Morehead State University’s President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) was the recipient of an American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Excellence and Innovation Award.
The award was presented to Wayne D. Andrews, MSU president, and Dr. Janet McCoy, director of the Center for Leadership and Development, Oct. 30 at AASCU’s Annual Meeting in Miami, Florida.
“I am very excited to celebrate the achievements of the PLA,” said Dr. Andrews. “MSU is very proud and honored to be recognized by AASCU.”
The PLA is a yearlong program. It was initially offered annually with classes in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. It shifted to a two-year cycle in 2010 with subsequent classes graduating in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The initiative’s primary purpose is to provide premier professional development for selected faculty and staff including academic department chairs, directors and other administrators.
There are 102 Academy alumni from the first decade and they represent every division of the University. Class membership is balanced so multiple perspectives and voices are included in the leadership development process. Alumni are 57 percent female, 15 percent minority group members, and 40 percent faculty with 60 percent staff.
The core curriculum components have been consistent since the program’s launch. The experience is built around common readings and discussions, typically four to five books and targeted journal and news articles. The texts relate to higher education, leadership or the intersection between the two. There are seminars with key personnel at MSU and high performing leaders across the state including university presidents and provosts, high ranking military officers, public officials, and former governors.
There is an experiential learning component with a case study in the fall and an internship in the spring. The class is divided into two teams to explore a “real world” higher education budget challenge. Teams set their meeting schedule and identify leaders with Academy members filling roles such as president, provost, chief financial officer, board president, and Faculty Senate chair. Each team has 30minutes to present their potential solutions to President Andrews and his cabinet followed by a 30-minute question and answer period. The spring internship experience has ranged from 40-60 clock hours with 40 hours being the current norm.
The PLA experience has traditionally included two field trips. The first in the fall to explore the landscape of higher education in Kentucky. Stops include the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, and Office of the Chancellor for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The spring trip is a “best practices” tour of an institution that has addressed challenges MSU is currently facing.
The 2016 class visited East Tennessee State University to examine the impact free community college and performance based funding are having on strategic planning and budgeting. These issues are moving to the forefront in Kentucky but have been part of the landscape of higher education in Tennessee for years. Other campus visits have included Appalachian State University, James Madison University, Miami University (Ohio), University of Louisville and West Carolina University.
“We established the PLA in 2006 to prepare future leaders for MSU,” said Dr. Andrews. “A lot of hard work has gone into the development of the Academy. If you look back at the men and women who have been a part of it and what it meant to their careers, then it really has done what we envisioned.”
The AASCU awards program honors member institutions for excellence and innovation in several major areas of campus life and leadership. Leadership in regional and economic development; student success and college completion; sustainability and sustainable development; teacher education; international education; and leadership development and diversity are honored with these awards.