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A look inside Impact Academy

Deans for Impact

Category: Leadership

Six months ago, we welcomed 24 leaders to Impact Academy, our yearlong fellowship for deans of educator-preparation programs. As we approach the midpoint of the program, we caught up with two of the fellows to hear what they’re thinking and learning about.

Dr. Carolyn Theard-Griggs
Dean, College of Education | Chicago State University

“More than ever, I am realizing the importance of engaging with colleagues to talk and reflect on the critical needs of teacher preparation. Higher education leadership can be an isolating role. I am learning how valuable it is to have a dedicated space to be a part of conversations that address the work we do on a daily basis. Deans for Impact has supported me, as a leader, in being intentional in the creation of goals and a pathway to achieving those goals. I am grateful for the deliberate focus on increasing the number of well-prepared diverse teacher candidates by improving programs, strategic recruitment, and honest, transparent self-reflection.”

Dr. M Cecil Smith
Dean, School of Education | Southern Illinois University

“The Impact Academy has been a powerful experience that has required me to do a lot of hard thinking. Having the opportunity to conceptualize an adaptive leadership challenge has been invaluable for focusing my thinking—particularly now that my School’s faculty and our leadership team are engaged in strategic planning. The Academy experience is helping me question previously unchallenged assumptions – and think deeply about the actions necessary to foster positive changes in the School. In other words, I am having to consider my “theory of change” about how to move the School of Education in a positive direction so that we prepare outstanding teacher candidates. At this midpoint in the Academy experience, my theory is not yet fully formed or tested. I am confident, however, that the problem solving work we are doing, the new ways of conceptualizing and analyzing leadership challenges, will help me to arrive at a theory of change that will characterize my leadership.”

Interested in joining Impact Academy next year? Applications for the 2022-23 fellowship are now open.