The academy will take place June 26-30 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower. It is held each summer for new deans, department chairs, and other academic administrators looking to advance their careers.
During the workshop, participants learn to manage finite resources, utilize development and public relations resources, strengthen leadership skills, understand the conflicting interests of scholarship and administrative responsibilities, and build a network of peers.
“There really is no place where people can be trained in these roles,” Sewall said. “I think it is very important to give back to the profession and help each other. I had 16 wonderful years of experience as a dean at UALR. I have seen academia from all angles, and you have an obligation to share that with your colleagues.”
The academy is led by faculty members who are experts in educator preparation and administration. In addition to Sewall, the leadership team includes Walt Gmelch of the University of San Francisco, John Henning of Monmouth University, Kandi Hill-Clarke of Indiana State University, Patricia McHatton of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Jennifer Roth of Fort Collins High School.
Prior to her 16-year tenure as dean at UALR, Sewall held a variety of positions in public education as a teacher, director of student services and assistant principal, principal, and associate superintendent for school operations. Sewall served as special assistant for accountability and alternative learning programs prior to moving to UALR as an associate professor in 1992.
In 1997, Sewall was promoted to professor and began serving as dean of the UALR College of Education. She was a teaching dean who taught doctoral courses, chaired dissertations, and served on thesis committees. Under her leadership, UALR was one of only a few universities to receive the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant to improve early literacy. The College of Education also partnered with the Promise Neighborhood planning committee on a Harlem Promise Zone planning grant during her tenure and received numerous Javits grants in gifted education, a National Science Foundation AIMS grant regarding STEM and advanced placement courses, and a UTeach grant in the STEM areas. Sewall continues to work with the Arkansas Education Deans Council as well as the Arkansas Public Policy Panel. She has authored numerous nationally and internationally published journal articles, some book chapters, a monograph, and a book. Sewall is also a frequent presenter at state, regional, and national meetings. Her particular research interests are in the areas of school policy, law and leadership, and assessment. Upon her retirement in 2013, Sewall was awarded emeritus status by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. She continues to write, publish, and work with colleagues in the state as an Arkansas AIMS mentor and a Teacher Evaluation Support System trainer and with other projects as requested by educational colleagues in the state and around the country.
Her latest project has been the creation of webinars, in partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, for the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. The program helps urban school districts develop a much larger corps of effective school principals and determine whether this improves student achievement across the districts, especially in the highest needs schools.