Advanced Leadership Academy enhances skills of UT students

April 27, 2012 | Features, UToday
By Bob Mackowiak

Santosh Pant, a PhD candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, put in some extra Saturday class time at UT this semester. It didn’t have anything to do with the mechanical intricacies of engineering, but it had everything to do with building an outstanding career in his chosen field.

Randy Oostra, president and chief executive officer for ProMedica, gave the closing presentation at the recent Advanced Leadership Academy.

Pant and about 50 other UT graduate students in business, law, engineering, pharmacy and education participated in the annual Advanced Leadership Academy, presented by the College of Business and Innovation.

“Being a graduate and international student, the Advanced Leadership Academy was a great learning experience for me,” Pant said. “Successful and distinguished personalities in different fields taught how to be a leader, how to cope with problems, and move toward success.”

“We truly appreciate the opportunity to pull graduate leaders together from across our campus to learn from each other about the importance of leadership across all of our disciplines, to discover what leaders can and must do to make the world a better place,” said Dr. Clint Longenecker, UT professor of management.

Students were invited to participate based on their academic and professional records and the recommendation of graduate faculty. Sessions and business faculty who presented were:

• “Careers in the 21st Century” by Dr. Thomas Gutteridge, dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation;

• “Leading and Developing Yourself” by Dr. Margaret Hopkins, UT associate professor of management;

• “Into the Trenches: Leading Your Team to Great Performance” by Dr. Jenell Wittmer, UT assistant professor of management, and Dr. Robert Yonker, UT associate professor of management; and

• “Leading for Results” by Longenecker.

Participants also learned from UT Head Football Coach Matt Campbell and leading area business professionals, including Joe Feudi, financial services professional with Caputo & Associates, and Randy Oostra, president and chief executive officer for ProMedica.

“With such talented faculty members and key community involvement, including ProMedica’s CEO Randy Oostra as our concluding speaker, the 2012 Advanced Leadership Academy certainly accomplished its goal of fulfilling what is the key College of Business and Innovation goal of developing lifelong leaders for the world of business and, in this case, in other key disciplines across the University,” Gutteridge said.

Participating students agreed.

“The best part of the Advanced Leadership Academy experience was learning from the business college students and professors,” said Kathryn Crawford, a doctoral student in the Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service. “They presented a different aspect to leadership that is more organizational than my current focus on educational leadership. I realize now how much more I have to learn to become an effective leader in an educational organization.”

“I loved Coach Campbell and how he applies leadership to his life, and Mr. Oostra was incredibly down-to-earth, showing us that you still need to treat everyone you meet with respect,” said Laura Bradey, who is working on her MBA in human resources. “We learned about the importance of communication, networking, and how it is important to get results. It was an honor to be invited.”

“The best part of the Advanced Leadership Academy for me was getting to meet and work with graduate students from disciplines outside of business. I had no idea about the great things going on in the medical, pharmacy, education and engineering graduate programs. What an impressive group of graduate leaders,” said Capt. Trent Miller, an MBA candidate who is in the U.S. Army.

Chris Trabbic, a student in the PhD Program in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said, “My primary training in science includes dissecting hypothetical science proposals, translation of theory into practice, and staying up to date on innovative techniques. The Advanced Leadership Academy was extremely useful because the science was put into perspective. As with any other field, a leader with precise oral communication skills is vital. A leader with emotional intelligence will be rewarded with quality results and hard work.”

“The Advanced Leadership Academy was a successful effort to expand the exposure to broader and practical learning,” said Nick Fasciana, chief financial officer at Pinnacle Technologies and an MBA candidate. “This world-class program completely exceeded my expectations because it not only delivered relevant information designed to enhance my leadership skills, but also provided me an invaluable opportunity to network with senior business leaders in our region. It was an awesome learning experience.”

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