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President’s Leadership Institute names participants

June 11, 2019

Presidents Leadership Institute Logo

By Jackie Todd, University Relations

Elliott Charles heard good things about the President’s leadership Institute from his colleagues. When he was selected to participate, he was excited. As Clemson’s associate athletic director for compliance, Charles already has leadership skills gained from his oversight of NCAA compliance for Clemson’s sport programs. But he wanted to learn more.

“I am hoping that I will be able to further develop my understanding of Clemson University as an overall enterprise while also critically analyzing my leadership approach and communication skills,” he explained.

Like Charles, Tania Houjeiry heard glowing reviews of the PLI from her colleagues. Houjeiry teaches a number of introductory- and senior-level chemistry courses and directs the NSF-Funded Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

“When I learned that I was nominated to the PLI, I felt honored to be considered for such a prestigious leadership program,” she said. “I believe the experience will empower me with the necessary tools to become a better leader, expand my network skills and help me in achieving my future aspirations.

Charles and Houjeiry are two of the 25 participants selected for the prestigious Preisdent’s Leadership Institute. Introduced by President Jim Clements in 2016, the 10-month program exposes Clemson’s faculty and staff to all aspects of the university’s operations, presents opportunities to interact with senior leaders and allows them to participate in activities designed to build leadership skills, broaden their perspectives, create invaluable networks and prepare them to pursue additional roles at Clemson.

Nominated by vice presidents and deans, the class members are at various stages in their careers, from entry-level to mid-level employees. Participants will learn about Clemson, higher education, business and government and receive education and training to hone and develop skills needed for leadership success.

“It is so exciting to see another group of phenomenal faculty and staff go through this impactful program, said Kyra Lobbins, associate deputy chief of staff, Office of the President. “We are lucky to have a president who had a vision to create a program that is now nationally known and modeled.”

Participants include:

Phebian Davis-Culler, clinical assistant professor, College of Business

Brian Dean, professor of computing, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Tania Houjeiry, senior lecturer and director of Research Experience for Undergraduates program, College of Science

Hans Klar, associate professor and assistant department chair, College of Education

Joseph Mazer, chair, department of Communication, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Veronica Parker, alumni professor and director of the Center for Health Disparities, school of nursing, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Srikanth Pilla, associate professor, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Hugo Sanabria, associate professor, College of Science

Katherine Weisensee, chair, department of sociology anthropology and criminal justice, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Tom Zagenczyk, professor, College of Business

Eric Lapin, director of artistic initiatives-Brooks Center, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Abbie Abbott, director of healthcare information security, CCIT

Michelle Cato, director of talent and organizational development, Office of Human Resources

Elliott Charles, associate athletic director, compliance, Clemson Athletics

Jim Grieger, director of research safety, Research

Christopher Harrington, lieutenant, Clemson University Police Department

Julio Hernandez, chief of staff, Office of Inclusion and Equity

Lisa Knox, director of strategy and operations, Finance and Facilities

Blake Lanford, district extension director, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

Rock McCaskill, associate registrar, Registrar’s Office

Londan Means, director of advising, biological sciences, College of Science

Katie Miller, director of academic initiatives, Office of the Provost

Jessica Owens, assistant director of academic support services, Undergraduate school

Tara Romanella, strategic communications director, external affairs & development, University Relations

Sara Wilbanks, plant industry program manager, Public Service and Agriculture

Clements said this is the fourth class selected for the program, which was introduced in 2016.

“The selection process is extremely competitive and each of the selected participants has shown a great commitment to learning and developing as a leader. I congratulate these colleagues and look forward to working with them throughout the coming year.”

The PLI will begin Aug. 13 and run through April 30, 2020.



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