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

2021 Academic Leadership Academy

2021 ALA October 22nd Agenda


 Hosted by: BCTC & CPE

October 22, 2021



9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions, Rob Rumpke, President Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium

ALA Co-Chairs:  Sonia Sanders Kentucky State University, Dr. Carrie Christensen Midway University                                                                                                     


9:15 a.m.

Morning Keynote:  Dr. Koffi Akakpo, President, Bluegrass Community & Technical College
Focus on Diversity & Socio-economic issues/barriers to students.

9:40 a.m.

Q&A: Questions & Answers, Conversation

9:50 a.m.-

11:55 a.m.

Campus Projects:  4 Concurrent Sessions where campus projects will be presented in break out rooms. You will be able to choose your own Zoom Room.






Room 1





Room 2




Room 3


Jefferson CTC



Room 4 



U of L

12 Noon

Lunch Break

12:20 p.m.

President’s Case Studies:  Dr. William Jones President, Georgetown College & Dr. Ashish Vaidya, President Northern Kentucky University. The Path to Leadership & Most Significant Challenges and Decisions. Conversation, Q&A

1:10 p.m.

Break, Transition to Roundtable Discussions 

1:20 p.m. 




Roundtable Discussions (choose 3, 20 min each) You will be able to choose your own Zoom Room.

Accreditation:  Dr.  Carrie Christensen, Midway University

Admissions & Recruiting: Brandon Combs, Assistant VP for Admissions, Asbury University; Scott McDonald, Dean of Admissions, University of Kentucky

Departmental Budgets and Finance: Dr. Dana Bush Chair Dept of Applied Human Sciences, & Dr. Michael Ballard, Associate Dean College of Health Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University.

Chair/Dean Development:  Dr. Rich Schein, Associate Dean (former) of Faculty, Arts and Sciences University of Kentucky.

Diversity:  Dr. Ronald Jackson, Director Center for Inclusive Excellence and Global Engagement, Eastern Kentucky University.

Government Relations/Issues:   Ethan Witt, Assistant Vice President for Government & Community Relations, Eastern Ky University; Brian Perry, Government Affairs, Kentucky Community & Technical College System.

Mental & Psychological Issues on our Campuses: Dr. Goldie Williams, Morehead State University Counseling Center

2:50 p.m. 


Back to Main Zoom Room-Networking, Discussion, Conversation on takeaways


3:10 p.m.

Final Keynote:  Melissa Bell, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) & Mason Dyer, Vice President Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges & Universities (AIKCU) Updates & Issues in Education at the State Level.                      

3:40 p.m.


 Q&A Wrap Up, Certificates to be mailed to Campus Liaisons

 Please complete your participant evaluation survey. Evaluation Link


2021 ALA Speaker & Panelist Bios


Friday, October 22, 2021


Opening Keynote

Dr. Koffi Akakpo, President

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Dr. Koffi Akakpo became president of Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Kentucky in February 2019.  He has worked in private industry and state government, and served students in higher education for 15 years, from classroom instruction to all aspects of administration.

Dr. Akakpo also served as vice president for business, administrative, and student services at North Central State College in Mansfield, Ohio and he served as deputy director/secretary at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and as director of financial planning and management and an adjunct faculty member at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Dr. Akakpo implemented his “students first” philosophy in all areas under his leadership. These initiatives included developing and expanding core values and student-centered goals, restructuring, and enhancing the NCSC enrollment process through the implementation of strategic enrollment initiatives to improve student service and increase enrollment, and working with local high schools to increase dual enrollment and scholarship opportunities. He also led efforts to move the college from an operating budget deficit to a positive financial situation, while improving services and infrastructure for students.

Dr. Akakpo holds a master’s degree in managerial finance from the University of Lome in Togo, an MBA from Ashland University, and a doctorate in higher education administration with a focus on community college leadership from the University of Toledo.

Strong connections to family and community are important to Dr. Akakpo. His passion in life and career is helping others achieve their dreams, and he is guided by what best serves the students. Dr. Akakpo and his wife Carolyn have two beautiful daughters. 


Luncheon Keynote President’s Panel

Dr. William Jones, President, Georgetown College & Dr. Ashish Vaidya, President, Northern Kentucky University

Dr. William Jones, President

Georgetown College  

 On July 1, 2019, Will Jones, a native Kentuckian, was named as the 25th president of Georgetown College.  Georgetown College’s Christian commitment to higher education and the developing, beautiful, and diverse Bluegrass Region attracted Will to serve at Georgetown. President Jones has a passion for fundraising for to help others has shaped his career as a servant leader.

Prior to arriving at Georgetown College, he served as the president of Bethany College in Kansas. While there, he led the administration, board of directors, faculty, and staff in increasing full-time enrollment nearly 25 percent, launching a free study-abroad experience to Sweden for the sophomore class, fundraising for the renovation of a historic residence hall and for a new tennis complex, receiving the largest single gift in the history of the college, and completing a five-year strategic plan.

Will has a track record of helping independent colleges enhance their fundraising success. He led LaGrange College in Georgia for seven years as a Vice President on record fundraising and enrollment growth and was instrumental in starting a Master’s program in Philanthropy and Development. He also led successful fundraising efforts at both Goshen College and Berea College. Will is currently completing a doctorate in International Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University.  President Jones earned a master’s degree in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Berea College.


Dr. Ashish Vaidya, President

Northern Kentucky University

Dr. Ashish Vaidya as served as Northern Kentucky University’s sixth president since July 1, 2018, after being named on Nov. 9, 2017. As NKU’s president, Vaidya is responsible for championing the university’s mission and core values, charting an adventurous course and communicating the strategic priorities clearly with internal and external stakeholders. He works closely with the chair and members of the Board of Regents to achieve those priorities and strengthen the university and the community. Vaidya fosters a collegial and collaborative culture that capitalizes on the richness of the NKU community and furthers its commitment to access and inclusive excellence.

Vaidya most recently served a two-year term as interim president of St. Cloud (Minn.) State University, which is similar to NKU in size, scope and complexity. As interim president, he served as the campus CEO and oversaw all operations and the university’s strategic direction. He also managed SCSU’s $210 million operating budget.

Prior to his tenure as interim president at St. Cloud, he served as the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. Before SCSU, Vaidya served at two different campuses in the California State University system, where his last appointed role was special advisor to the president for regional economic development at Cal State Los Angeles. From 2010-2014, he served as Cal State L.A.’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. Prior to his tenure there, he was dean of faculty at Cal State Channel Islands, where he helped to build a new institution from the ground up.

Vaidya has published numerous books and articles, including serving as an editor of “Operationalizing Stewards of Place: Implementing Regional Engagement and Economic Development Strategies,” a 2015 publication of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.  His extensive community

work includes service on the boards of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, the Initiative Foundation, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, Partner for Student Success and the University Economic Development Association, among others. He is a member of the AASCU’s Committee on Workforce and Economic Development and from 2014-16, he served as chair of the AASCU Research Engagement and Research Council.

Vaidya is married to Nita Vaidya, a sociologist. They have two children: Jaanhvi, a management consultant with Accenture; and Avaneesh, a 2018 graduate of the University of Arizona and a technology development associate at Optum; and Coco—the family’s pampered Chihuahua mix pet.

Roundtable Presenters

Dr. Michael Ballard, Associate Dean

College of Health Sciences

Eastern Kentucky University

Michael D. Ballard, Ed.D., currently serves as the Interim Associate Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Dr. Ballard previously served as the chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Administration at EKU for 17 years. Additional higher education experiences include serving as a faculty member at Western Kentucky University and Morehead State University.  Dr. Ballard’s academic training includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in Health Education from Eastern Kentucky University.  He completed the Specialist in Education degree in Safety Education and Service and the Doctorate of Education in Health Education at the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Dana Bush

Chair, Dept. of Applied Human Sciences

Eastern Kentucky University

Dr. Dana Keller Bush is the Chair of the Department of Applied Human Sciences in the College of Education and Applied Human Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University and is a Professor of Child and Family Studies. She holds a B.S. in Child and Family Studies from Eastern Kentucky University, a M.S. in Family Studies, Early Childhood Education and a Ph.D. in Studies of Higher Education from The University of Kentucky. She has presented nationally and internationally on topics of curriculum development and leadership.



Dr. Carrie Christensen

Director of Accreditation & Academic Initiatives          

Midway University                                                  

Dr. Carrie Christensen is the Director of Accreditation & Academic Initiatives at Midway University. In this role, she coordinates institutional accreditation, oversees the institution’s Dual Credit and assessment programs, and manages several areas of academic policy. Dr. Christensen holds a master’s in biology from Tennessee Technological University and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Organizational Design with a specialty in Higher Education Administration from the University of Louisville. After more than 15 years of higher education teaching, she now works primarily in administrative roles, but still manages to teach most semesters. She has worked with more than six different programmatic accreditors and SACSCOC regional accreditation since 2014 completing Fifth-Year Interim and Compliance Certification reports at three Kentucky Colleges & Universities. She is a SACSCOC trained evaluator for Institutional Effectiveness Standards and enjoys participating in the peer review process.


Dr. Brandon Combs

Assistant Vice President for Admissions                                

Asbury University

Brandon Combs currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Admissions for Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. In his AVP role, Mr. Combs provides leadership and direction for all recruitment and admissions functions in traditional-undergraduate, graduate, and international student recruiting. He started his enrollment career thirteen years ago as an Admissions Counselor and has held multiple leadership positions in his tenure at Asbury. Brandon lives in Nicholasville, KY with his wife, Liz, and their two children. Brandon is an alumnus of the ALA program and serves on the boards for Youth Leadership Jessamine County and the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce.


Dr. Ronald Jackson, Director

Center of Inclusive Excellence and Global Engagement

Eastern KY University

Ron M. Jackson currently serves as the Director of the new Center for Inclusive Excellence and Global Engagement at Eastern Kentucky University.  He has returned to Kentucky after serving as the Dean of Students for Off-Campus Student Relations, Student and Cultural Engagement and International Student Engagement at Arizona State University.  His primary focus is to boost student success through engagement, leadership development and sense of belonging.  He does this by affirming heritage for all students from around the world, while also ensuring they have a gratifying and appreciative academic experience.   Ron works across the EKU campus and the surrounding community to uplift diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure students have access and a voice.

Ron is from Louisville, Kentucky where he worked as the Director of Human Services before joining Spalding University to teach in the School of Social Work while working as the Director of Student Leadership and Development.  He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in Criminal Justice and Juvenile Services before gaining his Masters from the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville.


Dr. Scott McDonald

Dean of Admissions                                                          

University of Kentucky

Scott McDonald, who was the assistant vice president for academic services and director of admissions at Texas A&M University, was named the first dean of admissions at the University of Kentucky in 2017. As dean of admissions, McDonald serves as the senior undergraduate enrollment officer for the university. In this capacity, he is responsible for developing and implementing marketing and recruitment strategies to achieve enrollment goals for undergraduate students, including transfer and international students, while also representing the Office of Admissions to internal and external constituencies and instilling confidence in the policies, practices and procedures for recruitment and admissions. In addition, as dean, McDonald oversees the work of the director for undergraduate students and the director of admissions for transfer students.

McDonald’s expertise is pivotal to the university's efforts with regard to retention and graduation — ambitious goals established by the Strategic Plan. McDonald earned his bachelor's degree in public administration and his master's degree in adult education from the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville. McDonald has served in admissions for two decades, beginning as the associate director for admissions for the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in 1997.

He has served in the Office of Admissions at Texas A&M University since 2006-17 and was assistant vice president for academic services and director of admissions since 2011-17.


Brian Perry                                                                

Office of the President 

Kentucky Community & Technical College System Government Affairs          

Brian joined the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) in 2013 and currently serves as the System’s legislative liaison to the Kentucky General Assembly and Kentucky’s federal congressional delegation. The Commonwealth’s largest provider of postsecondary education and workforce development, KCTCS is comprised of sixteen individually accredited community and technical colleges that collectively serve all 120 counties with more than 70 locations.

A native of Versailles, KY, Brian received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC and a Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from EKU. He is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation in UK’s College of Education. Brian lives in Lexington with is wife, Kathryn, and their daughter, Maddie. They are active members of Woodland Christian Church, where Brian currently serves as Moderator.


Dr. Richard Schein

Former Associate Dean of Faculty

College of Arts & Sciences -University of Kentucky

Richard Schein is a Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky. He has been named Distinguished Historical Geographer by the American Association of Geographers and has been the Fulbright Chair of North American Studies at the University of Helsinki. His administrative record includes two terms as Director of Graduate Studies in Geography, and one term each as Chair of Geography (approx. 21 faculty and 40 graduate students) and Associate Dean (of Faculty) in the College of Arts and Sciences (480 faculty members). He presently is on administrative secondment to the Dean’s office as he transitions back to the faculty.

Ethan Witt

Asst. VP for Government & Community Relations                

Eastern Kentucky University

Ethan Witt joined the staff at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in 2018 and currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Government & Community Relations. Ethan is EKU’s primary liaison to the Kentucky General Assembly, Kentucky’s federal congressional delegation, and local officials and community leaders in Richmond, Madison County, and across Kentucky. Ethan also spearheads special projects and strategic initiatives between EKU and the local community.

Ethan has a passion for public service and previously served on the staffs of United States Senator Mitch McConnell and United States Representative Andy Barr.  A native of Irvine, Kentucky, Ethan graduated from EKU in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Communication from Purdue University and will graduate in May 2022.

Ethan lives in central Kentucky with his wife, Bailey. He is a member of the Leadership Kentucky Class of 2021 and serves on the boards of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Bluegrass Tomorrow, and the Kentucky Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. Ethan is an active member of Northeast Christian Church.


Goldie Williams

Counseling Center

Morehead State University

Goldie Williams is a Ky. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who serves as the Director of Counseling and Health Services at Morehead State University. She is in her 31 year of human services work in Ky. And has more than 26 years of experience as a therapist.  She graduated from the University of Ky. Family Studies program in 1994 and has spent her career working with families here in Kentucky. During this time, she has seen first-hand the ongoing effects of abuse, trauma and drug addiction that have negatively impacted Ky. Families.  She began her work at Morehead State University in January 2020 and has worked with the universities Covid 19 response to address the mental health challenges that have emerged as a result.

Final Keynote

Melissa Bell

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success

Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE)

Melissa Bell is the vice president for academic affairs and student success at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. She joined CPE in 2006 as a senior associate and has served as director of academic affairs, assistant vice president and associate vice president before becoming vice president in 2019.  She holds a Ph.D. in public administration from the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and a master’s degree from the university’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. Prior to joining the Council staff, she worked in the fields of public policy research and economic development.


Mason Dyer

VP of Public Affairs

Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges & Universities (AIKCU)

Mason Dyer leads AIKCU’s public relations, marketing, and communications efforts and works with the president in the areas of policy and government relations. Mason also manages AIKCU's research and data efforts and coordinates collaborative activities for many of AIKCU's member groups, including chief academic officers, advancement, marketing and communications, enrollment, institutional research and effectiveness, financial aid, student affairs, and several others. He has been with the association since 2005. Mason holds a bachelor’s degree from Centre College, where he double-majored in English and history, and a Master's of Science in Business Communication from Spalding University.


2021 ALA Fellows Biographies with Photos

2021 Academic Leadership Academy

Fellows Biographies

Big Sandy Community & Technical College


Dr. Jill Keaton is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and earned a Master of Science Degree in Orofacial Pain and Oral Medicine at the University of Southern California, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry. Dr. Keaton is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and co-authored a systematic review and meta-analysis pertaining to bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw published in the Journal of the American Dental Association. She serves as the Director of the Dental Hygiene Program, Dental Assisting Program, and Community Dental Health Coordinator Program at Big Sandy Community and Technical College and teaches oral pathology, head and neck anatomy, and radiology. Dr. Keaton has served as an Ex-Officio Member of the Kentucky Board of Dentistry and was recently appointed a Commission on Dental Accreditation Site Visitor and test constructor for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College


Justin Ball is a native of Harrodsburg, Ky and has had the pleasure of serving the Bluegrass Region of Central Kentucky as the Bursar/ Assistant Director of Business Affairs at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). He has served in this role since 2012 and continues to enjoy the opportunity to serve this region with our college’s “Student First” Motto. He serves on multiple college committees and workgroups and has previously completed the CMBI (College Business Management Institute), the McCall Presidential Leadership Academy, the BCTC Presidential Leadership Academy, the National Leadership Forum, and the Leadership Lexington Conference. Prior to working in Higher Education for BCTC, He served in a variety of positions within the private sector of business, such as; Finance, Business Administration, Marketing, Sales, and Operations. He completed his associate degrees at Lexington Community College (LCC) and then transferred to the University of Kentucky, where He completed his BA in Business Administration and Marketing.


Jeff Herrin is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Bluegrass Community & Technical College. In his 9th year at BCTC, he has served in various coordinator positions within the Mathematics and Statistics Division. Jeff currently serves as Coordinator of the Mathematics and Statistics Division, but beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, Jeff will serve as Assistant Dean of the MS Division.

Jeff is a graduate of UK (1992 BS, Mathematics), EKU (2002 MAT, Mathematics Secondary Education), and BCTC (2020 AAS, Computer Programming). When free time is found, Jeff enjoys camping with his family, woodworking, 3D design & printing, programming in various languages, and binge-watching episodes of How It’s Made.


Dixie Kendall is the Program Coordinator and an Assistant Professor for the Equine Studies program at Bluegrass Community & Technical College. Prior to her current role, Ms. Kendall held various management and leadership positions in the equine industry that have enabled her to apply industry experience in her teaching pedagogy. In her first year as a faculty with BCTC, Ms. Kendall was awarded the Rising Star Faculty Award. In addition to her role with BCTC, Ms. Kendall also serves on various academic committees such as the Guided Pathways Task Force as well as industry related Boards including the Equestrian Athlete Initiative with the University of Kentucky’s Sports Medicine Research Institution. Ms. Kendall is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration, Concentration in Equine Management at Midway University with an anticipated completion date of May 2022.


Dr. Brian Schanding’s work is centered on the support of international student learning and cultural exchange. Prior to joining Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), he has held various roles in higher education stateside and has taught English and delivered faculty development training in Bulgaria, Iraq, and Poland. He received his M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University and his Ed.D. in Literacy and Second Language Studies from the University of Cincinnati. In his current role, Brian directs the operations of the International Student Services office at BCTC, overseeing outreach, admissions, and support services for all students with F-1 visas and serves as the Principal Designated School Official to federal partners.

Centre College

Jessica Rosz-Mary Chisley is the Assistant Director of Diversity & Inclusion Programming at Centre College. She is also a Posse Mentor and serves on the College’s Staff Congress. Prior to her current role, she served as the Associate Head Coach of the Women’s Soccer program, where she helped take the program to its first-ever NCAA National Semi-Final in 2015. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Centre College and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Gina M. Nicoletti-Bellinger is a dynamic and innovative leader who has risen to top management positions in the highly-regulated, competitive NCAA environment, where she has built and led successful, cross-functional teams that laid the groundwork for Centre College to expand team sports and recruiting, launched The Buck Fitness Center, and increased visibility on a national level. Throughout her career, Gina has trained and mentored coaches and student-athletes, streamlined operations, and optimized growth strategies, all of which has positively impacted the athletic department’s annual operating budget.  By inspiring a sense of purpose and direction, Gina has successfully led staffs and student-athletes through unprecedented crisis – most recently COVID19 –, change management, and growing a successful and well-respected athletic department. Gina earned her MS, Sports Psychology from Ithaca College, and BS, Physical Education from Elon College.


Andrew Patrick received his B.A. in History and Philosophy from Centre College and his MA and PhD in History from the University of Kentucky. While completing his graduate studies, he worked at the Kentucky Historical Society, first as an editorial assistant for the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society and later in community engagement where he administered the Kentucky Historical Marker program. In 2017, he returned to Centre to join the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) where he provides pedagogical support to faculty who incorporate community-engaged and experiential learning in their courses and began teaching in the History program. Subsequently, he has taken on the role of Associate Director of CentreWorks, a new downtown initiative that seeks to bridge the gap between the campus and community while encouraging entrepreneurial and creative thinking. He maintains his roles with the CTL and History program.


Eastern Kentucky University

Heather Beirne currently serves as Eastern Kentucky University Libraries’ Director of Teaching and Learning. Ms. Beirne is in her twelfth year at EKU and in her tenth year of librarianship, having graduated from University of Kentucky with her MSLS in 2010. Professional and research interests include information literacy pedagogy and learning theory, particularly metacognitive, innovative information literacy instruction based in ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Another major interest of Ms. Beirne’s is faculty outreach and meaningful librarian-faculty collaboration as a necessary component of an effective, holistic information literacy instruction strategy.


Dr. Chad Foster currently serves as associate professor in the College of Justice and Safety at Eastern Kentucky University. In this capacity, he enjoys working with students interested in the homeland security and emergency management fields of study. Chad became a full-time faculty member in 2014, after eight years serving as a Federal Emergency Management Agency contractor with responsibilities for implementing various preparedness programs. In 2001, Chad joined The Council of Statement Governments as a public safety and justice policy analyst, and managed multiple projects at CSG for five years. He began his professional career in the U.S. Army, which included two overseas peacekeeping operations. Chad earned an undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy, and graduate degrees in public administration and urban and public affairs from the University of Louisville.



Dr. Casey Humphrey is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University. She also serves as the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator within her department. Casey has a bachelor’s and doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University and has a Master’s of Health Administration from Des Moines University. She is a licensed occupational therapist with clinical expertise in brain injury rehabilitation. Casey holds certifications as a brain injury specialist and a driving rehabilitation specialist. Casey serves as the Education Chair on the executive board for the Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association. 

During her tenure at Eastern Kentucky University, Dr. Nicola Mason has had opportunity to teach a variety of courses in cultural competency, music education, and African/American studies. She has served EKU and her profession in various ways. As a faculty senate representative for the department, she was able to support the hire of EKU’s first Ombud; as President for the Kentucky Orff-Schulwerk Association she was able to provide musical professional development for teachers across the state of Kentucky. Dr. Mason’s scholarly agenda includes serving on the editorial board for the American Orff-Schulwerk Association as well as obtaining external and internal grant funding for her current collaborative research. She currently serves as the Interim Chair for the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. In this role, she prioritizes culturally responsive practices in both curriculum design and among faculty in the department as a sustainable practice. Dr. Mason is an immigrant South African-American.


Dr. Richard Osbaldiston is the Chair of and a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University. He came to EKU in 2008 after completing his dissertation in social/personality psychology at University of Missouri. His classes typically focus around two themes: personal growth and research skills. His research program has morphed over the years to become almost entirely student driven. In the last decade, he has mentored over 200 undergraduate and graduate students who have presented research at state and regional conferences. He begins every lecture with an inspirational or motivational quote, and his favorite quote is, “The most powerful force on earth is the human soul on fire.”


Georgetown College


Kelsey Berry is currently a senior graphic designer at Georgetown College. She has had the opportunity to shape the brands and identities of several organizations over the years and now enjoys using her skills to contribute to the mission of Georgetown College. She maintains GC’s visual identity by overseeing the design of a wide variety of college publications and materials as well as working with current graphic design students. In her five years with the college, she has helped several students gain real-world experience and develop professional portfolios. She also has assisted students in graduate school and/or job placement.


Abby Malik is currently the executive director of marketing and communications at Georgetown College. A 2001 Morehead State University graduate, she moved to NYC to obtain her master’s degree at Pace University. While there, she worked at Thirteen PBS and After returning to Kentucky, she worked in the communications office at Centre College for five years, then spent the next decade moving up the ranks at KET. At Georgetown College, her leadership role focuses on strengthening relationships and processes, enhancing the College’s brand visibility, and coaching her team and her peers to be the best they can be.

Henderson Community College


Lilia Joy is a Professor of English at Henderson Community College. During her fifteen-year teaching career at HCC, she has taught courses in basic writing, English Composition, business writing, and creative writing. She has earned a BA/ MA in English from State Pedagogical University in Russia, MA in TESOL and MFA in Creative Writing from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. In her leadership role, she has coordinated the student literary magazine, founded and directed the writing center, and chaired the division of liberal arts and professional studies. Lilia Joy lives with her husband and two children in Henderson, Kentucky.

Jefferson Community & Technical College


Marlisa R. Austin is a Professor of English and Humanities and currently serves as Coordinator of the African American Studies Certificate program at Jefferson Community & Technical College. Marlisa has held a number of leadership roles for Jefferson, including English Department Head and Humanities Division Chair, the largest departments at the College. Throughout her tenure, Marlisa has led College-wide initiatives focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, including Achieving the Dream 2.0. In this latter role, she worked collaboratively with faculty, staff, administrators, and students to develop a strategic plan, programming and initiatives for African American student success in teaching, support, and community engagement. She was Faculty Co-Chair for the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) focus on Reading. She presented at the Kentucky Association of Blacks in Higher Education, the Kentucky Association for Developmental Education, the National Association for Developmental Education, the Annual Showcase of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the Two-Year College English Association-Southeast.

Marlisa holds a BA in Secondary English Education, an MA in Education, and is pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.



Jennifer Huff serves as the Associate Director of Admissions over processing for Jefferson Community & Technical College, a position she has held since August  2017. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2017 as well as a Master’s in Organizational Leadership in 2019. In addition, she also teaches FYE (First year experience) as an adjunct faculty, is Residency Counselor for Admissions to assist students with the residency appeal process and is a TIER II for Jefferson County which is a position that serves as point of contact with questions or updates from our student support services and enrollment coaches.


Cristina Marsh oversees the administration, operation, program development, and curriculum alignment for eight KY Skills U program counties. Throughout her career, Ms. Marsh has worked to identify the needs and strengths of Adult Education students assisting in their transition to ABE, GED, certificate programs, and employment. Ms. Marsh has been involved in the implementation of academic standards in Kentucky serving as a coach on OCTAE’s SIA project. She also led a team of instructors to create contextualized lessons in Kentucky. Ms. Marsh taught math and ESOL at JCTC-KY Skills U Carrollton program, Spanish college credit classes, and community educational programs. Ms. Marsh graduated with a B.A. in Interior Architecture from the University of Art in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain. Additionally, she holds a certificate in Advanced Internet and Computer Technology by Marengo Academy, in Spain. She moved to the U.S. 20 years ago and became a citizen on August 14, 2009.



Dr. Angela Scharfenberger is the Associate Director of Admissions, International Admissions at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Angela’s doctoral studies in Ethnomusicology (African Studies) prepared her to approach her work as an endeavor in building cross-cultural understanding. She has worked administrative and faculty positions in higher education for over fifteen years.  Within her role at Jefferson, Dr. Scharfenberger builds on the fundamental belief in social justice and is committed to efforts to support immigrant and BIPOC students that will strengthen our communities and create a more equitable world. She serves as a board member and instructor with Louisville Folk School, as well as an independent consultant for local arts and cultural programming.



Heather Yocum is the Site Director for Jefferson Community and Technical College-Carrollton Campus. Starting her career at Jefferson almost thirteen years ago she transitioned into a faculty role as a Counselor. Upon receiving her Associate Professor faculty promotion, she decided she was ready for a new challenge and that is when she interviewed and accepted her current administrative role. Heather is a former Jefferson student who is passionate about her hometown and making it a better place to work and live. Heather has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bellarmine University and a Master’s degree in Communication from Northern Kentucky University. Heather currently serves as volunteer for the Women’s Crisis Center and serves on various committees and boards in her community which include Carroll County Development Corporation and Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.


Kentucky Community & Technical College System

Haley McCoy serves as Executive Director of Economic Development for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. She lives in Richmond, KY and holds an Executive MBA from the UK/UofL joint Executive MBA program. She also has an MA in Theological Studies from Lexington Theological Seminary and a BS in Mass Communications from Union College. Haley has served on several non-profit boards, including the Christian Appalachian Project, and she was a founding executive committee member of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Inc. Prior to KCTCS, she served appointments within the Cabinet for Economic Development and the Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Kentucky State University

Born and raised in Springfield, Ohio, DeAnna Brown received her Bachelor’s in Manufacturing Engineering from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She also holds a Master’s in Engineering Management from the University of Dayton.

DeAnna spent most of her career as a Civil Servant with the Department of Defense and Defense Contractor with Universal Technology Corporation (now ARCTOS). After working on several programs with institutions of Higher Learning, Mrs. Brown decided it was time for a career change and in 2018 joined her Alma Mater working on grant related programs. Because of the love of the students she also decided to become an Adjunct Professor for the College of Business. In 2020 Mrs. Brown joined the Kentucky State University and is currently the Director of Title III Programs.

Mrs. Brown is married to her college sweetheart, Mr. Frank E. Brown, Jr. and they have three beautiful sons; Franklin, Ethan and Brennan.



Tonika East, Ed.D, is a Nashville Native that has spent nearly over 20 years in the educational arena ranging from public education, vocational rehabilitation, and higher education. She is currently the Associate Director of Career and Professional Development at Kentucky State University and an Adjunct Instructor for University College. In her primary role, she organizes career and professional development programs with collaborative efforts from various campus departments and employer partners to connect students with experts, practitioners, or mentors through networking, internships, or employment opportunities. Tonika serves as the Awards and Innovation Chair for the Kentucky Association of Colleges and Employers (KACE). She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, the American Council for the Blind, and the National Federation for the Blind.

She holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from Tennessee State University; one in Sociology and Speech Theatre Communications, a Master of Education in Mild and Moderate Disabilities, and an Educational Degree Specialist in Higher Education and Supervision, both from Middle Tennessee State University. Lastly, a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Professional Studies from Trevecca Nazarene University. Tonika is the parent of two daughters and has a granddog named BeBe.



Dr. Timothy Forde serves as the Chair of the School of Education, Human Development, and Consumer Sciences at Kentucky State University. He also serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the university. Dr. Forde received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He has a MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his bachelors from Oakwood University. Dr. Forde has been in leadership positions for the past 10 years. Additionally, Dr. Forde has written articles and presented workshops on the topics of culturally responsive pedagogy and inclusive excellence. In his spare time, he enjoys racquetball, playing the piano and riding his Harley Davidson.



Micah J. Glenn, Ph.D. is the Coordinator for Board Operations and Strategic Initiatives for the Kentucky State University with over fifteen years of higher education experience in academic and student affairs. Specifically, he has worked in recreation, multicultural affairs, academic affairs, and senior administration. Dr. Glenn also serves as a Program Researcher for the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KY-WV LSAMP). Dr. Glenn received a Bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University in Kinesiology, a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Arts in Applied Research, Measurement, and Evaluation, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University.



Arlen J. Sims serves as the Interim Dean of Student for Student Engagement and Campus Life at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky, and a visiting professor in the School of Business.  He previously served as the Director for First- and Second-Year Experience in the University College. Prior to working in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs roles. Arlen served as a business education Area Director for Sodexo Incorporated and Magic Johnson Enterprises. During his tenure with this joint venture, he managed 14 client portfolios, $5 million dollars of managed volume, over $ 1.5 million of Federal Grant Funding. More importantly, he had the opportunity to mentor young entrepreneurs and oversee a component of the educational internship program. Arlen is a graduate of Alcorn State University where he earned Bachelor of Arts in History and Pre-Law. He also earned a Master’s in Business Administration, from Indiana Wesleyan University. Believing in the concept of lifelong learning, Dean Sims is currently a Doctoral student at Morehead State University where he is enrolled in the Higher Education Administration program.

Currently serving the Kentucky State University as the Director of Institutional Research since 2013, Yuliana Susanto assists the University community with institutional data – ranging from student enrollment, grades, financial aid, finance, faculty and staff, etc. She is a trained federal report keyholder and administrator, working with Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), NCAA, National Student Clearinghouse, among others. She graduated with a Master of Vocational Education from the Morehead State University and a Master of Public Administration from the Kentucky State University, and has been with the KSU family since 2006.

Madisonville Community College Health Campus


Ava Cook is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Madisonville Community and Technical College. Ava began teaching in 2009 and brings 27 years of nursing experience to her students. Ava graduated with an MSN degree from Northern Kentucky in 2014. She currently teaches Advanced Medical Surgical Nursing, that consists of lecture, lab and clinical practice. Ava worked for over 16 years at Regional Medical Center in Madisonville, KY, where she worked in a variety of settings as a registered nurse, certified case manager and infection control manager. Ava also enjoyed working in the home health setting on and off for the last 26 years. Her teaching goal each semester is to engage, motivate and provide an innovative experience for all the students while providing them a safe, caring environment to learn and explore.


Maysville Community & Technical College


Melinda Walker is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Liberal Arts & Education Division Chair at Maysville Community & Technical College. She began her teaching career approximately 14 years ago and teaches general, human relations, developmental, and abnormal psychology courses. Before pursuing a career in education, Melinda practiced as psychological associate at a community mental health center. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Morehead State University. She resides in Georgetown, Kentucky with her two children. Her personal interests include hiking and traveling.




Midway University


Dr. Nancy Barnum has over 35 years’ experience as a registered nurse with clinical expertise in maternal/newborn and women’s health as well as nursing management. Dr. Barnum has worked as a staff nurse at Eaton Rapids Community Hospital and Henry Ford Allegiance Health, both in Michigan. Following a move to Lexington, KY, she worked as a staff nurse then nurse manager at the University of Kentucky Hospital Mother-Baby Unit.

Dr. Barnum also has over 25 years’ experience in nursing education, having taught in BSN programs at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and Hope College in Holland, MI prior to coming to Midway in 2012. Her teaching experience has included courses in maternal/newborn nursing, women’s health, nursing leadership, nursing research, and courses related to nursing professionalism.

With a PhD in Higher Education, she also has experience in curriculum design, teaching/learning, and evaluation. Dr. Barnum holds the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) credential through the National League for Nursing. Dr. Barnum’s research interests include both the history of and current trends in nursing education.



Dr. Diane Orr Chlebowy earned BSN, MSN (administration), MA (adult education), and PhD (nursing) degrees from The Ohio State University. She held administrative appointments as director of baccalaureate and master’s nursing programs at the University of Louisville prior to her appointment as Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Midway University. In addition, she served as an Executive Leadership Fellow in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Leadership for Academic Nursing Program. 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 while publishing in numerous peer-reviewed journals and presenting at local, regional, and national conferences. Dr. Chlebowy continues to provide leadership in professional and community organizations to advance the nursing profession.


Assistant Professor Teresa D. Vincent, DNP, BSEd, RN, CNOR joined Midway University the fall of 2020 as the Program Coordinator for the MSN On-line Program. Dr. Vincent received her Doctorate Nursing Practice with a Leadership focus from Bellarmine University in 2006. She received her undergraduate in Adult Technical Education from Murray State University in 2001. At Midway, Dr. Vincent teaches MSN On-line courses for the administrative and educational tracks along with administrative responsibilities.  She has taught master on-line courses for Indiana Wesleyan University and Olivet Nazarene University. She was the director of the Surgical Technology Program for Kentucky Tech for five years. There her responsibilities included administrative, didactic, and clinical.





Morehead State University


Natasha Davis is Assistant Dean of Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Associate Professor of Dance at Morehead State University located in Morehead, KY. Ms. Davis will complete her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Kentucky in May 2021 where her research focuses on conflict and conflict management amongst faculty and administrators in institutions of higher education. Ms. Davis holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA) and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, NC). Ms. Davis has taught, performed, and choreographed throughout the United States as well as China, London, and South Africa at universities, dance studios, theme parks, outdoor theaters, dance competitions, conventions, workshops, college championship games, as a former professional dancer in the NBA and as a former dance educator in the North Carolina public schools. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors representing the South Region of the American College Dance Association. Ms. Davis teaches modern, jazz, African, Afro-Modern, Afro-Jazz, hip-hop, ballet, tap, dance improvisation, dance composition, dance history and she is a certified Pilates Mat instructor. She is also an illustrious and proud member of the first nationally recognized African-American Greek lettered sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.



Dr. Gina Blunt Gonzalez is a Professor of Kinesiology at Morehead State University. She received her PhD from the University of Mississippi and her MA and BS degrees from the University of Central Florida. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate kinesiology and wellness courses such as programming for special populations, exercise program leadership, nutrition, research methods and statistics.

Dr. Gonzalez has several research interests which include behavioral interventions to increase physical activity, dietary supplement attitudes and behaviors, and motivation and goal orientation in rock climbers.  Dr. Gonzalez leads an active lifestyle and enjoys all things outdoors. She spends her free time traveling, hiking, cycling, camping, and rock climbing with her friends and family. On a nice fall or spring day, you will probably find her outside playing on the sandstone cliffs of eastern Kentucky.


Dr. Rebecca Roach is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Elementary Education in the Volgenau College of Education at Morehead State University where she teaches courses in literacy.  She earned her Ph. D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Kentucky, a MA in International Development from Ohio University and a B.Sc. in Education from Morehead State University.  She is a former elementary teacher and international education consultant.  Fulfilling her lifelong commitment to service, she has served in AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, and the United States Peace Corps.  She currently serves as the Morehead State Director for the Kentucky Reading Project.



Sam Stapleton is a native Kentuckian, currently serving as a business faculty member and MBA Program Director with the Elmer R. Smith College of Business and Technology at Morehead State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Engineering, Master of Business Administration and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Morehead State University. His research focus is on the promotion of business education, student career readiness and human resource development. Prior to joining MSU in 2013, Sam was employed for more than 20-years as a management professional in the areas of Operations and Human Resources Management. He is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), currently serving as an executive board member for the Bluegrass Kentucky chapter. Sam also serves on the MSU – Applied Engineering and Technology advisory board and is the campus advisor for Phi Beta Lambda.


Northern Kentucky University

Dr. Nana Arthur-Mensah is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership at Northern Kentucky University. Nana teaches courses such as ethical leadership, organizational change, and leadership in diverse contexts. Her research interests include the use of work-based learning to improve human capital in organizations and developing engaged followers for leadership effectiveness.
Sheena R. Brooks, M.A. joined Northern Kentucky University in fall of 2020 as the Director of Graduate Education. Prior to joining the NKU staff, she was the Interim Director/Assistant Director at UNT Dallas College of Law. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and master’s degree in Higher Education with a concentration in Student Affairs. She enjoys working in higher education and helping students achieve their dreams of attending college. She has three adult children: one son and two daughters. She enjoys cooking, shopping, and spending time with family.


Chip Heath is the Director of Online Learning and a Marketing Lecturer in the Haile College of Business at NKU. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and MBA at Northern Illinois University. Chip attended the Ph.D. in Business Administration program at UK where his research focused on aesthetics and eCommerce. In 25 years of teaching, he has taught over 7,600 students in over 185 sections of 20 different courses. As Director of Online Learning, he led the development of the online BSBA, MBA, and MBLI programs and the transition to online delivery during the Spring of 2020.


As a Professor of History, with almost twenty-eight years of academic experience at the university level, Dr. Eric R. Jackson has taught numerous classes in the fields of American and African American History, Race Relations and Peace Studies. Dr. Jackson has also published a wide array of books, books reviews, articles, etc. in journals, such as the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Negro Education, Ohio History, the International Journal of World Peace, and the Journal of Pan African Studies.) Some of Dr. Jackson’s more important works are a co-authored book titled Cincinnati’s Underground Railroad (Arcadia Publishing, Inc. 2014) a co-authored book titled Unique Challenges in Urban Schools: The Involvement of African American Parents (Rowman and Littlefield, May 2015) and his recently published book titled Let Freedom Ring for Everyone (Cognella, 2021). Dr. Jackson also a member of the Boone County (Kentucky) Historic Preservation Review Board and the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board.
Kimberly Gelbwasser Lazzeri serves as Music Program Head and Vocal Area Coordinator at Northern Kentucky University’s (NKU) School of the Arts. Dr. Lazzeri recently completed her term as President of the Kentucky Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In the summer, she frequently serves on the music faculty of the Kentucky Institute for International Studies in Salzburg, Austria. Dr. Lazzeri is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and she teaches a course at NKU entitled “Yoga for Creativity.” In 2016, she was the recipient of the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Lazzeri holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University. To learn more, visit “Kimberly Gelbwasser Lazzeri Voice Studio” on Facebook.
Dr. Hongmei Wang is currently a full professor of Computer Science in Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She earned the PhD degree in Information Sciences and Technology from Pennsylvania State University in 2007. She joined NKU in 2007. Her research interests are in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS), Remote Sensing and Human Computer Interaction. She has taught mainly programming related courses in the department of Computer Science, and GIS related courses in Geography and Master of Public Administration programs. She has been the director of all GIS related programs at NKU.

Owensboro Community and Technical College


Zara Basham currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Surgical Technology program at Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC). She holds an Associate in Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology from Owensboro Community and Technical College. She served as a surgical technology program instructor from 2006 to 2011 when she assumed the Program Coordinator role at OCTC. During her 20 years as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) at Owensboro Health, Zara developed a passion for education. With over 20 years of scrub experience, she is a highly motivated and dedicated surgical specialist. She is a member of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), the profession's national organization, as well as the Kentucky State Assembly chapter, where she proudly advocates for her profession. Her surgical experience, coupled with her educational leadership abilities, allows her to act as a liaison between regional healthcare sector and industry partners, assisting students and encouraging partnerships in support of education and student success initiatives. Zara currently serves on the board of directors of Owensboro Community and Technical College, as well as the board of directors of the St. Joseph Peace Mission, a community nonprofit dedicated to children's advocacy.

Sullivan University


Chef Robert W. Beighey, is a full time Associate Professor at Sullivan University’s College of Hospitality Studies (CoHS) in Louisville, Kentucky. Chef Beighey teaches introductory through advanced culinary classes and is the head coach for the Sullivan University Culinary Competition Team. He is currently in the MBA, Hospitality concentration program at Sullivan University and an “active” status candidate for the Certified Master Chef program with the American Culinary Federation.  He is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Associates in Culinary Arts (Providence, Rhode Island Campus), Sullivan University, Bachelors in Hotel/ Restaurant Management (Louisville, Kentucky Campus) and currently pursuing his MBA, hospitality concentration. He received his Certified Hospitality Educator designation in 2008 from the American Hotel & Lodging Education Institute, Approved Culinary Evaluator in 2007, Certified Culinary Administrators designation in 2006, and Certified Executive Chef designation in 2001 from the American Culinary Federation.


Professor Ashley Mack is an educator in Sullivan University’s General Education Department, Natural Sciences and Mathematics division. For the past five years she has taught Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, and Medical Microbiology courses. She also serves as the Natural Sciences Curriculum Specialist.

Ashley earned her B.S. in Biology from Kentucky State University. She also has earned two M.S. degrees from the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine, one in Anatomical Science and Neurobiology and the other in Physiology and Biophysics. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Ashley serves as a member of the Academic Council, General Education Revitalization Committee, and Black Student Union faculty advisor.



University of the Cumberlands


Dr. Summer Jackson serves as the Executive Programs Director in the Office of Academic Affairs at Cumberlands. Dr. Jackson works with the faculty and students of the Executive Programs, serving as the Director for the course site locations across the country. Dr. Jackson has worked within different positions and with the Executive Programs since their inception in Summer 2015.  She also assists with other academic projects across campus. In addition to her role with the Executive Programs, Summer serves as a Project Manager, leading Academic IT and Faculty Development projects collaborating with departments across the university in implementation and training efforts. She has worked in higher education for over a decade, with extensive experience in student enrollment, especially regarding undergraduate, graduate and international admissions, IT, project management, academic programs, and course management.

Beyond her work in the Office of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jackson is a professor of marketing, human resources, leadership, management courses and has served as a dissertation committee member for doctoral students. She strives to present course knowledge in a practical way that helps students step out of the classroom and immediately apply the course’s objectives in their work environments and community. Her passion for this application isn’t just for her students, but for the youth; she has worked with many regional college readiness opportunities over the years.

Dr. Jackson has served on various boards and organizations in the southeastern Kentucky region, with a passion for leadership and youth in particular in Eastern Kentucky. In her free time she enjoys traveling throughout Kentucky, the U.S. and internationally, cheering loud while watching (and attending) basketball or football games, and attending as many concerts as she can fit in!


Dr. Jennifer Knuckles is Department Chair/Assistant Professor of the Human Services Program at the University of the Cumberlands.  She completed a BS degree with an emphasis in Social Work from the University of the Cumberlands in 2001.  In 2007, Dr. Knuckles completed an MSW from the University of Kentucky with an emphasis in Community Studies.  She then went on to complete an Ed.D. with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands in 2017.

Dr. Knuckles began her professional career in social work in 2002 and remained in the field for eight years.  During this time, she gained experience in medical social work, child protective services, and school social work.  From there she began teaching full-time in the human services program at University of the Cumberlands for three years before accepting the role of Department Chair. Dr. Knuckles has been a certified social worker through the Kentucky Board of Social Work since 2011.   She has recently expanded her knowledge base and clinical experience to include work as a psychotherapist specializing in ADHD and trauma.

Dr. Knuckles teaches a variety of courses in the human services program but most enjoys the coursework in Understanding Child Maltreatment and Human Services in Schools.  She has taught for the University of the Cumberlands for 10 years and truly believes learning is a life-long journey.

Lois McWhorter has served in several academic administrative (Associate Dean and Business Chair) and faculty positions for over 20 years. Areas of teaching include management, human resource management, strategic management, marketing, and principles of economics. She has worked with accreditation compliance/self-study projects for several colleges. She has been a committee member for on-site accreditation teams. Her professional experience includes Assistant Human Resource Manager, Director of Special Projects, and Workforce Development Director.


Dr. Stephanie Thacker is a native of Corbin, KY.  She joined the University of the Cumberlands in April 2014 in Graduate Advising, where she assisted graduate education students.  Since that time, she has held various positions throughout the University in staff and administrative positions.  Dr. Thacker has been a member of the Hutton School of Business faculty since 2017, where she teaches general business, management, and marketing courses.  She also serves as a dissertation committee member for doctoral students.

Dr. Thacker completed her graduate and undergraduate studies at the University of the Cumberlands and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Information Technology from the University of the Cumberlands.  She has a background in management, marketing, and course design and development.  Her research interests lie in leadership, marketing management and strategy, organizational learning and change, and strategic decision-making.


University of Kentucky

Douglas Appler is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Historic Preservation at the University of Kentucky. Appler’s research explores innovation in the treatment of historic resources through public policy, with a particular emphasis on the actions of local government.  He holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University, a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech, and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science, also from Virginia Tech. He is a former practicing city planner, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala from 2000-2002.


Roger Brown is an Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Kentucky where he’s taught full-time for 16 years, initially as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer. Roger teaches undergraduate courses in agricultural marketing (online), technical communication (hybrid), and rural and ag-based tourism (study abroad). His research interests include the scholarship of teaching, especially distance learning. He serves as Chair of the University Senate’s Committee on Distance Learning and e-Learning. Roger is also past Chair and long-time board member at Life Adventure Center, a non-profit organization in Versailles, KY that uses outdoor adventure to transform lives affected by trauma and build more resilient people.


Deborah S. Chung is an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky. Her research focuses on information communication technologies’ impact on communication professionals and their audiences. Specific interests include online news, active audiences, citizen journalism, visual communication, interactivity, and sociology of news. Her award-winning research is featured in prominent journals in the field of journalism and mass communication. She is the co-author of Understanding Citizen Journalism as Civic Participation. Deborah primarily teaches courses in mass media and diversity, media ethics, and visual communication. At the graduate level she teaches classes in mass communication and society and advanced research methods. She has served several significant leadership roles, including those within the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the major professional organization in the journalism and mass communication field. She earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University-Bloomington.


Dr. Dolphus R. Dawson III is an Associate Professor in the Division of Periodontology in the Department of Oral Health Practice in the College of Dentistry.  Dr. Dawson serves as the Director of Graduate Periodontology.  Dr. Dawson is a clinician scientist whose research has focused on the oral/systemic linkages of chronic inflammation in periodontal disease.  Dr. Dawson is a Vice-Chair of the Medical IRB and serves in numerous College, national/international dental organizations.  Dr. Dawson was recently appointed as a CODA Site Visitor in 2020 for Advanced Education Program in Periodontics.  Dr. Dawson is a certified instructor of the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry and trains the residents in LANAP protocol for treatment of periodontal disease.

Dr. Dave Fardo is the Stephen W. Wyatt Professor of Public Health and Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Kentucky (UK). He earned his Ph.D. in Biostatistics from Harvard University and began his faculty career at UK in 2008. His lab is primarily focused on developing and applying statistical genetics methods to discover biological mechanisms underpinning neurodegenerative diseases. His other research interests include biostatistics education and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.


Sally V. Mathias, MD, is a neurologist and specializes in the care of adults and adolescents with epilepsy. Originally from India, she completed her neurology residency at University of Kentucky followed by a fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology/ epilepsy track at Vanderbilt University. After her fellowship in 2016, Dr. Mathias joined as Assistant Professor of Neurology at University of Kentucky and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Her clinical interests are women’s epilepsy and epilepsy surgery. Dr. Mathias is actively involved in clinical research and has received several awards for research from American Epilepsy Society and American Academy of Neurology. She is also a member of several committees within the university and on a national level. She enjoys being a physician educator and has received several teaching and mentorship awards. Dr. Mathias is also the Associate Program Director of the Adult Neurology Residency Program at University of Kentucky.


Dr. Sylvia Y. Ofei completed her undergraduate education at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She then pursued and completed her medical degree at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. Following her medical education, she returned to Columbus where she completed her General Pediatrics residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She continued at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she completed her Pediatric Gastroenterology fellowship. She received funding for her research focused on liver disease in Fontan patients and was under the NIH T32 training grant through the Heart Center. With her grant funding, she pursued her Master of Public Health (MPH) focused on Health Services, Management and Policy. Her fourth-year research fellowship allowed her to complete her MPH as well as her prospective research project. She is board certified in General Pediatrics and Pediatric Gastroenterology. Following her fellowship training, she accepted a position August 2016 as assistant professor at University of Kentucky in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. She is currently focusing her clinical care in pediatric inflammatory bowel diseases. Her research projects are evaluating patients with fatty liver disease. Her interest in healthcare finance and the operations of a healthcare system have led her to pursue a healthcare focused MBA.


Elizabeth Salt, PhD, APRN is an Associate Professor with the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. In this role Dr. Salt has had the opportunity to serve in a number of leadership roles including the chair of the College of Nursing’s Promotion and Tenure, Faculty Practice and Nominating Committees. Her service to the University of Kentucky has included membership of the Undergraduate Council, Health Care College Council and the Faculty Provost Merit Appeal Committee. She has also served profession of Nursing and Rheumatology specialty in a number of positions including the Guideline Committee for the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center Certification Taxonomy Committee. Community leadership roles include Vice Chair of the Citizen Foster Care Review Board and Kentucky Child Fatality Board. Dr. Salt’s most recent funded research interests involve the relationship between psychosocial factors and biomechanical behavior in low back pain and medication adherence and patient-provider communication in rheumatoid arthritis patients.  Dr. Salt is the Director of the Honors in Nursing Program in the College of Nursing and teaches in the undergraduate program.


Martina Vasil, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Music Education and Division Coordinator for the Department of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kentucky. She directs the summer music education program at UK and teaches collegiate courses in general music, popular music education, and qualitative research. In 2019, she was awarded the District 7 College/University Teacher of the Year Award from the Kentucky Music Educators Association and also the Service Award from the UK College of Fine Arts. Martina is Vice President of the Association for Popular Music Education and serves on the editorial board of The Orff Echo, the national journal of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. She has published in the International Journal of Music Education, the Journal of Music Teacher Education, UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, and General Music Today in addition to authoring several book chapters. She is a frequent international and national presenter in her research areas of popular music education, music teacher education, and Orff Schulwerk.



Dr. Leslie Vincent is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing & Supply Chain at the Gatton College of Business & Economics.  Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Vincent received her PhD in Management with a specialization in Marketing (2005) and her BS in Management (2000) from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.  Her research interests include new product and service development, marketing strategy, and meta-analysis and her research has been published in top journals such as Management Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and The Journal of Consumer Research.

Dr. Vincent has extensive teaching experience at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  She has taught courses such as Marketing Management, New Product Development, Services Marketing, Marketing Research, and Marketing Strategy for Business & Engineering.  She currently serves at the Associate Director the Masters in Marketing Program that is scheduled to launch fall 2021 pending Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education approval.

Dr. Vincent is also very active on Faculty Senate at the University of Kentucky is an elected member of Senate Council.  She also is the chair of the Senate’s Academic Programs Committee as well as an active member of many other committees at the University of Kentucky.


University of Louisville


Dr. Cynethia Bethel-Jaiteh is an assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Nursing where she teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs. She is a certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) at Park Duvalle Community Health Center in West Louisville.

Dr. Bethel-Jaiteh is a native of the city of Louisville, who graduated from Berea College with a BSN. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with her MSN in Pediatric Primary Care. In 2017, she received her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Northern Kentucky University where she explored breastfeeding in the African American community. She was funded by an AACN/CDC academic partnership to implement a breastfeeding promotion quality improvement initiative at a local health center.

She is involved in several nursing and professional organizations such as National Black Nurses Association/KYANNA Black Nurses of Louisville where she is the president of the local chapter and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, where she serves as the conference chair. In 2016, the National Black Nurses Association awarded her an Under 40 Award. This award recognizes nurses age 40 and younger who have shown strong leadership and excellence in practice. She was also honored to be included in Who's Who Louisville: 2018 African American Profiles.


Kristen Lucas (PhD, Purdue University) is the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs for the College of Business at University of Louisville and an associate professor in the Management & Entrepreneurship Department. She previously served as Assistant Dean for Program Innovation & Strategic Initiatives between 2017-2019. Her key leadership accomplishments include building and launching a graduate certificate in Distilled Spirits Business, creating pathways to promotion for non-tenure eligible faculty, and leading the initial transition to fully remote course delivery during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her research on workplace dignity has been published in outlets such as Journal of Management Studies, Organization Studies, and Journal of Business Ethics. She teaches courses in organizational behavior and crisis management and has developed a new competency-based curriculum for business communication, which has been adopted at schools across the country.


Maya Lynum-Walker has been a member of the University of Louisville staff since 2018. She currently serves as Coordinator of Advising and Student Services at the Kent School of Social Work. In her role, she provides support to all students of the Bachelor’s program. She is responsible for collaborating with campus resources, staff, and students to create a holistic learning experience.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Lynum-Walker graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Kentucky State University. She later received a Master’s of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching from Western Kentucky University and a Master’s of Arts in Adult and Higher Education from Morehead State University.

She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Leadership with a specialization in Student Personnel. Maya is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, INC.  Maya and her husband Rico have two children, Zaya and Maliyah


Meghan J. Pifer is an Associate Professor of Higher Education Administration at the University of Louisville. For 5 years, she served as the Co-Principal Investigator and Associate Director of the U. S. Department of the Army’s Master Educator Course. She was also the Co-Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the 2020 MEC Fellowship Program. Dr. Pifer holds a PhD in Higher Education from Penn State University and an EdM in Higher Education Administration from Boston University. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the University of Louisville, Dr. Pifer served as an instructor at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State, and held faculty positions at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and Widener University.

Susan Ryan is Professor of English and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville. Her administrative interests include hiring and retention; tenure and promotion processes; and faculty development. She has taught at U of L since 1999, but has been associate dean only since spring semester 2020.

West Kentucky Community & Technical College

Chef Erik Engelland is the Program Coordinator for the Culinary Arts Department at West Kentucky Community & Technical College. As a pastry chef, Erik believes in local, seasonal, and sustainable fare that not only ignites the palate but the imagination of his students. That passion for local flavors has helped train a strong community of chefs and foodservice personnel in the area. In 2017, Erik was responsible for the development and implementation of the Farm to Table course and Certificate Option available through the culinary programs of the KCTCS System.
Nikki Keeling is a practical nursing instructor at West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC).  She is responsible for creating an innovative learning environment in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical setting.  She joined the college in 2018. She currently serves as the faculty advisor for the National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (NALPN) student organization. She is a proud graduate of the practical nursing program at WKCTC in 2012, earned by Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2017, and will complete her Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Nursing Education this June.  Her career goal is to earn the certification of Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) and obtain a position as a simulation coordinator. She discovered her passion for simulation while working with practical nursing students. She has created simulations with all fidelity levels of mannequins, as well as both online and in-person escape rooms.


Vanessa Lyons, Ph.D., RN, CNOR, CNE, is the Access and Success Coordinator for the Associate in Science in Nursing program at West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah, Kentucky. She has been teaching at WKCTC for four years but has been teaching in various online programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels for 12 years. Dr. Lyons completed an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Science, and an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing degrees through Paducah Community College. She completed her Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in education through Walden University. She completed a Ph.D. and a graduate certificate in healthcare informatics through the University of Missouri. She is currently enrolled in a graduate certificate program in student success through Walden University. Before moving to academia, Dr. Lyons specialized in informatics and perioperative nursing for 15 years.

Kelly Paul is an English Instructor at WKCTC where she proudly teaches Writing I and Writing II online, face-to-face, and hybrid. She also teaches Business Writing online. Most recently, she has created an online ENG 233 Introduction to LGBTQ Literature course, which is a Humanities/Cultural Studies option. She conceptualized this class to look at the LGBTQ movement with Literature as a vehicle to explore this topic with major works in the cannon (and a few not within the cannon) of Queer and Gender Literature in the 1950s up until 2010. She is also the Distance Learning Coordinator for ENG 102 where she conceptualizes and constructs the online ENG 102 course shell, which was awarded Exemplary Status by Blackboard Inc. in 2020 according to the Bb Exemplary Course Program Rubric.

Kelly serves on several committees, but her favorite is the Online Learning Committee at WKCTC.  Kelly is a native of California and received her BA in English Literature from California State University in 1990. She then completed a two-year secondary teaching certificate at CSUDH. Kelly completed a Masters in English Studies at Murray State University. Kelly is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America Professional Division.


Dr. LorryBeth Wilson helps high school students to understand college pathways and reasons to enroll in dual credit courses. With the ability to mold and change lives of students leading to opportunities for their next journey, listening learning and informing becomes the focus. Treating others the way you want to be treated is the guiding principle in this mission. She and her husband have two daughters who stay busy with both indoor and outdoor activities, which revolve around the two girls. In 2017, she earned her doctorate in higher education with a dissertation focused on dual credit. Working in education for her entire career, fourteen years in K12 as high school business teacher and school counselor; and currently ten years at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Dual Credit Director.

Western Kentucky University

Jeffrey Budziak, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Assistant Dean of the Potter College of Arts & Letters at Western Kentucky University. He joined the faculty in the fall of 2011 after earning his bachelor’s degree from of the University of Dayton and his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. His teaching and research interest focus on law and courts and on quantitative research methodology. He joined the Potter College of Arts & Letters’ Deans office in the fall of 2019 where he works on issues related to budgeting, staffing, and data management.



Molly Dunkum, a native of Kentucky, joined the faculty at WKU in 2003. She received PhD and Master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Kentucky after receiving an undergraduate degree from Georgetown College. She conducts research in the area of algebraic combinatorics.

Dr. Susan Keesey is an Associate Professor in Special Education and currently serves as Interim Director for the School of Teacher Education at Western Kentucky University. Additionally, she serves as Chair for the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Student Success Team working on student recruitment and retention. Susan joined the faculty at WKU in 2013 after completing her Ph.D. and post-doc at The Ohio State University. Prior to completing the doctoral program, she was a Disability Coordinator and co-founder of Academic Skill Builders, a non-profit designed to support individuals with dyslexia and their teachers.


William N. Mkanta is a professor of healthcare administration, and head, in the Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University (WKU). He completed his Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the University of Florida in 2005 prior to joining WKU in 2007. His research focuses on access and utilization of health services and his work in this area has enabled him to engage mainly with vulnerable populations, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, immigrant, refugee, Medicaid, and minority populations. Some of his publications in these areas have appeared in journals such as Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, Inquiry, and the Journal of Cancer Education, among others. In different phases of his career, Dr. Mkanta has examined health system issues including HIV care and value-based purchasing and published his review work in AIDS Patient Care & STDs and the Journal of Healthcare Management. He is currently working in international collaborations to develop a global health service curriculum, institutional partnerships, and capacity building as part of his engagement in international education and research.



Dr. Leslie North is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences at Western Kentucky University (WKU). She currently serves as the Director of Sustainability for WKU, Associate Director for Education and Outreach for the WKU Center for Human-GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES), Director of the WKU Karst Field Studies program, and Program Leader for the Environmental, Sustainability, and Geographic Studies degree program. The primary focus of her academic career has been the study of effective informal learning education and communication materials and techniques, particularly those related to water resources, ecotourism, karst landscapes, and sustainability. Leslie works regularly with a number of national and international organizations on issues related to these foci, including the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Iceland Arctic Cooperation Network, The $100 Solution, and the City of Bowling Green, among others.


Evelyn Thrasher is Associate Dean and Professor of Information Systems in the Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University. In her time at WKU, Evelyn has served as the Director of the GFCB Professional Education and Knowledge Program, the Knicely Faculty Fellow in the Center for Leadership Excellence, and the coordinator for AACSB accreditation. Evelyn earned a PhD in Management and an MBA from Auburn University and a BS in Mathematics from East Tennessee State

University. Evelyn is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Kentucky and a 2018 graduate of the Harvard University Women in Education Leadership Institute. Evelyn serves on the Board of Directors for HOTEL INC and is a member of the Bowling Green City Shapers cohort.


Dr. Matthew Shake is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Western Kentucky University.  As Co-Director of WKU’s Center for Applied Science in Health & Aging, Dr. Shake works with academic and community professionals across many different health-related disciplines.  His research focuses on adaptations to cognitive aging barriers to behavior change in older adults.  He has served on a variety of WKU committees and will be a Graduate Program Coordinator beginning in summer 2021.  He enjoys leading by fostering success in colleagues and students.

2021 ALA Fellows Directory

2021 Academic Leadership Academy

Fellows Directory

Douglas Appler

University of Kentucky

Associaate Professor/Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Historic Preservation

Office:  859-257-6411

Cell:  404-313-9220


Nana Arthur-Mensah

Northern Kentucky University

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Political Science, Criminal Justice and organizational Leadership

Office:  859-572-5738

Cell:  502-298-7586


Marlisa Austin

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Professor of English and Humanities, Coordinator of African American Studies

Office:  502-213-5073

Justin Ball

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Bursar-Associate Dean of Business Affairs

Office:  859-246-6296

Cell:  859-285-7405





Nancy Barnum

Midway University

Director, BSN Program, Associate Professor

Office:  859-846-5331

Cell:  859-685-5359

Zara Bastam

Owensboro Community and Technical College

Professor, Program Coordinator-Surgical Technology

Office:  270-686-4650

Cell:  270-315-3007


Robert Beighey

Sullivan University

Associate Professor

Office:  502-413-8668

Cell:  502-931-1114

Heather  Beirne

Eastern Kentucky University

Director of Teaching and Learning, Libraries








Kelsey Berry

Georgetown College

Graphic Designer

Office:  502-863-8203

Cell:  502-370-5050



Cynethia Bethel-Jaiteh

University of Louisville

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Office:  502-852-8513

Cell:  502-435-4221



Gina Blunt Gonzales

Morehead State University

Professor of Kinesiology, College of Science

Office:  606–783-2120

Cell:  859-608-2835



Sheena Brooks

Northern Kentucky University

Director of Graduate Education

Office:  859-572-6934

Cell:  501-612-2130


DeAnna Brown

Kentucky State University

Title III Director

Office:  502-597-6574

Cell:  937-561-5251

Roger Brown

University of Kentucky

Assistant Professor, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Office:  859-257-7257

Cell:  859-699-4446


Jeffrey Budziak

Western Kentucky University

Assistant Dean, Potter College of Arts & Letters

Office:  270-745-6391

Cell:  440-476-1200


Diane Chlebowy

Midway University

Dean, School of Health Sciences

Office:  859-846-5822

Cell:  859-608-0169



Deborah Chung

University of Kentucky

Associate Professor

Office:  859-257-3021

Cell:  859-468-6992


Natasha Davis

Morehead State University

Assoc. Professor of Dance/ Asst. Dean of Caudill College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Office:  606-783-2167

Cell:  336-512-9227

Dolphus Dawson

University of Kentucky

Assoc. Professor, Dir. of Graduate Periodontology

Office:  859-323-4735



Molly  Dunkum

Western Kentucky University

Associate Professor, Mathematics

Cell:  270-404-6649



Tonika East

Kentucky State University

Associate Director

Office:  502-597-6572

Cell:  615-56-2613


Erik  Engelland

West Kentucky Community & Technical College

Program Coordinator

Office:  270-534-3449

Cell:  270-217-6548


David Fardo

University of Kentucky

Professor, Department of Biostatistics

Office:  859-218-2070

Cell:  859-893-1161

Timothy Forde

Kentucky State University

Chair, School of Education, Human Development & Consumer Sciences, Chief Diversity Officer

Office:  502-597-6044

Cell:  865-548-5411


Chad Foster

Eastern Kentucky University

Assoc. Professor, College of Justice & Safety &Program Coordinator, EKU Homeland Security

Office:  859-622-2608

Cell:  502-767-0784


Micah Glenn

Kentucky State University

Coordinator of Board Operations & Strategic Initiatives

Office:  502-597-6494

Cell:  502-352-5444


Chip Heath

Northern Kentucky University

Lecturer I – Marketing; Director of Online Learning- College of Business

Office:  859-572-5523

Cell:  859-539-3605





Jeff Herrin

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Associate Professor Mathematics/Coordinator of Math & Statistics

Office:  859-246-6856

Cell:  859-351-5152


Jennifer  Huff

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Associate Director of Admissions

Office:  502-213-7330

Cell:  270-763-2227


Casey  Humphrey

Eastern Kentucky University

Assistant Professor/Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

Office:  859-622-9956

Cell:  270-403-3568



Eric Jackson

Northern Kentucky University

Prof. of History/Dir. of Black Studies Program

Office:  859-572-6146

Cell:  513-218-3944



Summer Jackson

University of the Cumberlands

Dir. of Executive Programs/Academic Affairs & Assistant Professor

Office:  606-765-6106

Cell:  606-682-0746



Lilia Joy

Henderson Community College

Professor, Division Chair

Office:  270-831-9641

Cell:  270-454-8411



Jill Keaton

Big Sandy Community & Technical College

Program Coordinator, Dental Hygiene/Dental Assisting, Community Dental Health Coordinator

Office:  606-889-4726




Nikki  Keeling

West Kentucky Community & Technical College

Nursing Instructor

Office:  270-534-3391

Cell:  270-556-5258


Susan Keesey

Western Kentucky University

Director, School of Teacher Education

Office:  270-745-4015

Cell:  740-972-3438



Dixie Kendall

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Equine Studies Program Coordinator/Assistant Professor


Cell:  859-227-1877



Jennifer  Knuckles

University of the Cumberlands

Department Chair, Assistant Professor

Office:  606-539-4075

Cell:  606-215-7799


Kimberly  Lazzeri 

Northern Kentucky University

Music Program Head, School of the Arts

Office:  859-572-1563

Cell:  516-510-6576





Kristen  Lucas

University of Louisville

Associate Professor of Management, Associate Dean for Faculty Affaiirs, College of Business

Office:  502-852-4786



Maya Lynum-Walker

University of Louisville

Coordinator, BSW Program, Kent School of Social Work

Office:  502-852-5872

Cell:  313-522-5420


Vanessa Lyons

West Kentucky Community & Technical College

Access and Success Coordinator for the Associate Degree Nursing Program

Office:  270-534-3147

Cell:  270-978-2536


Ashley  Mack

Sullivan University

Assistant Professor/Natural Science Curriculum Specialist


Cell:  606-494-6377



Abby Malik

Georgetown College

Executive Director of Marketing & Communications


Cell:  606-0923-8864



Christina Marsh

Jefferson Community & Technical College-Carroll Campus

KY Skills U Director

Office:  502-732-7102

Cell:  502-663-1538

Nicola Mason

Eastern Kentucky University

Interim Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Office:  859-622-1396

Cell:  606-776-2157



Sally Valentina Mathias

University of Kentucky

Assistant Professor of Neurology; Associate Program Director, Adult Neurology Residency Program

Office:  859-323-4949

Cell:  717-609-9035

Lois McWhorter

University of the Cumberlands

Chair-Hutton School of Business

Office:  606-539-5465

Cell:  606-524-0849


William Mkanta

Western Kentucky University

Department Head, Public Health

Office:  270-745-5260

Cell:  270-202-7676


Gina Nicoletti-Bellinger

Centre College

Associate Director of Athletics

Office:  859-321-6808

Cell:  859-321-6808



Leslie North

Western Kentucky University

Director of Sustainability, Associate Professor, Program Leader for Environmental, Sustainability & Geographic Studies

Office:  270-745-5982

Cell:  352-551-8960



Sylvia Ofei

University of Kentucky

Assistant Professor, Clinical Title Series, Dept. of Pediatrics

Office:  859-218-1676

Cell:  614-832-3545



Richard Osbaldiston

Eastern Kentucky University

Chair, Department of Psychology

Office:  859-622-1105

Cell:  860-508-0879



Andrew Patrick

Centre College

Associate Director of CentreWorks, Assistant Professor of History

Office:  859-238-6295

Cell:  859-583-1500



Kelly Paul

West Kentucky Community & Technical College

English Instructor

Office:  270-534-3210

Cell:  270-564-9320



Meghan Pifer

University of Louisville

Associate Professor, Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Office:  502-852-0634

Cell:  617-592-9295


Rebecca  Roach

Morehead State University

Assistant Professor of Education, Volgenau College of Education

Office:  606-783-2845

Cell:  606-359-2941



Jessica Rosz-Mary Chisley

Centre College

Assistant Director for Diversity and Inclusion Programming

Office:  859-238-6220

Cell:  502-319-3780



Susan Ryan

University of Louisville

Professor of English and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences

Office:  502-852-9142

Cell:  502-544-3816



Elizabeth Salt

University of Kentucky

Associate Professor-Regular Title Series

Office:  859-323-9614

Cell:  859-433-5393



Brian Schanding

Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Assistant Director, Internation Student Services

Office:  859-246-4647

Cell:  502-994-2095



Angela  Scharfenberger

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Associate Director of Admissions, International Admissions

Office:  502-213-2496

Cell:  502-387-1230


Matt Shake

Western Kentucky University

Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences, Co-Director of Center for Applied Science in Health/Aging

Office:  270-681-2584

Cell:  716-378-9365


Arlen Sims

Kentucky State University

Dean of Students

Office:  502-597-6827

Cell:  312-662-0267



Sam Stapleton

Morehead State University

Instructor of Management/ Director,MBA program in the Elmer R. Smith College of Business & Tech

Office:  606-783-2770

Cell:  606-336-2508



Yuliana Susanto

Kentucky State University

Director of Institutional Reserch

Office:  502-597-7014

Cell:  859-396-2325



Stephanie  Thacker

University of the Cumberlands

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Office:  606-539-5594

Cell:  606-304-6835



Evelyn Thrasher

Western Kentucky University

Assoc. Dean, Gordon Ford College of Business

Office:  270-745-3449

Cell:  270-799-4663



Martina Vasil

University of Kentucky

Asst. Professor, Division Coordinator for the Dept. of Music Ed & Music Therapy

Office:  859-257-8203

Cell:  412-716-5595



Leslie Vincent

University of Kentucky

Sr. Lecturer, Assoc. Director of MSM, Dept. of Marketing & Supply Chain

Office:  859-257-1807

Cell:  404-388-8797



Teresa Vincent

Midway University

MSN On-line Program Coordinator

Office:  859-846-6000

Cell:  502-594-5943



Melinda Walker

Maysville Community & Technical College

Assoc. Prof. of Psychology, LAE Division Chair

Office:  859-234-8626 ext.66439

Cell:  502-642-7906


Hongmei Wang

Northern Kentucky University

Professor, Computer Science

Office:  859-572-7786

Cell:  859-391-6739


Lorry Beth Wilson

West Kentucky Community & Technical College

West Kentucky College Academy Director

Office:  270-534-3117

Cell:  270-832-0539


Heather  Yocum

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Carrolton Campus Site Director, Associate Professor

Office:  502-213-5216

Cell:  502-414-1762



2021 ALA Campus Project Overview & Presentation Guidelines

2021 Academic Leadership Academy

Campus Project Overview & Presentation Guidelines


ALA Fellows will work with campus liaisons to identify and address an institutionallevel project that is of benefit to your institution. Groups should work together to select a project that is relevant, interesting and could be meaningfully addressed during the fall semester. While your campus project work does not have to be completed by October 23rd, it should at least be underway to such an extent that you can present your project to the ALA group on that date. Your campus liaison can help you identify needs that span the institution and mentor your process. The liaison will be valuable in helping groups frame their topic, gain access to resources as necessary, and identify realizable outcomes. If possible, consult with ALA alumni on your campus for their experience and advice. Once you find a project that needs your attention, work together to gather information, identify issues and begin to implement solutions. It is acknowledged that full implementation might not be possible in just a couple months, but you should view this as an opportunity to at least lay the groundwork on which subsequent work will build.


On October 22nd, each group will present their project to the other Fellows. Presentations will be allotted a strict 20 minutes block, ideally separated into 15 minutes for presentation and 5 for questions. Presentations should include: a description of your project, your approach and activities, challenges you discovered/faced, accomplishments to date, etc.For inclusion in the program materials, we ask that you send a 50100wordabstract that describes the vision of your project to the ALA Leadership Team.

Please send abstracts to no later than September 15th.

2021 ALA Campus Project Abstracts

2021 Academic Leadership Academy

Campus Project Abstracts



Greg Feeney, Campus Liaison 

Justin Ball, Jeffrey Herrin, Dixie Kendall, & Brian Schanding 

Identifying Assets and Interests in Planning Global Learning: With the development of a Global Learning Center, BCTC is developing an organizational structure that encourages and supports international learning experiences. Input from the campus community is vital. This project utilizes survey instruments to gauge BCTC community’s experiences and interests related to global learning. Interviews and focus groups may be used to extract further data. Results from the staff/faculty inquiry will provide insight into individuals’ international and intercultural experiences, which should translate into assets toward enhancing global learning goals. Results from the student inquiry will allow us to direct efforts toward areas found to be most desired and needed among the student population.


Eastern Kentucky University, Gill Hunter, Campus Liaison

Heather Beirne, Chad Foster, Casey Humphrey, Nicola Mason, & Richard Osbaldiston

Your Syllabus Says What? Considerations for Equity-Minded and Culturally Sensitive Syllabi:The objective of this work is to provide guidance to instructors for the creation of equity-minded and culturally sensitive syllabi. Results of this research included a comprehensive list of considerations and examples for instructors to enhance their syllabi with appropriate content, format, and tone. Institutional policy requirements and accreditation restrictions often direct syllabi content and format. However, in reviewing relevant literature and equity minded frameworks, research shows that there are several modifications that can be made to course syllabi that serve to enhance and complement current practices.


Jefferson Community and Technical College, Laura Smith, Campus Liaison

Marlisa Austin, Jennifer Huff, Cristina Marsh, Angela Scharfenberger, & Heather Yocum

Connecting Mentors & Protégés:Our institutional strength is measured by the ways we uplift new leadership potential.1 While professionals from underrepresented groups (including women) desire to ascend into leadership, historically there has been a gap in clear guidance. We will create a year-long program to pair leaders with protégés, to recalibrate these inequities. Jefferson Leads will hold space to build unique, one-on-one relationships that bridge this gap. Jefferson Leads partners will meet regularly and utilize those experiences to focus on a project to improve Jefferson. Further, we hope in future years to engage students in a similar leadership experience.



KCTCS: Big Sandy, Henderson, Madisonville, Maysville, Owensboro, and System Office

Campus Liaison, Haley McCoy

Jill Keaton, Lilia Joy, Ava Cook, Melinda Walker, Zara Basham, & Haley McCoy

Conflict Resolution Toolkit: Workplace conflict is unavoidable. Therefore, it is important to equip leaders with the necessary skills to resolve conflicts effectively and expeditiously.Created to be an evolving document, the Conflict Resolution Toolkit can be shared among the 16 Colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System as a resource for faculty and staff. Contents include methods for identifying conflict, strategies for understanding the attitudes that impact conflict management, and approaches to successful conflict resolution. Here users will find a conflict style diagnostic, personality and leadership diagnostics, and a variety of other resources to assist with specific conflict resolution goals for teams, managers, and student relationships. The Toolkit is intended to serve as a preliminary resource for broader leadership development programming, as well as to aid in workplace training, onboarding, and professional growth.


Kentucky State University

Sonia Sanders, Campus Liaison

Team Lead: Tonika East,

DeAnna L. Brown, Timothy Forde, Micah Glenn, Arlen Sims, & Yuliana Susanto

Post COVID-19 Pathways to Success: A BREDS-Based Needs Assessment:As a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Kentucky State University aims to provide a holistic slate of educational, extra-curricular, and wrap-around services to low-income, first-generation, and under-resourced students. An integral component is to meet students where they are and create pathways to success from that point. This study measured post COVID-19 related institutional gaps in academic, social, emotional, and career preparedness for returning students. This assessment allowed us to measure student needs affording the institution data to create evidence-based post-COVID-19 pathways to success. In this current study, returning students (N = 843) reported their sense of belonging, emotional, social, and behavioral engagement. The sections included: classroom engagement, participation in social activities, housing, mental health, and career services. As we progress, this data will allow Kentucky State to create, implement, and assess evidence-based post-COVID-19 pathways to success to continue historical trends of matriculation, retention, and graduation.


Midway University

Carrie Christensen, Campus Liaison

Nancy Barnum, Diane Chlebowy, & Teresa D. Vincent

An Evaluation of a Strategic and Innovative Approach to New Faculty Mentoring: Faculty mentoring is an effective strategic approach leading to positive faculty outcomes. Nick and colleagues’ (2012) model provided the framework for this project at Midway University, a small private academic institution. The primary aim of this project is to evaluate the current university-wide mentoring program consisting of best practices: (1) appropriately matching mentee/mentor dyad; (2) establishing clear mentorship purpose and goals; (3) solidifying the dyad relationship; (4) advocating for and guiding the protégé; (5) integrating the protégé into the academic culture; and (6) mobilizing institutional resources. Three outcomes will be measured at the beginning of program and end of program: (1) orientation to the faculty role and institution; (2) socialization to the academic community; and (3) development of teaching, advising, and service skills. The secondary aim of this project is to examine the current mentorship process at the department/school levels at Midway University.


Morehead State University

Sherif Rashad, Campus Liaison

Natasha Davis, Gina Blunt Gonzales, Sam Stapelton, & Rebecca Roach

Faculty and Staff Support Services: A Survey of Mental Health Programs During the Pandemic: Our campuses have been living with the Covid pandemic for almost two years now, and we are only beginning to understand the mental and emotional impacts on our employees.  In order to explore ways in which colleges and universities can address the potential personnel challenges facing our institutions, our team designed and implemented a study to explore the mental/ emotional health needs and related challenges facing faculty and staff at Morehead State University during the Covid pandemic. This presentation will describe the significance, design, and findings of the study.


Northern Kentucky University

Jason Vest, Campus Liaison

Nana Arthur-Mensah, Sheena R. Brooks, Chip Heath, Eric R. Jackson,

Kimberly Gelbwasser Lazzeri, & Hongmei Wang

Provost’s Leadership Fellows: The Initiative to Accelerate the Use of High Impact Practices for Online courses and programs at NKU:  The NKU’s ALA Fellows seek to create and collect strategies for teaching and learning that are supported through research that links them to increased retention, completion, and satisfaction rates of online students, known as High Impact Learning Practices (HIP). HIPs will provide intentional approaches for learning that encourage transferable skills and create meaningful connections between the learning and teaching experiences for online students campus-wide, focuses on First generation, Under-represented (minority), and Non-traditional students, based on HIPs that are best suited for our online student population at NKU.


Sullivan University

Kandace Rogers, Campus Liaison

Robert W. Beighey & Ashley Mack

Overcoming Barriers to Increasing Faculty Research at Sullivan University: Creating new Inter-disciplinary research opportunities can be beneficial to both faculty, students, and the university as a whole. Studies have shown by increasing faculty research, colleges and universities aid in the development of more subject-matter experts amongst faculty, create community partnerships, and enhance learning experiences for students. Our project researched the benefits of increasing faculty research at Sullivan University, explores the barriers preventing more faculty from increasing their research productivity, and develops innovative ways the university can overcome these obstacles.


University of the Cumberlands

Stephanie Thacker, Campus Liaison

Stephanie Thacker, Lois McWhorter, Jennifer Knuckles, & Summer Jackson

Credit for Service: The University of the Cumberlands mission is deeply grounded in Christian principles and leadership through service. The University of the Cumberlands believes that students who serve the community become better citizens.  Students often find themselves discovering ways to provide meaningful ways to serve their communities for the first time.  This project will allow students to approach service in a new way.  Students will have the opportunity to be involved in service learning experiences and receive course credit for their work.  This course will be designed to enhance learning through the process of connecting academic course content with service learning opportunities.


University of Kentucky

Chana Akins, Campus Liaison

Douglas Appler, Roger Brown, Deborah S. Chung, Dolphus R. Dawson III, Dave Fardo, Sally V. Mathias, Sylvia Y. Ofei, Elizabeth Salt, Martina Vasil, & Leslie Vincent

Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Kentucky: Evaluation Review and Recommendations:The purpose of our project was to review current practices for evaluating teaching effectiveness at the University of Kentucky and offer recommendations for improvement, which include: (1) implement the 1994 Senate action requiring numerical scores from the TCEs to be available to students; (2) require observations of teaching/clinical practice; (3) help unit heads be more aware of the limitations of TCEs in their current state; (4) add a midterm TCE; (5) revise current TCE questions to include specific questions pointing to characteristics of teaching effectiveness; and (6) implement incentive-based elements of the teaching assessment, such as a teaching inventory.


University of Louisville

Susan Ryan, Campus Liaison

Cynethia Bethel-Jaiteh, Kristen Lucas, Maya Lynum-Walker, Meghan Pifer, & Susan Ryan

Faculty and staff onboarding: Diversity and Inclusion practices to increase retention: Institutions of higher education talk a great deal about strategies for recruiting and hiring faculty and staff from traditionally underrepresented groups, but what happens when those new hires get to campus? We surveyed extant research, conducted interviews with university stakeholders involved in diversity and inclusion work, and discussed onboarding practices in our units. Our presentation will highlight several key themes that emerged from this work: campus resources; mentorship; policy; and connection. Further, we will offer insights and suggestions for better incorporating diversity and inclusion into onboarding practices, such as process maps outlining key moments for intervention and leadership.


Western Kentucky Community & Technical College

Mehan Uppinder, Campus Liaison

Kelly Paul, Nikki Keeling, LorryBeth Wilson, Erik Engelland, & Vanessa Lyons

Advising role-play: Strategy to increase advisor confidence and increase student retention: Our project involves matching seasoned faculty with newer faculty to participate in “mock” advising where the seasoned faculty member poses as a student in need of advising. The new advisor works with the “mock” student to create a course plan using simulation. These plans will be reviewed during a norming session to see where more advising instruction is needed. This project will focus on the hands-on “nuts and bolts’ of advising. Upon completion of the project, new advisors will be confident in their advising skills, and students will view WKCTC as a college that values their time and effort and wants to provide excellent advising that will assist in student retention.


Western Kentucky University

Amber Scott Belt & Rob Hale, Campus Liaisons

Jeffrey Budziak, Molly Dunkum, Susan Keesey, William Mkanta, Leslie North, Matthew Shake, & Evelyn Thrasher

Improving Access and Management of Faculty Advising Information: Western Kentucky University provides its faculty many useful sources of information concerning academic advising, mentorship, and student support, so that they can help students to succeed.  However, this information is often scattered across many units, websites, etc.  The purpose of this leadership project is to consolidate these diverse resources into a university-wide “living website” that can be adjusted over time.  This resource would ideally serve as a “one-stop shop” for faculty to quickly and easily find answers to many questions they face during student advising.

Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium Institutions