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Deans Council fulfills aim of yearlong leadership academy

Deans Council at Pennsylvania College of Technology, which resolutely navigated COVID-19’s challenges while organizationally downsizing, this week celebrated the successful completion of a 12-month professional-development activity focused on collaborative leadership.

A closing event in the Thompson Professional Development Center marked a graduation for participants in the Work Wisdom Academy, which regularly held remote sessions throughout 2021 on such varied topics as communication, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, accountability and workplace culture.

The college president congratulates the group, the members of which "have some of the most challenging jobs" at the institution.
The college president congratulates the group, the members of which “have some of the most challenging jobs” at the institution.

“As we learned to embrace new roles and started to wrap our heads around what a new three-school model would look like, three months into the planning, we were hit with a global pandemic that catapulted us onto a complex, responsive journey,” said Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic affairs/provost, who coordinated the program with the enthusiastic support of President Davie Jane Gilmour. “The plans, variables and challenges changed daily as we attempted to complete an extended Spring 2020 semester and prepared to pivot from six schools to three.”

Reed presents a certificate to Richmond, one of the college's three school deans ...
Reed presents a certificate to Richmond, one of the college’s three school deans …

The academy presented an ideal forum for the group to accelerate its development as it strived to create an innovative culture of transparency, support and candor, Reed explained, as well as to implement a leadership model that would meet the needs of students, faculty and staff.

“The Work Wisdom program has provided us with a unique training that supports our entire leadership team from Deans Council, through each school leadership team, right down to personalized leadership development,” said Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences. “I have learned a great deal about myself as a leader, my strengths, and how I can continue to grow in my role to support the success of the Nursing & Health Sciences team and the students we serve.”

... and to Cygan, whose department falls under Academic Affairs' purview.
… and to Cygan, whose department falls under Academic Affairs’ purview.

“I appreciated the opportunity to develop new skills, explore new ideas and foster deeper connections with academic affairs leaders across campus,” added Sue A. Kelley, dean of business, arts and sciences.

Tuesday’s in-person gathering featured remarks by Gilmour, who extended her gratitude to a group “at the center of what we do here at Penn College,” and Kedren Crosby, Work Wisdom president and program facilitator.

A small-group conversation engages Shultz, Piselli and Flynn (from left), among the academy's productive breakout sessions.
A small-group conversation engages Shultz, Piselli and Flynn (from left), among the academy’s productive breakout sessions.

Reed also addressed the class, characterizing its collective accomplishments as “nothing short of extraordinary.” Among the achievements noted in his reflective comments, Academic Affairs:

  • Sought new grant opportunities and industry partnerships
  • Launched new programs, including the college’s first stand-alone master’s program
  • Designed a more effective program-review process
  • Maximized scheduling options
  • Improved the transfer process for students
  • Completed a comprehensive Middle States self-study
  • Remained in-person since Summer 2020 to effectively prepare students for essential careers

Hillary E. Hofstrom, the college’s vice president for human resources, presented a certificate to Reed, who distributed framed plaques to the graduates:

Crosby talks with the graduates, assembled in the PDC's Mountain Laurel Room.
Crosby talks with the graduates, assembled in the PDC’s Mountain Laurel Room.

School of Business, Arts & Sciences
Sue A. Kelley, dean; Barb F. Di Marco, interim assistant dean of arts and sciences; and Brian D. Walton, assistant dean of business and hospitality

School of Engineering Technologies
Bradley M. Webb, dean; Justin W. Beishline, assistant dean of diesel technology and natural resources; Kathy D. Chesmel, assistant dean of materials science and engineering technology; Stacey C. Hampton, assistant dean of industrial and computer technologies; Ellyn A. Lester, assistant dean of construction and architectural technologies; and Brett A. Reasner, assistant dean of transportation technologies

School of Nursing & Health Sciences
Sandra L. Richmond, dean; Wendy A. Miller, assistant dean of health sciences; and Val A. Myers, assistant dean of nursing

The class also includes Tracey Amey, director of Madigan Library; Brian L. Cygan, executive director for assessment, research and planning; Joanna K. Flynn, dean of curriculum and instruction; Anthony J. Pace, dean of academic operations; Maria N. Piselli, registrar; and Walter J. Shultz Jr., director of educational and emerging technologies.

Graduates and other participants in Tuesday's Work Wisdom ceremony are (front row, from left): Kedren Crosby, Stacey C. Hampton, Bradley M. Webb, Val A. Myers, Maria N. Piselli, Wendy A. Miller, Sandra L. Richmond, Ellyn A. Lester, Barb F. Di Marco, Kathy D. Chesmel and Hillary E. Hofstrom; and (back row, from left): Justin W. Beishline, Anthony J. Pace, President Davie Jane Gilmour, Brian L. Cygan, Walter J. Shultz Jr., Michael J. Reed, Joanna K. Flynn, Brian D. Walton, Brett A. Reasner and Sue A. Kelley. (Tracey Amey was absent.)
Graduates and other participants in Tuesday’s Work Wisdom ceremony are (front row, from left): Kedren Crosby, Stacey C. Hampton, Bradley M. Webb, Val A. Myers, Maria N. Piselli, Wendy A. Miller, Sandra L. Richmond, Ellyn A. Lester, Barb F. Di Marco, Kathy D. Chesmel and Hillary E. Hofstrom; and (back row, from left): Justin W. Beishline, Anthony J. Pace, President Davie Jane Gilmour, Brian L. Cygan, Walter J. Shultz Jr., Michael J. Reed, Joanna K. Flynn, Brian D. Walton, Brett A. Reasner and Sue A. Kelley. (Tracey Amey was absent.)
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