Cohort 2 | Student Affairs Leadership Academy

The second cohort of the Student Affairs Leadership Academy began in December of 2020 and had 11 participants. Fortunately, COVID-19 did not interfere with the schedule, and because the pandemic was being sufficiently managed, the school was able to extend an invitation to Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott who attended a session and gave a presentation on his leadership experiences.


  • Ashley Crismon, Counseling Services
  • Brandon Scaife, TRIO
  • Chanell Smith, Health Services
  • Connie Wordlaw, Disability Resource Center
  • Lucee Lugo, Student Experience Center
  • Matthew Brizzi, Financial Aid
  • Michelle Lewis, OIRA
  • Nancy Hyde, Student Experience Center
  • Nechele McClinton, Campus Living
  • Reed Claiborne, Disability Resource Center
  • Ryan Green, OIRA

Educational Sessions

Leading When You’re Not in Charge, presented by Sharon Downs

Many people think the goal of leadership is to be in charge of others. Leadership is much more than your position in an organization. Knowing how your specific personality traits impact interactions with others can help you lead others throughout your spheres of influence.

People, Persuasion, and Politics, presented by Mia Phillips

Sometimes it’s difficult to effectively manage all three of these factors. Learning how to navigate these invisible aspects of leadership that have very visible results is imperative to your success.

Connection not Perfection: Practicing Authentic Leadership, presented by Kristen McIntyre

Performing well is the mark of a good employee, but extreme focus on performance can keep us from being authentic communicators in the workplace. Authentic leaders guide communication in order to create authentic and equitable workplace relationships.

Leading Your Own Organization, presented by Trakenya Dobbins

Every person can be considered an organization that affects others in the world. Developing a personal mission statement and learning how to set and achieve goals that align with that mission help you stay true to your purpose in work and life.

Professional Networking Basics, presented by Bob Denman

Professionals know how to network. It is a skill that can be learned. Knowing why it is important and how it can help you meet your long-term career goals might get you out of your comfort zone.

My Story, presented by Mayor Frank Scott

A presentation by Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott about his journey in leadership.

Teams and Proposals

  • The Parks and Rec Team (Lucee Lugo, Reed Claiborne, Brandon Scaife, Ryan Green) proposed a hammock park and outdoor learning space.
  • Team Z (Michelle Lewis, Chanell Smith, Ashley Crismon, Connie Wordlaw) proposed improvements to the UA Little Rock parental leave of a newborn policy.
  • Team ProDev (Nancy Hyde, Matthew Brizzi, Nechele McClinton) proposed an employee mentoring program within the Student Affairs division.

Feedback from Participants

The first session effectively set the tone for the rest of the academy and presented a macro overview of generally what participants are set to gain from the experience.

I have appreciated the thought-provoking content and discussion on diversity and equity and how crucial they are to the success of organizations as a whole. It’s so easy to focus on leadership as a monolith that everyone responds to in the same way.

In what ways can we as a University open up networking opportunities for people of color? I think adding that aspect and acknowledging that would have provided a better connection to the presentation.

The Leadership Academy has been an enlightening experience, full of unanticipated surprises. It has been a wonderful opportunity.