Clayton State University’s Dr. Kevin Demmitt, associate vice president for Extended Programs, and Carolina Amero, assistant vice president-Auxiliary & Administrative Services, recently completed the Executive Leadership Institute (ELI), a program sponsored by the University System of Georgia (USG) for up-and-coming candidates in academic leadership.
ELI was developed from a staff training and professional development task force created by USG Chancellor Erroll Davis and headed by former Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough in 2007.The group was asked to develop ideas to promote professional leadership and development throughout the University System in support of the USG strategic goal of increasing efficiency working as a system. Presidents from each USG institution nominate two candidates each year to attend the program. For 2010/2011, Clayton State President Dr. Thomas J. “Tim” Hynes nominated Demmitt and Amero.
ELI consists of seven one- or two-day sessions over an eight-month period. Participants met in Marietta, Athens and Augusta, and participated in group learning sessions, cross-mentoring activities and job shadowing with other leaders in the University System. Both Demmitt and Amero found the opportunity to job shadow individuals in their professional disciplines to be of particular value.
“As part of the program, I had the opportunity to shadow Steve Wrigley, the University of Georgia's vice president of Government Relations and interim vice president for Public Service and Outreach,” says Demmitt. “This experience highlighted the importance of being proactive, positive, and team-oriented when it comes to dealing with challenging circumstances.
“Another of the benefits was learning how my personality and values affect my leadership style. We all have character traits that can both enhance and detract from our leadership abilities. The key is learning how to recognize one's own tendencies and observing how they influence our interactions and decision-making practices.”
“I shadowed Rosalind Meyers, vice president - Campus Services at Georgia Tech. She manages more than 1,500 full-time and contract employees, so it was a great opportunity to observe a very results-oriented leader and to focus on the importance of making data-driven decisions and emphasizing accountability and communication in all aspects of managing a complex organization,” says Amero. “We also participated in cross-mentoring groups that helped us gain candid feedback on our own leadership styles as well as an appreciation for different perspectives regarding how to effectively deal with challenging situations.