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Arts and Sciences Faculty Members to Participate in  Women’s Executive Leadership Development Program

By Ryan Girves 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Women’s Executive Leadership Development program has announced its 2024 cohort of faculty and staff participants. The eight-month program seeks to develop a new generation of leaders of higher education who can adeptly navigate our complex environment and successfully chart the future of the university through retreats, monthly meetings, conversations with upper-level administrators and other group interactions.  

WELD is supported and organized through the Office of Faculty Advancement and is in its 10th year. Current faculty trustee Hollie Swanson was the initial director of the program, followed by Chana Akins, who serves as the chair of the Department of Psychology.  This year’s director is Jennifer Bird-Pollan, professor and associate dean in the J. David Rosenberg College of Law. 

More than 200 faculty and staff members have participated in WELD. Between 20 and 25 faculty and staff join the cohort annually with about half staff and half faculty every year. To kick off the 2024 WELD program, 2016 WELD program graduate Shari Veil will present a talk titled: “Communicating with Care: Crisis Leadership for Academic Administrators.” Veil has served as dean of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications with a faculty appointment in the college as a tenured full professor since July 1, 2020.

The kickoff address will take place in the William T. Young Library Young Auditorium at 4 p.m. Monday, April 22, with a reception to follow. This event is open to the UK community, but participants are asked to register in advance  here

  This year’s participants are: 

  • Jill Abney (staff); CELT, associate director.
  • Marci Adams (staff); ITS Strategic Planning, Comms, PM, communication and strategic engagement assistant director .
  • Alexis Allen (faculty); Marketing and Supply Chain, associate professor.
  • Fazleena Badurdeen (faculty); Mechanical Engineering, professor.
  • Lauren Cagle (faculty); Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies, associate professor.
  • Adriane Grumbein (faculty); Integrated Strategic Communication, associate professor.
  • Beth Hanneman (staff); Career and Academic Support, director associate. 
  • Miranda Hines (staff); UK Online, associate director. 
  • Shawntaye M Hopkins (staff); College of Law, communications director. 
  • Shelley Irving (faculty); Physician Assistant Studies, assistant professor. 
  • Cindy Jong (faculty); STEM Education, professor.
  • Rosalynn King (staff); EVPHA IT, manager. 
  • Jayoung Koo (faculty); Landscape Architecture, associate professor. 
  • Amy Laub (faculty); Library Administration, Librarian III.
  • Natasha Lucas (staff); Extension Field Programs, agriculture extension regional director. 
  • Christie Maier (staff); Transformative Learning, student affairs director. 
  • Magdalena Mastalerz (staff); Pharmacy Services, pharmacy director. 
  • Priscilla McCutcheon (faculty); Geography, associate professor. 
  • Brittney Ragland (staff); Utilities and Energy Management, director associate. 
  • Erin Richard (faculty); Biology, senior lecturer. 
  • Karen Rignall (faculty); Community and Leadership Development, associate professor. 
  • Hannah Simms (staff); Dean of Students, associate dean of students. 
  • Kathleen Wheeler (faculty); School of Art and Visual Studies, senior lecturer.
  • Laurel Wood (staff); UK Police, emergency management business continuity director. 

To learn more about the WELD Program, click here. Questions about the program can be directed to Jennifer Bird-Pollan.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.