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Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the Provost’s Academic Leadership Advancement Program for Underrepresented Faculty. This new pan-university initiative provides career development opportunities; interpersonal, organizational and operational competencies; and professional networking for a selected tenured or tenure track underrepresented faculty member who is seeking academic leadership career advancement at Carolina. This program is the latest initiative to launch under the Build Our Community Together strategic priority in the University’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good.

The program is funded in its inaugural two years (2020-21 and 2021-22) by private gifts to the University and provides a course buyout for the selected recipient with their school or department. The Academic Leadership Advancement Fellow participates in the program over a nine-month appointment, from August through May.

The goals for the program are to:

  • Build leadership skills, particularly self-assessment, emotional intelligence, communication and analytics, to make decisions in complex situations and manage systems.
  • Adopt a strategic mindset and engage in continual self-development to take on cross-campus initiatives and assume academic leadership roles.
  • Expand knowledge of University operations through extensive interaction with senior campus leaders and increase capacity to successfully navigate resources and opportunities.
  • Enhance career networking opportunities and provide necessary exposure to academic leaders at Carolina and in the University of North Carolina System Office.
  • Engage in project-based work on two or three initiatives that are of high strategic priority to the Chancellor and the Provost.

Eileen Parsons, Professor in the School of Education, will serve as the inaugural Academic Leadership Advancement Fellow. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill (B.S. Science Teaching, Chemistry) and Cornell University (M.S. and Ph.D. Science Education), Dr. Parsons has demonstrated great passion and commitment to professional development in higher education leadership, as a AAAS Science Policy Fellow and most recently through her participation as a 2019-20 Fellow in the American Council on Education Senior Leadership Development Program.

In her role as first recipient of the fellowship, Dr. Parsons will develop the evolution of this opportunity as a culmination of the University’s ongoing and deliberate approach to providing professional development and career engagement for underrepresented faculty. These efforts include hiring (VITAE), mentoring, and engagement in leadership development programs such as the NCFDD Boot Camp and Faculty Success programs.

Beginning with the next cycle in 2021-22, applicants will apply to the program by submitting a packet no later than March 30, 2021. More information will be forthcoming.

Please join me in congratulating Eileen on her appointment, and in thanking her for the important work and engagement that this new opportunity will provide to future recipients.


Robert A. Blouin, PharmD
Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost

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