Impact Academy application now open
Today we launch the application for the third cohort of Impact Academy, our year-long fellowship for deans in educator preparation. Impact Academy combines intensive in-person experiences with ongoing support and coaching to empower a new generation of transformative leaders.
Over the past two years, we’ve worked with 28 leaders from a diverse set of institutions and continued to refine and improve the Impact Academy experience based on feedback and data from these current and former fellows. We asked some of our current fellows to share what they’ve learned from their Impact Academy experience so far.
John W. Gasko, dean, University of North Texas at Dallas
Being a part of the Impact Academy fellowship has ignited in me a deeper desire to be persistent in the face of adversity, especially when collaborating with faculty and staff around important changes in how we deliver high-quality teacher preparation. During the initial, immersive summer experience, the Deans for Impact leadership team modeled a very effective and powerful approach to adaptive leadership and how to initiate a collaborative process to drive consensus around change. For example, I learned to be more vulnerable and transparent about my own leadership, which in turn created the conditions to have deeper conversations with my faculty and an opportunity to build trust.
In my experience, deans do not typically have access to professional development of this quality, and Impact Academy has helped me develop a better disposition towards collaboration, regardless of how the work is received by faculty colleagues. The Impact Academy fellowship also gave me practical tools to be a better strategist and develop a better method to involve more stakeholders in the change-making process.
Kim Winter, dean, Western Carolina University
The Impact Academy fellowship shifted my mindset from individual growth as a leader to collective growth and problem solving through sharing and talking through ideas and problems with my colleagues. Don’t get me wrong, I expected to grow — but I expected to grow through my own personal willingness to work hard. What has been most unexpected for me is how much I’ve grown through interactions with my learning team*. I’ve gained a set of trusted colleagues and a mentor relationship that have proven invaluable over the last six months. I have learned through listening, providing feedback, and talking about the adaptive challenges other fellows have shared. I’ve received support, feedback, and a positive structure for sharing without fear and anxiety. The relationship with my mentor and team has energized me on multiple occasions, most especially when I was mired down with the challenges of the day-to-day work of a dean.
Deans for Impact has challenged me to do more than sit and get. We are consistently asked to develop ideas, ask questions, pull stakeholders together, produce ideas, and attempt to form solutions to the challenges we face. Each time we respond or produce, we get feedback and are often asked more questions.
*A learning team is a group of 3-4 fellows who work together under the facilitation of a member dean during the initial in-person experience in July.
Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean, University of Northern Iowa
Impact Academy has been a wonderful experience to support my second year as dean. During the fellowship’s week-long kick-off, I worked closely with a network of deans and other leaders from all over the U.S. This in-person learning experience provided an opportunity to learn and share with my peers and mentor deans about the challenges and opportunities of educator preparation. I was able to access a wealth of knowledge and resources; the willingness of my colleagues and mentor deans to share their own experiences and offer insights about what worked and what didn’t was a real gem. Impact Academy created a space where we could be vulnerable, yet felt supported.
Since the retreat, my year-long fellowship through Deans for Impact has helped me focus on supporting my team in building their own leadership skills as we engage in the use of data for continuous improvement. The individual learning modules challenged me to seek input from multiple stakeholders, including teacher-candidates, school district partners, and faculty, in ways I had not previously imagined. The Impact Academy fellowship is an invaluable experience and great opportunity to build lasting connections with deans from across the U.S.
Apply now to be a fellow in the 2018 Impact Academy.