Davis, professor of accounting and senior associate dean of faculty affairs in the Lundquist College of Business. “I have also enjoyed building relationships with my cohort and learning more about them and their roles on campus.”
For the academy’s third class, organizers hope to grow a community of active, engaged and diverse leaders working to ensure the UO is a place where all faculty members, staff and students can reach their full potential.
—By Jesse Summers, University Communications