Campus News

UB hosting MAC Academic Leadership Development Conference

By DAVID J. HILL

Published November 4, 2019

“If we want to continue to innovate, we have to engage in activities that will continually develop our greatest asset, which is our faculty. Faculty need support and development at various stages of their career. It just makes sense to invest in them in various ways, and the MAC ALDP is one way we’re doing that.”
Robert Granfield, vice provost for faculty affairs

Forty-eight faculty members, or Leadership Fellows, from Mid-American Conference (MAC) universities will be spending a few days this week at UB’s Downtown Campus for the MAC Academic Leadership Development Program.

This will be UB’s first time hosting the conference, which shifts to a different MAC member institution each fall and spring.

First held during the 2017-18 academic year, the MAC ALDP is a professional development program that aims to identify a select group of faculty and administrators in an effort to develop, prepare and enhance their ability to be effective academic leaders. Leadership Fellows apply to and must be accepted into the program.

“The MAC ALDP is a tremendous source of pride for the Mid-American Conference, as it provides a platform for faculty and administrators from across all 12 of our member institutions to develop the skills necessary to advance into leadership positions in higher education,” says Jeff Bacon, the MAC’s senior associate commissioner for championships and sport development.

“Our fall workshop, graciously hosted by the University at Buffalo, will focus on this development and allow nearly 50 talented MAC faculty to engage with each other and UB leadership in a way that would not otherwise be available,” Bacon adds.

UB is hosting the fall workshop Nov. 4-6. The program kicks off tonight with a welcome reception and dinner hosted at the Jacobs Executive Development Center by President Satish K. Tripathi.

Workshop sessions will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

Leadership Fellows will also be attending one of five experiential tours of Buffalo, each of which tells a different story about UB’s involvement in the community, from improving economic conditions on Buffalo’s East Side, to re-imagining the grain elevators at Silo City.

The UB workshops will focus on faculty development and engagement. Leadership Fellows will explore innovations in new faculty development, curriculum and online courses, as well as chair leadership and other topics relevant to faculty who are pursuing either an academic leadership track or tenure track.

“The goal is that participants will take some of the experiences they learned here during the workshops and tours, and adapt and implement them at their own institutions,” says Robert Granfield, UB vice provost for faculty affairs. Granfield is one of a dozen academic leadership liaisons who helped plan the program.

UB’s focus on faculty development and community engagement will be particularly beneficial to the Leadership Fellows attending the sessions here, Granfield says, noting that it was identified in previous ALDP program evaluations.

“If we want to continue to innovate, we have to engage in activities that will continually develop our greatest asset, which is our faculty,” Granfield says. “Faculty need support and development at various stages of their career. It just makes sense to invest in them in various ways, and the MAC ALDP is one way we’re doing that.”

As the acting associate dean for faculty affairs in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Francine Battaglia is looking forward to attending the workshops and learning about the experiences and approaches of academic leaders at other MAC institutions.

“Being in a leadership role is more than keeping the status quo. It is important for leaders to provide opportunities and help their faculty to develop, engage and grow within their institutions and beyond,” Battaglia says.

Toward that end, she hopes to gain insight and learn best practices for effective leadership, how to interact with faculty, and identify her own strengths and weaknesses.

“I expect that at the conclusion, I will be far more knowledgeable, and I look forward to learning about issues that I haven’t even thought of yet,” she says.

In addition to Battaglia, UB’s other MAC ALDP Leadership Fellows are Anne Burnidge, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Arts and Sciences; David Hostler, professor and chair of the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Professions; and William A. Prescott, interim chair and clinical professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.