Five faculty members were chosen by Jack Hawkins, the chancellor of Troy University, to participate in the 2018 Chancellor’s Fellows Program. This year’s program will focus on leadership across the curriculum, according to John Kline, director of the Institute for Leadership Development.
“It will focus on how students can be made into servant leaders — ones that help others,” Kline said. “The appointed fellows are from different disciplines and will be working in infusing leadership core into all different disciplines.
“This year the fellows are all from different colleges, therefore providing an opportunity for them to investigate what’s going on in their own college and make recommendations that can be implemented to help students.”
For this year’s program, Hawkins selected Tori Lee Averett, chair of the department of theater and dance; Leora Waldner, associate dean for strategic innovation in the college of arts and sciences; Jason Wingate, chair of the leadership development and professional studies in the college of education; Stephanie Lewis, an associate professor in the school of nursing; and Courtney Baggett, an assistant professor of economics and finance.
Averett said her passion is to connect people through the arts and education. She described the program as “a chance to be a student in a new way.”
“I am grateful for the chance to learn more about our university, its values, its people and the many ideas and opportunities on the horizon, and I am eager to connect with others who are committed to making a difference as part of the Troy University community,” Averett said.
Averett emphasized the importance of commitment and said she hopes to exhibit that character trait in all aspects of her life, in her “commitment to community, commitment to positive growth and change, and commitment to the highest ideals of higher education.”
Waldner said that since she is located at Troy’s Atlanta campus, it is sometimes tougher to connect to people in Troy and that she sees this as an opportunity to learn from those who make things happen.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for me to get to know some of the inspiring figures at our university,” Waldner said.
She said by fostering leadership in more students through this program, they have a chance to better society as a whole. Waldner also hopes to use her vantage point as an online instructor to help include online students in the program as well.
Wingate said he feels that his selection means that other deans, directors and vice chancellors see his potential to have a positive impact on the university.
“I look forward to having a better understanding of how the university works as a whole,” Wingate said.
He also addressed the crucial need for the program’s theme of leadership, having seen a growing need for leaders.
“I feel like I can provide the student body with opportunities to refine their leadership abilities and raise up leaders for tomorrow,” Wingate said.
Before teaching at Troy, Lewis worked with high-risk infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“As a part of this university, I would like to develop a deep skill set, which extends beyond nursing and teaching,” Lewis said. “In that way, I will be able to best serve students and my colleagues.”
“Having the opportunity to closely examine what this concept means, how people fulfill this role and what it might mean to the university will be an enriching experience for all of us,” Lewis said of the servant leader aspect of the program.
She said each faculty member within the program brings a unique skill set to the project.
“My experience with vulnerable populations and health disparities might be valuable as our work progresses,” Lewis said.
She added that she is confident the outcome will build on the “already outstanding Institute for Leadership Development, the leadership courses in our curricula and opportunities on campus.”
Baggett, having worked primarily in the risk management insurance major, said she looks forward to the opportunity to branch out and learn more about the university.
“I think the program will provide me with a more holistic view of the university, which in turn will allow me to be both a better professor and a more informed colleague,” Baggett said. “Interacting with my colleagues from other areas of the university will also allow me to bring more interdisciplinary efforts into the classroom.
“I am optimistic that, through this program, I will gain a more thorough understanding of the interconnected nature of the university. The more I understand about the challenges and goals of the university as a whole, the more prepared I will be to help our students succeed.”