Dr. Andy Hines, assistant professor and coordinator for the University of Houston Foresight graduate degree program, recently graduated from the Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy (CCLA) and shared his experience.
You recently graduated from the Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy. Tell us what that program is all about. The CCLA is a year-long program that provides leadership training for UH faculty. It is an important initiative led by Provost Paula Short, who is very passionate about the need to cultivate and develop leadership at UH. There were about 24 faculty in my cohort, drawn from programs across the university. While the leadership lessons can be applied broadly, the specific purpose, as the title suggests, is to groom faculty for future positions as department chairs or perhaps beyond.
What prompted you to participate in this program? The program was brought to my attention by the HDCS department chair, Dr. Marcella Norwood, who is a champion for our professional development. She had gone through the program and highly recommended it. As I considered whether to participate, I realized that even though I had been in leadership and taught leadership, I had very little formal leadership training myself. So, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
What kind of time commitment was involved? We met about once a month for day-long workshops on various aspects of leadership. The commitment, however, is not to be taken lightly. There are no excused absences. Thus, we always had perfect attendance, which really promoted a sense of community among participants.
How will you be able to apply what you learned in the Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy in the future? I was pleasantly surprised. We're all busy and committing a Friday every month is kind of a big deal. In hindsight, I am really glad I did it. I learned a tremendous amount about being an effective leader. Even in areas where I had some previous knowledge or experience, I found useful perspectives. And, I should add that the instructor, Dr. Idahlynn Karre, is a gem. Everyone loved her! I am already applying what I learned in my role as program coordinator.
The year-long CCLA is "dedicated to developing a network of problem solvers in all UH departments who will work together to produce and sustain high quality programs through the leadership of faculty." Since its beginning in 2014, each of the three CCLA cohorts have included as many as 30 participants. HDCS has been well-represented with four faculty members now having completed the program - Dr. Andy Hines, Dr. Holly Hutchins, Dr. Marcella Norwood, and Dr. Consuelo Waight.