Academic Leadership Academy (ALA)

About Us


The purpose of the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium Academic Leadership Academy (ALA) is to encourage younger faculty/staff to consider leadership career paths. ALA provides guidance in developing the skills that are requisites for effective institutional leadership. This ensures a sound and successful future for the participating institutions.

Academy Objectives

– Analyze theories and styles of leadership

– Apply leadership concepts to practice

– Build relationships that advance the work of higher education

– Address leadership challenges in higher education

– Demonstrate strategic thinking and decision making skills

– Lead in team-building and communication

– Expand understanding of the environment in which institutional decisions are made in the 21st Century

Sample Curriculum

– Budgeting 101 Basics

– Crisis Management

– Legal & Ethical Issues involving Employees & Students

– Managing Conflict & Difficult People

– Strategic Decision Making

– Accreditation, Compliance, & Assessment

– Campus Projects

2022 Academic Leadership Academy

2022 ALA April 22nd Agenda


 Hosted by: Eastern Kentucky University

April 22, 2022

(All Times EST)



8:15 a.m. EDT

9:00 a.m. EDT

Registration, Breakfast & Networking

Welcome and Introductions                                                    

Overview of Consortium, Setting Expectations and Context


Rob Rumpke, President/CEO Bluegrass Tomorrow

Co-chairs: Dr. Carrie Christensen, Midway University and Sonia Sanders, Kentucky State University                            


9:15 a.m.

 Welcome & Morning Keynote:  Dr. David McFaddin, President, Eastern Kentucky University. Path to Leadership, Significant Challenges & Decisions.

9:45 a.m.

Q&A: Fellow Conversation with President McFaddin

10:00 a.m.


10:15 a.m.

Panel of Deans/Provosts: Academic Leadership at Our Universities-  

Dr. Tom Otieno, Dean of the College of Science, Eastern Kentucky University

Dr. Greg Feeney, Provost, Bluegrass Community & Technical College 

Dr. Stashia Emanuel, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Kentucky State University

Dr. Diane Chlebowy, Dean, Health Sciences, Midway University

11:00 a.m.

Q&A: Fellow Questions & Conversation with Deans/Provosts

11:30 a.m.

Break & Transition to Luncheon & Buffet

12:20 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote: Dr. Aaron Thompson, President Council on Postsecondary Education.  Higher Education Matters:  Transformational Leadership.        

12:50 p.m.

Q&A: Fellow Conversation with President Thompson

1:05  p.m.


1:15 p.m. 

 Budgeting 101- A Closer Look at Finances & Budgets at all Levels.

Angie Martin, Vice President for Financial Operations, University of Kentucky

Leah Barth Rice, Vice President of Finance, Midway University 


2:15 p.m.

Q&A: Fellow Questions & Answers with Financial Officers

2:25 p.m.


2:30 p.m.

P.E.A.C.E. from Conflict- Conflict Management Session

Dr. LaVena Wilkin, Director of PHD Programs, Sullivan University

3:00 p.m.

Q &A: Fellow Conversation with Dr. Wilkin

3:15 p.m.

Mentoring Group Breakouts (TBA), Adjourn upon completion of each group.

See you at Centre College on October 21.

2022 ALA Speaker & Panelist Bios


Friday, April 22, 2022



Dr. David McFadden, President

Eastern Kentucky University

Dr. David T. McFaddin is the 14th President of Eastern Kentucky University. He was selected as the Interim President in December 2019 and was unanimously appointed president by the Board of Regents in August of 2020. Dr. McFaddin becomes the third Eastern graduate to ascend to the presidency, after Dr. Doug Whitlock and Dr. Robert Martin. In his role as Interim President, Dr. McFaddin led the University during a global pandemic. Facing unprecedented challenges, he overcame unexpected budget expenses, implemented a successful plan for a return to on-campus instruction, and established the Eastern Advantage, a plan to address college access and affordability. It is a cause that is the centerpiece of his priorities, and an initiative that will continue as a primary focus throughout his presidency.

Prior to his current role, Dr. McFaddin was responsible for programming and operations at EKU’s regional campuses, student life, EKU athletics, dual credit, conferencing and events, communication and brand management, community relations, Model Laboratory School, Student Government Association, WEKU public radio, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, regional stewardship and the Center for Workforce Development. He also championed EKU’s legislative and policy agenda at all government levels, addressing issues that include higher education policy, research funding, public-private partnerships and workforce development.

Before joining EKU, David held regional and statewide leadership posts with AT&T, a Fortune 10 company and the largest telecommunications provider in the U.S., for nearly 15 years. His tenure there included major legislative, regulatory and strategic initiatives that paved the way for billions of dollars of capital investments in Kentucky.

A native Kentuckian, David holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from EKU. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the distinguished Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky, and a B.A. summa cum laude from EKU with a major in public relations. He is a first-generation college graduate and advocates for others who are the first in their families to graduate from college.

David is a past chair and an executive board member for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the EKU Department of Communication Advisory Board, committee Chairman and board member for Leadership Kentucky, a board member for the EKU International Alumni Association, board member for the EKU Center for the Arts, EKU Chapter Advisor for the Lambda Sigma Honor Society and board member for the Chemical-Weapon Destruction Community Advisory Board. In 2012 David was awarded the prestigious U.S. Presidential Service Award for his community volunteerism leadership efforts and in 2013 he received the EKU Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Opening Keynote

Mr. Brien Lewis, President

Transylvania University

Brien Lewis began serving as the 28th president of Transylvania University on July 1, 2020.

He previously served as president of Catawba College, a private, liberal arts college in Salisbury, North Carolina for 8 years.

A native of Toronto, Canada, Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar and Student Body President. He earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto. 

Lewis worked as an attorney and mediator in North Carolina before moving into higher education at Winthrop University in South Carolina, where he was an Associate Professor of Business Administration, the founding Dean of University College, and Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations.

Since arriving in Lexington, Lewis has joined the boards of Bluegrass Tomorrow, Commerce Lexington and the Downtown Lexington Partnership. Throughout his career, he has also acted in a number of student and community theater productions and looks forward to finding opportunities to continue doing so.



Panel of Deans/Provosts: Academic Leadership at Our Universities


Dr. Stashia Emanuel, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs

Kentucky State University

Stashia L. Emanuel is the Vice Provost of Academic Services and Assistant Professor of Education at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. Her research and academic interest are in the areas of academic and social adjustment of minority students at predominately and traditionally white institutions, organizational leadership at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, first-year initiatives and student retention. Dr. Emanuel received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Stockton University (New Jersey), a Masters of Public Administration from Albany State University (Georgia), and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Argosy University (Atlanta).


Dr. Greg Feeney, Provost  

Bluegrass Community & Technical College  

Dr. Feeney is Provost at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.  Prior to this, Dr. Feeney served as Vice President of Academics and Workforce Development Academic Dean, Dean of Academic Support, Assistant Dean of History, Languages, and Social Sciences at the College and as a faculty member.  He achieved the rank of professor and has been at the College for 21 years.  He earned his doctorate, with an emphasis in interpersonal and health communication, at the University of Kentucky.  He completed his masters at Northern Illinois University, with an emphasis in communication theory and organizational communication. 


Dr. Diane Chlebowy, Dean, Health Sciences                                                   

Midway University

Dr. Chlebowy joined Midway University in March 2021. Prior to her appointment at Midway, she held administrative appointments as director of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs at the University of Louisville. In addition, she served as an Executive Leadership Fellow in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Leadership for Academic Nursing Programs. 

Earlier in her career, Dr. Chlebowy spent 10 years on faculty at the University of Kentucky. During her tenure in academia, she has enjoyed teaching students in the classroom and clinical area and has received recognition as an exceptional educator and mentor. She has been recognized nationally and internationally for her diabetes research expertise, has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, and has given presentations at local, regional, and national conferences. Dr. Chlebowy continues to provide leadership in professional and community organizations to advance the nursing profession.

Dr. Tom Otieno, Dean College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics                                 

Eastern Kentucky University                                                                                                                           

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) appointed Dr Tom Otieno to be the founding dean of its College of Science in 2016, one of two colleges created as part of restructuring of the former College of Arts & Sciences.  The College of Science is comprised of the following academic departments: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Mathematics & Statistics, and Physics & Astronomy.  It also houses the Division of Natural Areas.

Because of this organizational structure change it has allowed for an opportunity for a greater focus on EKU’s science and math programs, giving all the programs opportunities for increased prominence.  Because it houses STEM disciplines, the College of Science plays a central role in the university as EKU adapts to the realities of performance-based funding that is on the horizon.

Prior to this appointment, he served as an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences for 11 years.  Other academic leadership positions he has held include services as Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Interim Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Coordinator of the Chemistry Graduate Program.  Otieno, a professor of Chemistry, began his academic career at Eastern Kentucky University in 1995 as an assistant professor.


Luncheon Keynote

Dr. Aaron Thompson, President

Council on Postsecondary Education

Dr. Aaron Thompson is a passionate advocate for higher education. As a first-generation college student from rural Clay County, Kentucky, he experienced first-hand the transformative power of a college credential. As President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, he works to ensure all Kentuckians have an equal opportunity to improve their lives through postsecondary education.

Before taking the helm of CPE, Thompson served as interim president of Kentucky State University; CPE executive vice president and provost; and faculty member and administrator at Eastern Kentucky University. He has extensive leadership experience within the private and non-profit sectors and is a highly sought-after national speaker. Dr. Thompson has authored or co-authored numerous books and peer-reviewed publications on diversity, cultural competence, first-year experience programs, retention, and student success, among other topics. In 2019, he was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

Thompson received his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Kentucky, with an emphasis on organizational leadership. He earned a master’s degree in industrial sociology from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Kentucky University.


Budgeting 101


Angie Martin, Vice President for Financial Operations and Treasurer

University of Kentucky

Angie Martin is responsible for the stewardship and accountability of all university assets and financial resources. Prior to arriving at UK in 2002, she was the Vice President for Finance at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Angie has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Louisville, a Master of Business Administration from Xavier University, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Leah Barth Rice, Vice President of Finance

Midway University

Leah Barth Rice has been with Midway over eight years and has served in various accounting roles in that time period which has given her a unique perspective on the financial operations of the institution from the ground up. Leah is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in Anthropology as well as a graduate of Midway University with a BS in Accounting.



P.E.A.C.E. from Conflict

Dr. LaVena Wilkin, Director of PhD Programs,

Sullivan University

Dr. LaVena Wilkin is the Director of PhD programs at Sullivan University.  Before joining Sullivan University, she spent twenty-six years in the construction industry, and three of those years she co-owned a commercial and industrial masonry sub-contracting company.  After selling the construction company, Dr. Wilkin came to work at Sullivan and has served as the Associate Director of the Evening and Weekend Division, Dean of the College of Business Administration, and Dean of Conflict Management Programs. 

Dr. Wilkin is a certified mediator, conflict coach, and employee engagement facilitator.  In addition, she has facilitated workshops on communication, organizational conflict management, emotional intelligence, change management, workplace bullying, forgiveness, and the P.E.A.C.E. Model of Conflict Management for public, private, and non-profit organizations.  A paper she co-wrote on workplace bullying was presented at The Psychology Research Unit of the Athens, Greece Institute for Education and Research. She is also published in the International Journal of Business and Social Science and writes a quarterly column for Business First.  Dr. Wilkin is co-editor of a book entitled Organizational Conflicts: Challenges and Solutions.  She is the Editor for the Journal of Conflict Management, a scholarly journal that publishes research in many of the multidisciplinary areas of managing conflicts.     

2022 ALA Fellows Biographies with Photos

2022 Fellow Bios

Asbury University


Michelle Asbill is currently an Assistant Professor at Asbury University in the Social Work Department. She received her Ph.D. in social work from the University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign in 2017. Prior to embarking on her doctorate studies, Michelle lived, studied, and worked in Bulgaria for 3.5 years and was chiefly involved in community development projects. Michelle has degrees from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (MA), New Bulgarian University (MA), Wheaton College (MA), University of Wisconsin-Madison (MSW), and Azusa Pacific University (BSW). Michelle came to Asbury from southern California, but has also enjoyed living in Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Bulgaria.


Nathan Miller is a performer, conductor, scholar, and educator. He serves as assistant professor of musicology at Asbury University, where he also directs the orchestra and chamber music programs and teaches horn. He received his Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music after completing a B.A. in music from Asbury University. His Ph.D in musicology was completed at the University of Kentucky. Nathan travels regularly as a soloist, conductor, and clinician and is an international alto horn artist for the Willson Band Instrument Company. He is married to Ellen, and together they have two young daughters, Eliza and Audie.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College


Andrea Sanford Fender (Simpson) is a native of Lexington, KY. She completed her associate degrees at Lexington Community and Technical College and transferred to the University of Kentucky, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication and a Masters in Instructional Systems Design. For 22 years Andrea has served in various mid-management roles, college committees, and work groups enrichening the life of students, staff, faculty, and community and currently serves as the Assistant Registrar/Adjunct Faculty in Graphic Design and Library Technology at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). Deepening her impact on the community and to the college, Andrea has taken on the important task of serving as a mentor for minority and underrepresented student populations through programs such as A Few Good Men and Becoming H.E.R. Both programs were established by the Diversity Task Force for Recruiting and Retention in hopes of increasing diversity efforts, educational success, equity, and inclusion at BCTC. She is also the president of the Kentucky Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and an active member Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Andrea has a strong commitment and love to students and community and proudly serves both in all she does. All who know and work with Andrea count it a joy. Andrea will marry Robert J. Simpson this summer and has one daughter, Jordin.


Donna Heath-Johnson currently serves as a project manager in the Workforce Solutions department at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. With over 20 years of experience in education and workforce development, she understands the direct impact the college has on the individuals, businesses, and communities it serves and uses a holistic approach to leadership and teamwork when collaborating with local businesses, community organizations, and college leadership to address workforce development needs and challenges.  Donna holds a Master of Arts in Human Services from Eastern Kentucky University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a minor in Computer Information Systems from Midway College.



Dr. Christopher Ledford is Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). He also serves as Early Alert College Lead, Cultural Competency Certification Program Facilitator, and Chair of the Staff Council at BCTC. He is a professionally trained data analyst who regularly conducts and presents research on initiatives that impact success, retention, and equity in higher education. Dr. Ledford has also spent his professional career fulfilling his passion for teaching and serving students from UofL to UK and now at BCTC. Integrating his values and skills, Dr. Ledford is uniquely qualified to study student success and has zeal for translating data into actionable insights that help students succeed.




Savannah Michaels is a Lexington, Kentucky native. Savannah graduated from

Transylvania University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and minor in Educational Studies. In 2021, Savannah received a Master of Arts in Adult and Higher Education with a concentration in International Education from Morehead State University. Savannah has worked at Bluegrass Community and Technical College since 2018. Starting as a First Year Coach, Savannah then transitioned to the Special Initiatives and Faculty Operations Academic

Advisor in 2019. Savannah currently specializes in Pre-Health Advising, serves as the Comprehensive Transition and Post-Secondary Program advisor and works closely with foster care youth as an Earn & Learn program advisor. Savannah also serves on several college wide committees and leads advising professional development events. Outside of BCTC Savannah remains active in her alma mater serving as a member of the Transylvania Young Alumni Board and an advisory board member to the Chi Chapter of Chi Omega.



Dr. Lisa Moran is Assistant Professor and Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program Coordinator in the Allied Health Department at BCTC. She has been in the health care profession for over 30 years and holds multiple credentials in Diagnostic Medical imaging. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences Education with an undergad in Nutrition, a Master of Health Science Education, and a Doctorate in Health Sciences Education and Research from Trident University in California. Her areas of research and expertise are in Nutrition, Health Promotion and Wellness, and Chronic diseases. She has participated in many city-wide initiatives during her tenure on the Mayor’s Health Hometown committee that was responsible for building bike trails and safe walking paths in her hometown of Louisville, Ky. She also holds a Culinary Arts degree, and she is a Certified herbalist. Dr Moran spends her free time listening to jazz music, traveling, gardening, and cooking.


Stephanie Riehn is an instructor of dental hygiene, and the first-year clinic coordinator for the program of dental hygiene at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, KY. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene in 2004, Master’s degree in Adult Education in 2014, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership in 2018 from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY.  Dr. Riehn currently leads 24 dental hygiene students and five adjunct instructors in the dental hygiene program. Before coming to Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Dr. Riehn spent eight years as a clinical instructor in the program of dental hygiene at Western Kentucky University



Becky Shelton earned her latest Masters in English from Murray State University. Her graduate worked focused on composition and rhetoric. Becky currently is an Assistant Professor in Humanities and has been a full-time instructor for five years. Prior to taking on a full-time role, Becky was an adjunct instructor and a full-time professional advisor at BCTC for three years. In addition to her work as a professor, she has served as the Humanities division Faculty Council representative, and currently a KCTCS Senator at Large, Course Leader, the Humanities Writing Coordinator, and the facilitator of the Cultural Competency Certification Program of the Spring 2022 cohort. She is also actively involved with the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) as a member of the Executive Committee serving as Parliamentarian. In her free time, she loves word games and crossword puzzles.




William Specker was raised in Richmond, KY and has had the opportunity of serving the Bluegrass Region of Central Kentucky as IT Coordinator for IT Services at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). He has been with BCTC for over 9 years and enjoys the “Student First" motto that our college has. He has served on several college committees. Prior to working at BCTC in Higher Education, he worked in a variety of positions in the private sector, such as: Corporate IT Service Provider, Industrial Manufacturing, and Retail. He completed his associate degree at BCTC and is working towards his Bachelors at Western Kentucky University.




Jon Thrower earned a Masters in English with a fellowship in Teaching from Southeast Missouri State University. His graduate work was focused on teaching composition, creative writing, and publishing. After working as an adjunct, staff-member, and administrator in the St. Louis metro-area for 12 years, he relocated to central Kentucky. Currently, he serves as an Assistant Professor in the Humanities at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, KY. In addition to teaching duties, he works closely with tutor training and supplemental instruction. He is also Academic and Workforce Development liaison for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. In his free time, he enjoys creating art, playing drums, cooking, reading, and writing. He is currently the editor of Pegasus, the journal of the Kentucky State Poetry Society.




Centre College



Kristi Burch is an Academic Technology Specialist at Centre College with over twelve years of experience working alongside a team of faculty and staff dedicated to creating and providing meaningful and effective teaching and learning experiences for students. Specializing in Moodle administration and instructional technology, she serves as the initial point of contact for course creation, content management, and troubleshooting in addition to the facilitation of faculty exploration in classroom design, academic software selection and testing, and emerging technology tools. Her involvement in diversity and inclusion efforts and opportunities to help others improve their work, confidence, and skills are the most rewarding aspects of her job. In her spare time, she loves all things outdoors and spending time with her partner and dogs.


Dr. Chelsea Cutright (she/her) is a visiting assistant professor of anthropology and international studies at Centre College. She has a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Cutright’s teaching and research interests include gender, sports for development, youth studies, and contemporary Africa. She is particularly interested in pursuing community-based learning opportunities in her classes and mentoring student research projects. Outside of work, she is currently training for her first marathon and is very appreciative of her partner, Henry, and two cats, Tiny and Charlie, for all of their support.



Cindy Long has a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University, and a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer credential from Sullivan University. She has worked in marketing and communications at Centre College since 2001 developing and implementing marketing, PR, and social media strategies.  Prior to her work in higher education, she was an information systems analyst for an art supply manufacturer, designing and maintaining the company’s intranet and databases and conducting corporate training on common software.  Also in the corporate sector, she served as customer service manager managing a staff of eight customer service representatives as they serviced global accounts.  She has taught classes in the Bluegrass Community and Technical College system, and serves or has served as a volunteer with various organizations in her community. She enjoys writing fiction, and has been published both online and print publications.




Azita Osanloo is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing, Film & English at Centre College.  She received her Ph.D. from Florida State University, her M.F.A. from the University of Montana, and her B.A. from Oberlin College. 




Melinda Weathers is an emerging social justice advocate from Danville, KY and a 2002 graduate of Centre College. She is employed by Centre College as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion Education. Melinda earned a Bachelor of Art in Sociology. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Louisville. Melinda currently serves on the Diversity Equity Council for the following: Danville City Schools, Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center and the Art Center of the Bluegrass. She has been involved with several non-profit agencies such as The Glady’s Project (a Literacy Program), Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Melinda has spent most of her career serving families and advocating for at-risk children and vulnerable adults. Her new career path has led to diversity work. She is heavily involved in her church and has served as an ordained Evangelist, Financial Administrator, and President of the women’s ministry. In March 2021, Melinda was installed as the Lead Pastor of the church founded by her parents, Vision Church of Holiness, Inc.

Eastern Kentucky University


Dr. Renee Causey-Upton is associate professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science (BSOS) Program Coordinator, and Horses, Humans, and Health Minor Coordinator at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Renee has BSOS and MSOT degrees from EKU. She also completed a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) from Chatham University, a Marketing Strategy for Business Leaders Certificate through Cornell University, and a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at University of Kentucky. Renee serves on the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Occupational Therapy and is a founding associate editor of the Journal of Occupational Therapy Education.



Dr. Heather Fox in an Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator of English Teaching Programs at Eastern Kentucky University. She holds a BA in English and Business Administration and an MA in Teaching from Mary Baldwin University; an MA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University; and a PhD in English from the University of South Florida. Published in refereed journals and a forthcoming book, her interdisciplinary research engages American literature, pedagogy, and archival recovery. As coordinator, she serves as liaison between departments to develop curriculum, assess programs, and advocate for majors, with an emphasis on mentorship and student-faculty projects.



Marie Manning, PhD., is an assistant professor and serves as an undergraduate coordinator at Eastern Kentucky University in the department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership. She teaches courses in special education with an emphasis on behavior disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Her various roles in the field of special education as a parent, educator, and behavior support specialist has provided unique opportunities for perspective-taking that she uses to strengthen her leadership skills in higher education.


Marcel (Marci) Robles, Ph.D., is Assistant Dean and Chair of Faculty/Professor in the College of Business at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY, USA. She teaches managerial report writing, interactive business communication, and MBA managerial communication. She is the Immediate Past President for the International Association for Business Communication, Past President of Association for Research in Business Education, Editor of Effective Teaching Methods for National Business Education Association, and Editor-in-Chief for Sage Publications Online Modules. Marci received her Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in 1996 where she taught for 13 years before joining the faculty at EKU in 2002.


Dr. Brian Simpkins is an Assistant Professor of Homeland Security at Eastern Kentucky University. In previous positions, Dr. Simpkins served as the Director of the EKU Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence, Associate Director of the EKU Justice and Safety Center, and a contactor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Simpkins holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Doctor of Education along with graduate and undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and certificates in intelligence and national security studies.  Dr. Simpkins has co-authored multiple publications and has presented at numerous conferences related to criminal justice, intelligence, and homeland security.

Georgetown College



Jay Buckner is the Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at Georgetown College. Previously, he served in various roles (Communications Manager, Media Relations Manager, and Multimedia Production Manager) during a 20-year tenure at Berea College. There, he managed communications for the college’s sesquicentennial celebration, produced an Emmy nominated program that aired nationally on CBS, produced many video news segments and feature videos to support capital campaigns, and produced “Head of the Holler,” a talk show that aired on Kentucky Educational Television. Before working in higher education Jay worked as a television news reporter for several years before brief stints in healthcare public relations. A native of Hazard, Kentucky, he is a lifelong resident of the Bluegrass State and graduated with honors from Morehead State University in 1993. Outside work, Jay enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, motorcycling, raising chickens, and attending Southern Gospel concerts.



Chris Franklin is a native and resident of Cynthiana, KY. He has always shown an interest and aptitude in the arts, and so pursued a career in Graphic Design, attending Morehead State University and receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. For two years he worked at United Grafix in Lexington, designing billboards, then moved on to a 21-year career at Bullard first in Cynthiana, and later Lexington. While there, Chris created sales and production material for a variety of safety products, from labels to tradeshow graphics. In early 2022, Chris took the position of Director of Design and Branding at Georgetown College, where he promotes the advancement of the college and recruitment of students through both print and digital media. In addition to spending time with his wife and children, Chris enjoys creative hobbies in his spare time as well, such as drawing, writing and podcasting.



Jefferson Community & Technical College



Bruce Breeding is a History instructor at Jefferson Community and Technical College, teaching primarily on JCTC’s Shelbyville and Bullitt County campuses. He has taught full-time at JCTC for three years, following a sixteen-year stint as an adjunct faculty member at JCTC, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, and Lexington Theological Seminary. He holds the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts, both in History, from the University of Arkansas, and a Master of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary.  He also did additional graduate course and exam work (ABD) at the University of Georgia.  He has been married for thirty-two years to his wife, Esther, who teaches Religion at Lexington Catholic High School. They have one son, Strohmann, who is about to complete a Master of Arts in Law, Justice and Society at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.




Dr. Pamela Larkin has been a full-time faculty member at Jefferson Community and Technical College since 1995.  Prior to that, she taught part time with Jefferson while working in computer programming for interactive voice response systems.  She has served in several leadership roles while at Jefferson including Faculty Representative to the Board of Directors, Division Chair, Program Coordinator, and chaired various committees.  Dr. Larkin currently serves as a mentor for the KCTCS Faculty Institute on Teaching.  Her focus is student success and continuing pedagogical research. 

Dr. Larkin graduated from Berea College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  She later obtained a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville.  In May 2019, Dr. Larkin completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.



Dr. Michael Troy Shell grew up in rural Adams County Pennsylvania. After completing his undergraduate degree in Bible and Biblical Languages in Missouri, he moved to Louisville in 1989 and have lived in Kentucky ever since. He holds a Master of Divinity in Higher Education and a Master of Theology in Archaeology and Biblical Languages. While at Jefferson Community and Technical College, Dr. Shell has taught courses in philosophy, ethics, logic and religion and is one of the advisors for Phi Theta Kappa (the honor society for 2-year institutions). He holds a PhD, from the University of Kentucky, in Higher Education Policy Studies, his specialty is in the application of the philosophy of semiotics to the exploration of the role language, symbols, and metaphors play in the lives of educational institutions.


Angela Roby-Staples has worked in higher education for 7+ years. She has experience in Student Involvement, Residence Life, Academic Advising, Retention, and as an Adjunct Faculty member. She received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and English from Bellarmine University in 2011, and her Master of Science degree in Educational Policy and Evaluation from the University of Kentucky in 2013. Angela currently serves as the Assistant Director of Academic Advising at Jefferson Community and Technical College. She previously served in the roles of Master Advisor and Student Success Coach before transitioning into the assistant director position. In her current role. She implements the faculty advising model and collaborates with faculty to ensure student needs are met. Her goal is to continue working with Academic Leadership to create a seamless experience for any student who comes to Jefferson.

Kentucky State University


Ja’Meeca N. Alexander is a native of Lexington, KY. She is currently on track to receive her associates’ degree in May 2022 and pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Liberal studies in 2023.  In 2018 Ja’Meeca started her career at Kentucky State University in the roll of executive admin in student engagement and transitioned into several positions including the office of the president, Brand Identity, General Counsel and currently promoted to the position of campus life coordinator and the Royal Court Advisor. Ja’Meeca was recently elected by her peers to be the 2022-2024 Staff Senate President at Kentucky State. She is the school certifying official for Veteran affairs and also serves as the advisor for two other student led organizations on campus.  Ja’Meeca is the mother of one daughter, Aubrielle Alexander and serves faithfully in her church and community.


Dr. Michael D. Dailey is the Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Design at Kentucky State University. He is a graduate of Kentucky State University and The Ohio State University where he earned his masters degree. He has over 32 years in public education at the school, district, and state level. While serving at the Kentucky Department of Education, he led the Division of Next Generation Professionals, the Instructional Technology Leadership program, and the Partnership for Minority Student Achievement initiative. Michael earned his doctorate in 2015 from Capella University.  He specialized in Instructional Design for Online Learning. His research is specific to Communities of Practice and a framework for problem-solving. Dr. Dailey is also an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Kentucky State University. Michael is the proud husband of Mrs. Tanya C. Dailey and the father of two daughters and two sons in-law. Dr. Dailey was blessed with his first grandchild in November of 2020. He is a servant leader with one motto, “Allow me to pull the weeds so you can plant the garden.”




Hannah Satram-Hale, a Kentucky native earned a juris doctorate from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law. Following graduation, Hannah took the Kentucky Bar and practiced as an associate at a general practice firm in Elizabethtown, KY. Hannah transitioned from the private sector to the public sector and practiced as a prosecuting attorney at the Education Professional Standards Board in Frankfort, KY. In 2017, Hannah accepted a position at Kentucky State University as a Title VII and Title IX investigator and staff attorney. In June of 2020, Hannah was named Title IX Coordinator at Kentucky State.  As Title IX Coordinator, Hannah oversaw and implemented the 2020 Title IX regulation changes and the University’s Title IX policy updates. She continues to serve as the Title IX Coordinator, ensuring University compliance and supporting the University Community.




Midway University



Dr. Gina DeArth-Pendley is a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of Kentucky and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Midway University. In addition to teaching, she provides counseling for students through the university’s Counseling Services and has served as Faculty Chair for the Faculty Leadership Council at Midway University since 2019. Dr. DeArth-Pendley earned doctoral and master’s degrees in Clinical/Counseling Psychology from the University of Notre Dame where she studied as a Research Fellow for the National Institutes of Health. She earned a bachelor’s degree with Honors in Psychology from Indiana University. Dr. DeArth-Pendley has authored papers on conflict resolution, emotional security needs of children and adults, and the need for multicultural psychological assessments. As a clinical psychologist, she has worked in clinical settings, juvenile corrections, and court systems around the United States, including the DC Commission on Mental Health in Washington, DC, and Baltimore City Public Schools.


Morehead State University


Laken Albrink is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at Morehead State University and is the Legal Studies Program Coordinator. Laken is also the coordinator of the program’s Pro Se Divorce Clinic and is a licensed Kentucky attorney. She is a proud alumnus of the Morehead State University Legal Studies Program the University of Kentucky College of Law where she obtained her juris doctor. Prior to joining the University, Laken was an Executive Advisor at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and a Special Attorney at the Office of the Attorney General, Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention and Prosecution. Laken also has experience in private practice where she primarily represented parents and children in dependency, neglect, and abuse actions.



Steve Chen is a Professor of Sport Management in the Smith College of Business and Technology at Morehead State University. His primary teaching subjects include sport administration, sport marketing, research methodology, human resources management, sport economics, and sport sociology. Dr. Chen’s research interests cover areas such as event attendance, spectator consumption behaviors, scientific methods of training and coaching, diversity issues, case studies, and critical social issues in the field of sports. Before becoming an academia, Dr. Chen coached basketball for several professional teams in Taiwan. He enjoys developing working relationships and friendship with students, witnessing students completing their degrees, and successfully getting their jobs.



Dr Janelle Hare earned a B.S in Microbiology and a B.A. in Biology at the University of Iowa in 1992. In 1999, she completed a PhD in Biomedical Sciences by studying plague bacteria at the University of Albany (SUNY) School of Public Health. She conducted a Post-Doctoral HHMI Fellowship at Washington University (St. Louis) until 2001. At Grinnell College she developed the passion and skills for teaching undergraduates, supported by a post-doctoral NSF Award for Integrating Research into Education (2001-2003). Dr Hare was hired at Morehead State University in 2003. She and her 50+ undergraduate student researchers have investigated DNA damage in the multi-drug resistant pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii, supported by research awards from NSF-EPSCoR and the National Institutes of Health since 2006.



David E. Long is Associate Professor of STEM Education at Morehead State University, where he currently serves as Faculty Senate President.  Dr. Long’s has held prior appointments at George Mason University, and Valdosta State University.  He helps educate future science and math teachers as well as conducts research that examines the recruitment, training, and placement of those teachers in hard to fill positions.  He also has long-term research work on the public’s varied reception of science based upon religious and political ideology.

Murray State University



Dr. Julia “Julie" Boyd is an instructor in the Occupational Safety and Health Department at Murray State University. She has EHS experience in automotive and food manufacturing, where she worked over a decade before entering academics. She recently earned her Ph.D. in Occupational Safety and Health and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist Julie serves as the faculty advisor for the MSU American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) student chapter. Julie is involved at a university level and serves as a council member on both

Elementary/Middle School and Highschool Murray Independent School FRYSC Advisory Councils.



Traci Byrd is an Associate Professor of Occupational Safety and Health at Murray State University. She received both B.S. and M.A. degrees from Murray State University and an Ed.D. from Union University, She has taught for the department of Occupational Safety and Health for 20 years and serves as the Emergency Medical Training Program Coordinator as well as the assistant director of the Murray State University Occupational Safety and Health Training Center. The OSH Training Center provides training in various safety and health areas including hazardous materials handling and response, hazard communications, confined space, and incident command training. Specific research areas of interest are factors influencing safety climate and the relationship between the ideas of teamwork, workload, and communication. She was appointed to the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board by KY Governor Andy Beshear in 2019, and is a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals.



Dr. Oluwabunmi Dada is an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Safety and Health department at Murray State University. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an M.Sc. in Environmental Management from Samford University. She is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Her research interests focus on the health effects of electronic cigarettes, environmental exposures and health impacts, GIS and Toxic Release Inventory, and the sustainability of food systems focusing on its major key players; farmers, the environment, and humans. Her ultimate career goals are to be an accomplished mentor, educator, and researcher in environmental health and safety, focusing on mitigating the harmful effects of environmental factors on humans and the environment



Bassil El Masri is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Murray State University. His research focuses on investigating the soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions and how these interactions are affected by the changing climate. He uses multi-sensors remotely sensed data for estimating terrestrial ecosystem carbon and water fluxes and for scaling up site measurements to the regional and global scales. He also uses land surface models to understand the terrestrial ecosystem carbon, water, and nitrogen fluxes responses to environmental change. He was a contributing author to the second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2). He has been working on several projects related to the North American Carbon Program including the Multi-Scale Synthesis and Terrestrial Model Intercomparison Project (MsTMIP). Bassil completed his MS (2006) in Range Management from Texas Tech University, his Ph.D. (2011) in Geography from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a postdoctoral appointment in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  


Owensboro Community and Technical College



Shannon Q. Collins received her BA and MA from Morehead State University then went on to complete her post graduate work in poetry writing at the Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont.  She is Professor of English at Owensboro Community and Technical College where she also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Associate of Fine Arts in Theatre program. She has published poetry in multiple journals throughout the Commonwealth such as Open 24 Hours and Kudzu. She is proud to have served as an educator in Kentucky for over twenty years.



Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College


“Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County…”

Jessica Adams is from Greenville Kentucky in Muhlenberg County. Raised by a coal miner and a human resources clerk. She graduated from Murray State University in Fall of 1999 with an electronic journalism degree and started her Master’s degree in Organizational Communication the following spring. Since graduation, she has promoted Newell Rubbermaid products in St. Louis, Wal-Mart Management in Bowling Green, Sales manager in Franklin KY, and for the past 11 years an Associate Professor for SKYCTC where she teaches Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, and Intercultural Communication. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she also serves and Assistant to the Dean in the Arts and Humanities Division, SKYCTC Communication Curriculum Representative, Chair of Scholarship Committee, and various other roles. In order to accomplish all these blessings and opportunities, she has a wonderful support group with her husband Chad, daughter Sydney, son Wyatt, and perfect silver lab Murray.



Ms. Christina Florence has been employed by Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) for 9 years. She is an associate professor of mathematics and consistently teaches the following courses: college algebra, calculus I, statistics, and technical math courses. In addition to educating her students, she serves in the following leadership roles: Faculty Senate/Council Vice-Chair, GSA student organization faculty advisor, dual credit faculty liaison and promotions mentor. Teaching is her passion, and she is blessed to be able to do what she loves each day. It is her honor and privilege to educate the Southcentral Kentucky community.


Born and raised in southwestern Virginia, Stephanie Tolliver Hyman is a first-generation college graduate who is proud of her Appalachian heritage. Hyman serves as the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College in Bowling Green, KY. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. For more than 15 years, Hyman taught English composition and literature in community and technical college systems in the Carolinas, where she served as an award-winning teacher, department chair and writing center director. She is a published essayist and poet with pieces appearing in Luminarium, Chicken Soup for the Soul, You & Me: America’s Medical Magazine, and South Carolina Bards. Outside of teaching and writing, Hyman enjoys spending time with her family and two spoiled cats.


As a Kentucky native, Shellena R. Smith is a first-generation college graduate who currently serves as an Associate Professor of English at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College, the faculty lead for the SKYCTC English department, and the secretary for the state Two Year College English Association of Kentucky, as well as serving in a variety of other leadership roles within the college and community. Shellena earned a Master of Arts in English from Eastern Kentucky University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Christian Ministries from Lindsey Wilson College. Shellena started her career by working as a tutor and writing consultant to pay her way through college, to, eventually, adjunct teaching while working on her M.A. She has, presently, been with SKYCTC for nearly ten years and continues to hone her skills in English as a free-lance editor and proof reader. Outside of school, Shellena spends time with her husband and three children.

Sullivan University



Patricia Routt, MSN, APRN, NP-C is the Nursing Program Director for the Traditional Registered Nurse Program at Sullivan University Lexington Campus. This is a new program and is set to roll out in the Fall of this year. Patti has been a Registered Nurse since 1995 after receiving an Associate of Science in Nursing from Somerset Community College. She has held positions in multiple acute healthcare settings including ER, Med/Surg and Psych. Mrs. Routt’s teaching experience includes Health Science with Franklin County Career and Tech and a faculty position at Somerset Community College. She then went on to earn a BSN and MSN from Eastern Kentucky University where her focus was Family Nurse Practitioner, and now holds certification from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Over the last five years Patti has been working full-time as an APRN in an Urgent Care Setting. Professional memberships include the Kentucky Association of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse-Midwives. When Patti is not working, she loves to spend time with her husband, two children and four dogs.


Marika Wesolosky is the Senior Associate Director of Admissions for Sullivan University. Marika has built relationships throughout central Kentucky in her various admissions capacities. She has strong connections to High Schools in central and eastern Kentucky, helping to develop pathways for student to career programs. Marika is experienced in project planning and management, providing continuing education opportunities for professionals in a variety of career areas. On a personal note, Marika enjoys history, she is a member of a local DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) chapter, her and her husband can be found traveling to many historical places. She is an avid tennis player and has two amazing fur babies.



Transylvania University


Julie Perino currently serves as Transylvania University’s Digital Content and Technology Integration Specialist. She enjoys working with faculty, students, and administrators to encourage the mindful use of technology in the classroom and suggest ways of integrating technology into students’ class projects in meaningful ways that foster learning and student development. Her professional and research interests stem from her past life as an Assistant Professor of English and include digital writing pedagogy, digital and multimodal literacies, and writing knowledge transfer. She is passionate about supporting faculty and students as life-long learners and fostering academic programs that support their growth and development.

University of Kentucky


Mei Chen, PhD, is the Raymond-Blythe Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Her research is primarily in the areas of transportation planning and operations, data analytics for mobility and safety, network resilience and modeling. She has led many research studies sponsored by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the US Department of Transportation. Dr. Chen is a member of the Urban Data and Information Systems Committee and the Highway Monitoring Committee, as well as a co-chair of the subcommittee on travel time, speed, and reliability of the Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Academies. She earned her PhD from New Jersey Institute of Technology.


Dr. Liz Combs joined the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition in October 2011 as Academic Coordinator. In 2013 she transitioned into a faculty role as lecturer and most recently was promoted to senior lecturer in 2021. Liz is also the Director of the Coordinated Program and Co-Director of a certificate program. She still provides advising support and academic counseling to upperclassmen in the department. She is also a registered and licensed dietitian. She is a UK alumnus with her undergraduate degree in Dietetics and Food Science and her graduate degrees in Dietetic Administration and Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Liz is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Kentucky Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Bluegrass Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She serves on the board of the Kentucky Academy of Nutrition in Dietetics and is the Past President of the Bluegrass Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Olivia N. Davis, CPA, joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in January of 2018. Prior to this, she was in public accounting with PwC in the assurance practice. Professor Davis is an active member of the accounting profession. She has been a professional member of NABA since 2005 and has served in a variety of leadership roles with the Greater Louisville Chapter including Treasurer, Vice President and Co-Chair of the Accounting Career Awareness Program. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Society of CPAs and is a member of the KYCPA Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  Professor Davis also believes strongly in service to community in areas where one has both skills and passion. She serves on various community boards including the Explorium of Lexington (Vice Chair; Executive Director Search Committee Chair) and Providence Montessori School (Board of Directors). Prof. Davis has previously served as the Treasurer and Chair of the Board of Director for the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center and as the Treasurer for the Sandersville Elementary School PTA. She also currently serves the Commonwealth of Kentucky on the Board of Architects (Treasurer) and previously served on the board of Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority/Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (Finance and Audit Committee Chair).

Professor Davis serves as a University Faculty Senator and on numerous committees at the University and Gatton College Level. She was awarded the Gatton College Teaching Excellence Award in 2020, the 2021 Gatton College Faulty of the Year (student selected), 2021 University of Kentucky Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching and 2022 University of Kentucky Alumni Association Great Teacher Award.


Michael Pennell is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky. He regularly teaches courses focused on social media, digital literacy, rhetorical theory and history, food studies, and technical writing. Of late, his research has focused on hunger and food insecurity, collaborating with colleagues in Interior Design and Dietetics and Human Nutrition to investigate campus food insecurity. In addition, his research explores the role of social media and digital and mobile communication in our relationships to food. Currently, Pennell serves on the Board of Directors and as Chair of the Development Committee for the nonprofit organization Glean Kentucky.



Dr. Caryn Sorge is an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, in the Division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology. She completed her undergraduate education at Miami University in Oxford, OH. Dr. Sorge earned her medical degree at Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. She went on to complete her general pediatric residency at the University of South Carolina/Palmetto Health, and in 2016 completed her fellowship in pediatric hematology oncology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. In July 2016, Dr. Sorge started working at the University of Kentucky as a faculty member and became the medical director of the long-term follow-up clinic for pediatric oncology survivors in 2017. In 2019, she developed and founded the adolescent young adult oncology program at UK through combined efforts of pediatric oncology and the Markey Cancer Center. She later developed a multidisciplinary clinic for children with neuroendocrine tumors, further expanding her relationship with physicians at the Markey Cancer Center. Currently, Dr. Sorge serves as the medical director of three subspecialty clinics.



Stacy Taylor, PharmD, MHA, BCPS is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Pharmacy. She is an alumnus of the UK College of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Texas A&M University (MHA) and completed two years of pharmacy residency training at Shands at the University of Florida. Her health-system pharmacy experience includes a variety of roles in both private and academic medical centers. Clinical hospital leadership roles have included pharmacy clinical manager and director of pharmacy. As a faculty member at the UK College of Pharmacy, she teaches the Wellness and Health Promotion II course and coordinates the health-systems component of the Longitudinal Experiential Education in Pharmacy (LEEP) program. Leadership roles in the academic setting include Interim Director of Student Affairs and Director of Practice Advancement Partnerships. In this role she works with hospitals and pharmacies across the state to develop and advance pharmacy post-graduate residency programs.



Susie Thiel is an Associate Professor of Dance and the Director of Dance at UK. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography from the University of Michigan. Susie performed in NYC with several modern dance companies, including the New York Dance Collective, Genesis Dance Company, Sharon Fogarty Dance Theatre, and the Impulse Initiative. Her work in concert dance, musical theatre and theatre has been presented at a variety of venues including, the University of Kentucky in Theatre, Dance and Opera Theatre productions, Green Space Studio (NYC), three seasons at the Seagle Music Colony (NY), The American College Dance Festival (GA, AR, MS, OH), the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) conference in Miami, The Moving Collective (KY), The Cincinnati Fringe Festival (OH), Anne Bogart’s Barn (NY), the Detroit Dance City Festival (MI), Inner Mongolia Arts College (China), the Hainan Normal University (China) Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts and most recently in The Days of ’98 Show, With Soapy Smith (AK). Susie received the University of Kentucky’s 2016 Provost’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Her research investigates the appropriation of Folk Dance or Folk Dance approaches in current choreography, and she works on projects in which the central topics of feminism, women’s stories and one’s life are subject matter for dances. The intersection of these two diverse topics informs the dance community on how research interests are not limited and can often intersect


Dr. Rachèle Yadon is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. After completing a BA in Sociology at the University of Florida, she completed her Medical Degree at Duke University College of Medicine and Psychiatry Residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is an Associate Training Program Director for the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program and serves as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ambassador to the College of Medicine. Within the Department, she serves on the Recruitment and Retention Committee, Faculty Development Committee and leads the New Faculty Committee. She is passionate about resident education and her clinical interests are in Women’s Reproductive Psychiatry, Anxiety Disorders and Psychotherapy.




University of Louisville


Dr. Meera Alagaraja is a tenured associate professor of human resource and organizational development within the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organizational Development. She serves an acting Associate Dean for Innovation and Strategic Partnerships. Her research studies human resource development (HRD) within three strands – (i) well-being, (ii) strategic HRD, and (iii) workforce development. Currently, she leads a Wellbeing Research Lab. In addition, her scholarly service extends many areas, but notably she is the associate editor of Human Resource Development Review. Dr. Alagaraja received her Ph.D. in human resource development from Texas A&M University.



Dr. Douglas Craddock, Jr. is a Professor of Higher Education and serves as the Interim Vice President for Community Engagement & Chief of Staff for Executive Vice President & Provost at the University of Louisville. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Alabama in Higher Education and Administration.

Dr. Craddock’s area of expertise is diversity, equity & inclusion, organization & administration, and community engagement. He has a passion for helping organizations and communities uncover practices, processes, and procedures that illuminate and elevate how individuals, teams, and groups can more effectively work together. In addition, he has in collegiate athletics and Historically Black Colleges and Universities focusing on varying administration and leadership models that exist across the spectrum of programs and institutions.

Dr. Craddock resides in Louisville, Kentucky where he enjoys spending time with his family, sports and volunteering in the community. He is an advocate and supporter in the idea of “lift as you climb” to help and assisting in areas of education and social mobility. He recently has been recognized as one of Louisville Top 40 under 40, a member of the Leadership Louisville 2021 – 2022 Class and New Leaders Council Fellowship for 2022.



Dr. Brian Guinn joined the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health in July of 2020 after completing postdoctoral training at the University of Louisville – School of Public Health and Information Sciences. As a faculty member, he teaches epidemiology to undergraduate and graduate students. Brian’s interests include the associations between environmental lead exposure and human health and behavior. His long-term research goals include assessing the magnitude of environmental lead hazards throughout Jefferson County, KY. Brian is a lifelong Louisville resident, who loves his city, as well as the Commonwealth. He has a deep desire to stay in the service of others while trying to improve public health and wellness.




Sarah Hargis Lopez is the deputy chief of staff to the executive vice president and university provost at the University of Louisville. In her role, she supports the provost, sr. vice provost and chief of staff with strategic communications and project management. Sarah has spent the last 12 years of her career in public education, both K-12 and higher ed, in some of the nation’s largest cities, including San Antonio, TX, San Diego, CA, and now Louisville, KY. She is active in community service and serves on the boards for the Chestnut Street Family YMCA and the Walden School, assisting with public relations, advocacy, DEI and strategic planning. As a Honduran-American and first-generation college student, Sarah is passionate about public higher education and the power it has to transform students, families and communities. She received her BA in Sociology from Centre College in 2010 and will be starting the MBA program this fall at the University of Louisville.



Joseph Neary is the Chief of Staff for the College of Business at the University of Louisville. In this capacity he oversees external relations, advancement, staff engagement and culture, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, the Family Business Center and other high priority strategic initiatives. In addition to his role as Chief of Staff, Dr. Neary teaches advanced leadership in the MBA program. Before coming to the University of Louisville in 2018, Dr. Neary served in advancement roles at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of South Carolina.  A native of the Philadelphia area, he completed his BA in Political Science (2002), M. Ed. in Higher Education/ Student Affairs (2004) and Ph.D. in Educational Administration (2017) at the University of South Carolina. His research interests have focused on philanthropy, identity, and leadership. Joe and his wife Olivia, have two boys, Joseph (4) and William (2).



Dr. Tammy Alvey Thomas has been with the University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences for over 20 years and has a doctoral degree in social work. She serves as the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education. Dr. Thomas is responsible for the Office of Student Services as well as directs the undergraduate program. Student Services is responsible for undergraduate advising, graduate admissions, recruitment, academic program coordination and meeting the needs of perspective and enrolled students. She has extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of study abroad, admissions, academic advising, curriculum development, accreditation as well as project management. Her passion is helping students meet their long term academic and professional goals.




Dr. Holly Wei is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). Her research focuses on organizational culture, leadership development, clinician well-being, stress genomic biomarkers, and patient care quality. Dr. Wei has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and delivered more than 70 presentations globally. She serves on three journals’ editorial boards, is an Associate Editor for the International Journal for Human Caring, and is on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Human Caring. Dr. Wei has authored a leadership textbook, Visionary Leadership in Healthcare, developed a Convergent Care Theory, and published five practice models: ENERGY SelfCare Model; Resilience-Building Model; Interprofessional Caring Model; PITSTOP Model; CARE Model. Dr. Wei has received numerous prestigious awards, including International Leininger Caring-Culture Award; Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching; Outstanding Research Scholar; DAISY Extraordinary Faculty; North Carolina Nurses Association Nurse Educator of the Year. She is committed to collaborating and developing next-generation leaders.


University of the Cumberlands



Dr. Andrew Hockert is the chair of the Department of Biology at University of the Cumberlands. He was born in Columbia, MD and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. He attended Cibola High School in Albuquerque, did his undergraduate degree at McMurry University in Abilene, TX, and got his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. He joined the biology department of University of the Cumberlands in 2007 with the goal of helping to guide students towards careers in biology and using his experiences to better prepare them for the next step in their careers. He serves on various college committees and has helped to update curriculum and helped design courses in the biology program at University of the Cumberlands.

Western Kentucky University



Kanita K. DuCloux completed her master’s degree in mathematics at Clemson University and her Ph.D. in mathematics education at the University of Georgia. She is an associate professor and interim chair in the Mathematics Department at Western Kentucky University (WKU) where she has been a faculty member since 2011. Before moving to the Mathematics Department, she was a visiting professor in the School of Teacher Education at WKU. Her research focuses on mathematics teacher education, specifically improving K -12 prospective teachers’ mathematics content knowledge; preparing prospective teachers to teach diverse student populations and to implement equitable teaching practices; and examining mathematics teachers’ beliefs about diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition to her passion for mathematics, she also loves to travel, read, and spend time with her family and friends, especially her two daughters, Alexandra, and Kristin.


Gary W. Houchens, PhD, is a former teacher, principal, and district administrator who now serves as Professor of Education Administration at Western Kentucky University. He earned his PhD from the University of Louisville in 2008 and has published peer-reviewed research on leadership and school improvement. He is active in the realm of education policy, serving from 2016-2019 on the Kentucky Board of Education, where he was chair of the KBE Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Committee. Gary serves on the board of directors of EdChoice Kentucky, on the Board of Scholars for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, is Senior Fellow at the Pegasus Institute, and policy advisor for Commonwealth Educational Opportunities.



Jenni Redifer is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Assistant to the Dean for Research in the College of Education & Behavioral Sciences at Western Kentucky University. She earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology and psychology from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) in Grand Junction, Colorado. Dr. Redifer earned her master’s and Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Florida. Her research interests include a) the impacts of cognitive strategies, working memory capacity, and cognitive load on learning, and b) correction of belief in false information about brain function, particularly among educators. Dr. Redifer teaches undergraduate cognitive psychology, undergraduate and graduate educational, and graduate research methods and program evaluation courses. She is a member of several American Psychological Association (APA) committees, including the Board of Educational Affairs Working Group to revise the APA Principles for Quality Undergraduate Education in Psychology and the APA Undergraduate Research Supervision Task Force.


Sara Thomason is an Assistant Professor and the Film Program Coordinator at Western Kentucky University. Her creative work as a cinematographer focuuses in narrative shorts and feature-length films.  She received her B.S. in Journalism and Electronic Media from The University of Tennessee and her M.F.A. in Motion Picture Production from Florida State University. She has lenses projects all over the country and has recently expanded into AR/VR.



Paula A. Upright is the Interim Director of the School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport (KRS) at Western Kentucky University. An Associate Professor teaching fulltime in KRS since 2009, her primary teaching areas include sport ethics, theory, and current issues in Recreation and Sport Administration. Upright holds degrees from the University of Louisville (‘09), Virginia Tech (‘97) and Appalachian State University (’94). She and husband Dave have been married since 1994, their sons Lance and Zach both currently attend WKU. Born in Western North Carolina, Dr. Upright is proud first-generation college with a passion for learning and motivational leadership. She loves to run, mountain bike, read, and travel.


2022 ALA Fellows Directory

2022 Academic Leadership Academy

Fellows Directory




Jessica Adams

Southcentral Community & Technical College

Associate Professor/Assistant to the Dean

Office: 270-901-1237

Cell: 270-779-5233


Meera Alagaraja

University of Louisville

Acting Associate Dean for Innovation and Strategic Partnerships

Office: 502-852-0617

Cell: 979-574-3618


Laken Albrink

Morehead State University

Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

Office: 606-783-5289

Cell: 606-748-4864


Ja’Meeca Alexander

Kentucky State University

Campus Life Coordinator


Cell: 502-597-6032


Tammi Alvey Thomas

University of Louisville

Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education

Office: 502-852-3289

Cell: 502-262-7210


Michelle Asbill

Asbury University

Assistant Professor,Department of Social Work

Cell: 562-810-9806


Julie Ann Boyd

Murray State University

Instructor, Occupational Safety and Health Department

Office: 270-809-5677

Cell: 270=293-8648


Bruce Breeding

Jefferson Community & Technical College

History Instructor, Behavioral and Social Sciences Division

Cell: 502-213-2326


Jay Buckner

Georgetown College

Asst. Director of Marketing & Communications

Office: 502-863-8342

Cell: 859-452-0615


Kristi Burch

Centre College

Academic Technology Specialist

Office: 859-238-5573

Cell: 859-329-1101


Renee Causey-Upton

Eastern Kentucky University

Associate Professor, BSOS Coordinator, HHH Minor Coordinator

Office: 859-622-8297

Cell: 859-519-0861


Mei Chen

University of Kentucky

Professor, Civil Engineering

Office: 859-257-9262


Shannon Collins

Owensboro Community & Technical College

Professor of English and Program Coordinator for Theatre

Office: 270-686-4624

Cell: 270-485-2673


Liz  Combs

University of Kentucky

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Coordinated Program

Office: 859-257-9209

Cell: 859-552-9129


Douglas Craddock

University of Louisville

Chief of Staff to Executive Vice President and University Provost

Office: 502-852-6158

Cell: 502-901-8411


Chelsea Cutright

Centre College

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology & International Studies


Cell: 734-323-4805


Oluwabunmi Dada

Murray State University

Assit. Professor, Dept. of Occupational Safety and Health

Office: 270-809-6650

Cell: 205-427-3929


Michael Dailey

Kentucky State University

Director, Distance Learning and Instructional Design

Office: 502-597-6238

Cell: 859-492-1162


Olivia Davis

University of Kentucky

Associate Director Von Allmen School of Accountancy

Office: 859-323-7517

Cell: 859-608-1295


Gina DeArth-Pendley

Midway University

Associate Professor of Psychology

Office: 859-846-5745

Cell: 859-213-7537


Bassil El Masri

Murray State University

Associate Professor Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Office: 270-809-3110


Christina Florence

Southcentral Community & Technical College

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Office: 270-901-1187

Cell: 270-779-9498


Heather Fox

Eastern Kentucky University

Assistant Professor of English/Coordinator of English Teaching Programs

Office: 859-622-2992

Cell: 804-229-0000


Chris Franklin

Georgetown College

Director of Design and Branding

Office: 502-863-8000 ext.8203

Cell: 859-298-9285


Brian Guinn

University of Louisville

Assistant Professor  of Epidemiology, Director of Master of Public Health Program

Office: 502-649-3035

Cell: 502-649-3035


Hanna Hale

Kentucky State University

Title IX Coordinator and Title VII Investigator

Office: 502-597-6138


Janelle Hare

Morehead State University

Professor of Biology, KY INBRE Lead Faculty

Office: 606-783-2951

Cell: 606-356-1213


Sarah Hargis Lopez

University of Louisville

Deputy Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President and University Provost

Office: 502-852-7034

Cell: 619-885-9582


Donna Heath-Johnson

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Project Manager Workforce Solutions

Office: 859-246-6674

Cell: 859-619-2238


Andrew Hockert

University of the Cumberlands

Department Chair and Professor of Biology

Office: 606–539-4388

Cell: 808-790-6148


Pamela Larkin

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Professor Computer and Information Technologies, 

Office: 502-213-3625


Christopher Ledford

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Director of Institutional Effectiveness

Office: 859-246-6626

Cell: 859-382-5995


Cindy Long

Centre College

Marketing & Publications Coordinator

Office: 859-238-5714

Cell: 859-324-0915


David Long

Morehead State University

Associate Professor of STEM Education 

Office: 606-783-2397

Cell: 859-699-8623


Marie Manning

Eastern Kentucky University

Assistant Professor/Undergraduate Coordinator: Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership

Office: 859-622-1432

Cell: 606-875-1347


Savannah Michaels

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Acdemic Advisor/Student Success Ccoach

Office: 859-246-6765

Cell: 859-533-9196


Nathan Miller

Asbury University

Director, Asbury University Orchestra, Assistant Professor Musicology and Horn

Office: 859-858-3511 x2246

Cell: 859-963-1429


Becky Mitchell Shelton

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Assistant Professor, English

Office: 859-246-6814

Cell: 859-494-0289


Lisa Moran

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Program Coordinator Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program

Office: 859-246-6553

Cell: 502-257-9377


Joe Neary

University of Louisville

Chief of Staff College of Business

Office: 502-852-4784

Cell: 610-324-0226


Mike  Pennell

University of Kentucky

Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies

Office: 859-257-6985

Cell: 401-569-6636


Julie Perino

Transylvania University

Digital Content and Technology Integration Specialist

Office: 859-233-8523


Jenni Redifer

Western Kentucky University

Assistant to the Dean for Research (CEBS), Associate Professor of Psychology

Office: 270-745-4081

Cell: 970-201-6970


Stephanie Riehn

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Instructor, First Year Coordinator, Program of Dental Hygiene

Office: 859-246-6303

Cell: 270-779-5485


Marci Robles

Eastern Kentucky University

Assistant Dean and Chair of Faculty, Professor College of Business

Office: 859-622-1117

Cell: 859-582-8680


Angela Roby-Staples

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Assistant Director of Academic Advising

Cell: 859-583-7247


Patricia Routt

Sullivan University

Nursing Program Director

Office: 859-514-7633

Cell: 606-425-3367


Andrea Sanford Fender

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Assistant Registrar

Office: 859-246-6499

Cell: 859-492-3706


Michael Troy Shell

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Campus Direct & Adjunct Professor

Office: 502-592-8789


Steve Shih-Chia Chen

Morehead State University

Professor of Sport Management

Office: 606-783-2433

Cell: 606-783-2433


Shellena Smith

Southcentral Community & Technical College

Associate Professor

Office: 270-901-1229

Cell: 270-315-9750


Caryn Sorge

University of Kentucky

Assistant Professor Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine

Office: 859-323-6771

Cell: 513-532-7167


William Specker

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

IT Coordinator-IT Services

Office: 859-246-6382

Cell: 859-576-8340


Stacy Taylor

University of Kentucky

Director of Practice Advancement Partnerships, Assistant Professor

Office: 859-323-5046

Cell: 979-777-9853


Susie Thiel

University of Kentucky

Associate Professor and Director of Dance

Office: 859-257-3298

Cell: 917-406-7578


Sara Thomason

Western Kentucky University

Assistant Professor, Film Program Coordinator

Office: 270-745-5890

Cell: 423-596-1067


Jon Thrower

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Assistant Professor, Humanities

Office: 859-246-6721

Cell: 859-270-7953


Stephanie Tollivar Hyman

Southcentral Community & Technical College

Dean, Arts & Humanities

Office: 270-901-1022

Cell: 704-648-6306


Paula Upright

Western Kentucky University

Interim Director, School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport

Office: 270-745-3004

Cell: 270-791-3199


Melinda Weathers

Centre College

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Education

Office: 859-238-5398

Cell: 859-319-9267


Marika Wesolosky

Sullivan University

Senior Associate Director of Admissions

Office: 859-514-7642

Cell: 859-913-6703


Rachele Yadon

University of Kentucky

Assistant Professor

Office: 859-323-6021

Cell: 614-416-2816


Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium Institutions