Dean's Fellow Program: Training faculty for leadership

Building the next generation of faculty leaders is a major challenge facing higher-education institutions nationwide. Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), through a new leadership program, is taking steps to groom the next generation of faculty leaders and address the challenge. The Dean’s Fellows Program, offered through WSSU’s College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education, is designed to enhance academic leadership development for faculty leaders.

Dr. Corey Walker

“In order to achieve our highest institutional goals, we need outstanding academic leaders. What better way to cultivate the next generation of academic leaders than with members of our outstanding faculty at Winston-Salem State University,” said Dr. Corey D.B. Walker, WSSU Dean of The College and John W. and Anna Hodgin Hanes Professor of the Humanities. “The Dean’s Fellows Program offers faculty the opportunity to advance novel solutions to strategic issues facing the College.”

Dr. Frank Ingram, associate professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, and Dr. Shannon Mathews, associate professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences, have been selected as the first fellows of the program. They were selected by Dean Walker.

“I am extremely delighted that Frank and Shannon will serve as our inaugural Dean’s Fellows. They are tremendous scholars and teachers in their own right and have demonstrated outstanding academic leadership at the departmental level,” Walker said. “They possess a tremendous insight into our university and higher education. I look forward to working with and learning from them in the coming year.”

Dean’s Fellows, who were announced during a monthly meeting of the chairs and directors in The College last spring, maintain their current professional commitments during the academic year, while taking advantage of opportunities to learn and gain broad exposure to academic administration. The program is designed for tenured faculty.

The program, which runs through the academic year, consists of three major components:

  • Leadership, which focuses on developing academic leadership skills and abilities through a series of campus-based leadership events along with exposure to university leaders.
  • Management, which focuses on particular project or a strategic challenge addressed by the Dean’s Fellow to provide innovative outcomes to be adopted to advance the institution’s strategic goals.
  • Mentoring, which focuses on exposure to select senior university leadership who serve as mentors to the Dean’s Fellow in cultivating a leadership experience and talents of the Fellow.

Walker said the longterm goal of the program is to have it become part of the institutional fabric of the university. “As we continue to cultivate and develop new academic leaders, the university will be optimally positioned to achieve its strategic goals. The program will remain small so that we can carefully and critically curate the experiences of the Fellows,” said Walker.

Dr. Frank Ingram

Dr. Frank Ingram

Ingram, a native of Ayden, North Carolina, graduated from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a degree in mathematics. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from North Carolina State University. Prior to his 2008 arrival at WSSU, Dr. Ingram was a member of the faculty at Youngstown State University where he was a fellow in Project NExT, a program of the Mathematical Association of America for new Ph.D.’s dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. His primary research area is symmetric functions.

About selection: “I am absolutely delighted to have been selected as a Dean’s Fellow. I am joining a dynamic team. Dean Walker has an outstanding vision for The College and since his arrival, I have seen a great transformation. I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity and bring all I have to table to continue that momentum. I love being a professor and love being in the classroom and know that I have an impact on the students. I plan to use this platform to have a greater impact on a larger number of students.”

Dr. Shannon Mathews

Dr. Shannon Mathews

Mathews, a native of Pomona, California is a graduate of Pomona College and earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Kentucky.

Prior to joining WSSU in 2007, Mathews was an assistant professor in the Gerontology Program at Towson University in Maryland. She also served as an adjunct professor for Eastern Kentucky University where she taught in the Sociology Department. She is a scholar of at-risk aging populations, later life roles, and issues of diversity within an aging population with a focus on social justice, public policy, and community sustainability. She has published book chapters and scholarly articles on educating social work, counseling, and other professionals about the aging population and presented her scholarship at national and regional conferences.

About selection: “I am honored to be given an opportunity to grow and develop. The recognition of my potential from senior leadership and their willingness to mentor my development is genuinely appreciated. I look forward to being able to serve the university community in a greater capacity and expect the program to help me become a stronger leader.”

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