The first-ever cohort of the Smith School’s new Leadership Academy graduated with honors—and delight—on Friday, February 15.
Smith’s Office of Human Resources and Office of Executive Programs launched the Leadership Academy to provide professional skills development to Smith staff utilizing the expertise of Smith School faculty. Participants took mini-courses in customer service excellence, project management, strategic thinking, financial acumen, negotiations, and leadership. They spent six and a half days in class over a four month period and worked outside of the classroom on team-based Action Learning Projects focused on a real-world business challenges at Smith.
All Leadership Academy participants are full-time, director-level or below staff persons who have worked at the Smith School for at least two years and were recommended by their supervisors for inclusion in the program.The day was a celebration of the work participants had done over the past four months, as well as an opportunity for teams to present their recommendations from the Action Learning Projects (ALPs). Projects included increasing connectivity for the school's part-time MBA students, increasing diversity in the MS student population, and developing and maintaining a Smith School intranet. Teams collected data, conducted market surveys, benchmarked best practices and national trends, and analyzed the budget implications of their recommendations.
None of the participants had a background in consulting or started with direct experience with the problems they addressed, but it was clear the teams had made good use of their new skills in developing recommendations for their ALPs.
"The presentations were really insightful, and the methodology the teams used in their analyses was very sound," said Dean G. "Anand" Anandalingam. "I was very impressed by the quality of the recommendations I heard today." The presentations sparked some spirited discussion, and many of the recommendations are already being implemented by the school.
In the future, the Smith School plans to offer Leadership Academy programming to other schools and units within the University of Maryland as well as to regional corporations, local, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
Congratulations to the first cohort of the Leadership Academy:
- Melanie Ashton
- Denise Berry
- Justina Blanco
- Rosetta Clay
- Carol Cron
- Kathryn Duffy
- Samantha James
- Ashlee Kerkhoff
- Chris Larsen
- Millicent Locke
- Cynthia O'Brien
- Evan Riddle
- Jeanette Snider
Special thank to the faculty that provided incredible teaching and guidance in the program: Dr. Joe Bailey, Dr. Gilad Chen, Dr. Curt Grimm, Dr. PK Kannan, Dr. Joyce Russell, Dr. Alex Triantis and Dr. Ken White. Applications for the next session of the UMD-Smith Leadership Academy will be accepted untilMarch 1, 2013. Application materials can be found online and should be submitted to the Office of Human Resources & Organizational Effectiveness via email or to VMH 3570X. Please ensure that emailed documents are scanned to show all necessary signatures.