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News & Press: News Release

30+ Tennessee Higher Ed Campus Officials Complete TICUA Advancing Leaders Workshop

Wednesday, July 24, 2019  
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30+ Tennessee Higher Ed Campus Officials 

Complete TICUA Advancing Leaders Workshop

TICUA Prepares Campus Leaders for Success

Nashville, TNThis month, thirty-four leaders from Tennessee’s private colleges and universities gathered for TICUA’s Advancing Leaders, an intensive workshop to develop and prepare future senior campus leaders for success in an ever-changing higher education environment.

“Strong, effective campus leaders help ensure that our colleges are serving students well, so TICUA created this program to provide advancing campus leaders an opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they need to be successful now and in the future,” said TICUA President Dr. Claude Pressnell. “Because TICUA institution presidents select officials from their campuses to participate in the Advancing Leaders program, Tennessee’s private colleges and universities are leading the way to develop higher education leaders who will carry the mantle of postsecondary choice and student success forward.”

The Advancing Leaders workshop provides aspiring leaders who have three to five years of work experience with an opportunity to evaluate their own skills, gifts, and calling against the primary leadership needs of private higher education in Tennessee.

Since launching in 2015, around 200 people have participated in the annual leadership training.

“I often make plans or develop strategies based on what I think the institution I serve can or can’t do, but the Advancing Leaders program helped me see beyond that horizon and get excited about the new destination of possibilities,” said Eric Ballah, Director of Development at Maryville College. “I also gained a greater appreciation for TICUA for intentionally investing in individuals, as well as private higher education in Tennessee.”

“The Advancing Leaders program helped expand my overall knowledge of the higher education landscape, and supported my understanding of the qualities and skills essential for effective campus leadership teams,” said Cheryl Slay Carr, Associate Dean and Associate Professor at Belmont University’s Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business. “After completing the program, I feel I have a clearer vision for how to leverage my strengths and experiences to serve my campus and students.”

Presidents of TICUA member campuses select Advancing Leaders to participate in the two-day intensive workshop, which happens over the summer each year. Developed in partnership with experts at higher education consulting firm Credo, the workshop provides next-generation leaders with the opportunity to better understand:

  • State and national policy context for private higher education

  • Campus partnerships

  • Drivers for institutional health

  • Challenges for higher-education leaders

  • Steps to prepare for a leadership role

At the conclusion of each workshop, participants build a personalized roadmap to apply what they have learned to their role and institution and prepare for an expanded leadership role.


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2019 Advancing Leaders participants at Cumberland University

Advancing Leaders 2019:

Megan Bursi, Baptist College of Health Sciences Director, Marketing & Alumni

Cameron Conn, Baptist College of Health Sciences Director, Planning and IE

Julie Lasley, Baptist College of Health Sciences Program Chair Radiation Therapy; Assc. Prof.

Cheryl Carr, Belmont University Assc. Dean, Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business

April Hefner, Belmont University Editorial & News Content Director

Nicholas Pacurari, Bryan College Director, Residence Life & Student Engagement

Samantha Alperin, Christian Brothers University Director, UG/G Education Program

Scott Geis, Christian Brothers University Dean, Rosa Deal School of Arts

Abby Pitts, Cumberland University Director, Retention & TN Promise Support

Megan Climer, Cumberland University Marketing Coordinator

Natara Garvin, Fisk University Assist. VP & Dean, Student Engagement

Josh Barber, Freed-Hardeman University Assc. Director, International Education

Margaret Payne, Freed-Hardeman University Professor, English

Ryan Cate, Johnson University Admissions Counselor

Lettie Jackson, King University Assc. VP, Finance

Jennifer Mongold, King University Assc. Professor

Bruce Cole, LeMoyne-Owen College Director, Member Services

Dave Bruno, Lipscomb University VP, Marketing

Prentice Ashford, Lipscomb University Dean, Community Life

Edna Luna Martin, Methodist College VP, External Affairs

Allen Stanton, Martin Methodist College Executive Director

Edna Vitale, Maryville College Assist. Registrar

Eric Bellah, Maryville College Director, Development

John Berry, Maryville College Director, Information Technology

Amy Turner, Sewanee: The University of the South Director, Environmental Stewardship Sustain

Marie Bodack, Southern College of Optometry Chief, Pediatric Primary Care

Lisa Kirkland, Tennessee Wesleyan University Assc. Dean, Nursing

Mark Shoop, Tennessee Wesleyan University Professor, Biology

Jenni Lloyd, Trevecca Nazarene University Director, Student Success & Advising

Lori Anderson, Tusculum University Assist. VP, IPE & Dean, Nursing

Mary Cooper, Tusculum University Director, Honors Program 

Laralee Harkleroad, Tusculum University Director, Marketing

Renee Dauer, Union University Campus Director, UU-Hendersonville

Gregory Bohnerg, Union University Director, Disability Services