The second cohort Smith School's Leadership Academy graduated on December 20, 2013. Seventeen Smith School staff members were invited to participate in the cohort after a competitive application process.
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.
The impact of their learning was evident as teams presented the results of their Action Learning Projects.
Team "Mission Accomplished" worked to streamline some of the more convoluted operational processes related to travel reimbursement and data entry in the school's Office of Finance and Administration. They recommended a system that would cut both time and costs.
Team 4Change worked on developing a value proposition and positioning language to help the Office of Executive Education grow its non-degree, custom programs. They recommended a marketing strategy that included a focused Google Adwords campaign as well as personal outreach to top companies in the region.
Team 3ie developed recommendations to create more flexibility in the Part-Time MBA program to increase its attractiveness to working professionals. Their suggestions related to incorporating blended learning and residency weekends generated a spirited discussion among faculty in attendance.
Team KEFT Allied explored the pros and cons of implementing blended learning in the school's part-time MBA program. They recommended a rollout strategy that focused on removing obstacles and generating short-term wins for blended learning programs.
Each team analyzed the problem they were given, collected data to aid in decision-making, developed recommendations and then presented them to an audience that included Dean Alex Triantis, Vice Dean Joyce Russell, Associate Dean of Executive Programs Gary Cohen, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs Victor Mullins, Assistant Dean of Operations Dale Vander Wall, and many members of the Smith faculty and senior leadership.
Cohen said, "Our staff are the unsung heroes at Smith. We couldn't deliver any of our programs without staff. This cohort had to get out of their comfort zones to deal with complex issues and come up with solutions to real problems the Smith School has been having, and then present them in front of this audience."
Leadership Academy programming is going to be offered to other schools and units within the University of Maryland in 2014.
Congratulations to each graduate of the 2013 Leadership Academy:
- Faye Baker
- Janet Cavanaugh
- Holly DeArmond
- Julie Dellinger
- Emily Doane
- Claudia Donnelly
- Kim Glinka
- Lizeth Gonzales
- Kimberly John
- Susan Keifline
- Leslie Merrill
- Aubery McLaughlin
- Greg Muraski
- Tucker Ophof
- Gabrielle Salinas
- Sandy Staub
- Fuping Tong