The SEC ALDP program has been instrumental in developing administrative leaders at South Carolina from within its faculty ranks.
Every university is represented by the work and success of its students and faculty. However, it is the behind-the-scenes work of administrators at these universities that promotes faculty and student excellence and builds the framework to ensure university success.
At the University of South Carolina, the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program has become integral to developing leaders from within its faculty ranks. Since 2008, this program has ensured that budding faculty leaders are provided the developmental skills needed to one day be successful administrative leaders at the university.
“I think that our faculty, and even those who are in chair and associate dean positions, don’t really have the exposure or the frame of reference to fully understand how complex the university is,” says Cheryl Addy, vice provost and dean of faculty at UofSC. “So, this program is a huge learning curve to both see how this university functions, but then to also be able to compare what we do to what happens at the other institutions in the conference.”
This fall, Juan Caicedo, Tammi Richardson, Coretta Jenerette and Jane Roberts were selected as South Carolina’s four ALDP fellows. Throughout the course of the 2021-2022 academic year, they will be exposed to the inner workings of the university. Through monthly meetings with UofSC leaders such as the president, provost, vice president of Human Resources, and vice president of Development, they will have the opportunity to ask questions of the university’s highest administrators. Then, through two workshops with ALDP fellows from across the SEC, they will explore how other institutions in the conference operate.
“I’ve been here 17 years, but as a regular faculty member, you don’t necessarily understand how things happen and why they happen,” says Richardson, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. “And I think understanding a little more about the structure and the function of the university and how they relate means that now as a chair I can explain things to my faculty and say, look, this is the decision that was made and this is why they did it and this is who it had to go through.”
For Caicedo, the benefit of participating in this program extends beyond himself. He feels that what he is learning in this program will pay dividends for the entire Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering that he chairs.
“At the department level, it has helped me know who I need to talk to across the university to accomplish certain things,” Caicedo says. “So that has been a more immediate type of perspective. It has also helped me know what the university as a whole wants to see in the future. That has allowed me to guide people here at the department, like, hey we should be doing this, and we should be doing that. So that has been helpful.”
Within South Carolina, the ALDP program has been integral to the university’s growth. It has developed leaders internally, allowing the university to maintain stability amidst leadership changes and to retain institutional knowledge and talent that otherwise might have left if young leaders were not fostered. Currently, ALDP alumni include three UofSC interim deans, two vice provosts, the interim VP of research, the faculty senate chair and a dean.
“The goal is succession planning,” Addy says. “If we expect our faculty to advance in the administrative ranks — to be future deans, vice provosts and provosts — then what are we doing to help them do that? And that’s really what this is about — developing our faculty.”