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Why Your Peers Chose to Become Members
In 2018, Case Western’s new provost, Ben Vinson III, initiated and led a strategic planning effort that was designed intentionally to engage the full campus in the planning process, infusing the campus with cross-disciplinary, cross-unit thinking and approaches, and encouraging leaders among faculty and staff to think together as one campus community about the institution’s future and their opportunities to contribute to it. The challenge then was to find a way to sustain this momentum and creativity once the plan was written up and after the planning process was complete. Vinson also believed that leaders existed in all levels of the institution and across all disciplines and all units. He wanted to put resources in the hands of people who are not just the “usual suspects” or the most visible “high potential” leaders; he wanted to invest in the leadership and creativity of all faculty and staff; he felt this was essential to carrying forward the momentum of the strategic plan.
To help make this happen, Vinson established a partnership with Academic Impressions that included an enterprise-wide membership (all faculty and staff on campus have access) managed by the provost’s office. Academic Impressions spent time on the Case Western campus, meeting with the provost, the cabinet, the deans, HR, and faculty and staff leadership to help ensure we could get the right resources into the hands of the people in the institution who need it most—and that their membership is tailored to their needs. Vinson invited Academic Impressions to facilitate the provost’s monthly leadership roundtables. Each month, leaders from across the institution are provided with a research paper, an article on leadership, a recorded webcast, or an assessment (such as the 5 Paths to Leadership assessment), and Academic Impressions then facilitates a practical dialogue based on those resources. This keeps people throughout Case Western engaged in their leadership development every month, and rather than simply provide access to the resources, Case Western and Academic Impressions partner to guide them through the trainings and readings in their member library and how they can use each of these in a relevant and timely way.
An annual membership with Academic Impressions was a natural choice for Eastern Kentucky University. Our conferences and assessments had been integrated into EKU’s internal academic leadership development for years. This started when Sara Zeigler, EKU’s dean of the College of Letters, Arts, & Social Sciences, attended our Advanced Leadership in Higher Education conference in 2014; she was inspired to share the leadership development tools she had learned across her campus. She and Russell Carpenter, director of EKU’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity, both received training form Academic Impressions to facilitate the 5 Paths to Leadership assessment, which they used to develop cohorts of emerging leaders internally for five years; the tool proved comprehensive and adaptable to their needs. And to this day, Zeigler still keeps the resources binder from that 2014 conference on her desk to reference the tools in it.
When COVID-19 hit and rendered the academic workforce distributed and remote, Zeigler and Carpenter knew immediately that they needed to think differently about how to support and engage faculty and how to continue to develop faculty leadership. They knew they needed to provide faculty not just with care and compassion but also with practical support and just-in-time training to meet the extraordinary and unprecedented challenges involved in a rapid pivot to online learning during a national crisis. Over the years, Eastern Kentucky had sent department chairs and faculty leaders to many of our leadership development programs, appreciating the evidence-based approach and the practical nature of these trainings (focused on what you can change or do next week or the next month after the conference). That made Academic Impressions a logical choice for a training partner during the pandemic. Eastern Kentucky purchased a 100-user membership and distributed those 100 users across the institution to ensure that department chairs, risk management, advancement, enrollment management, and other key offices across the academic and administrative sides of the house all have access to the resources they need most, when they need them, to adapt during this difficult time.
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management
"Everyone is stressed and anxious, and there's a tremendous amount of pressure in their work and personal lives. Professional development creates space for people -- it's a little bit of breathing room in the midst of a hectic and crazy world... it's more important that we engage in professional development now than ever."