graphic that states Reflection from past fellows with a list of fellowship programs

We have talked often about considering one’s career as a book with many chapters. If you are thinking ahead to what comes next in your own professional development – that next chapter you want to write – we invite you to watch for several Thrive sessions scheduled in February to help navigate promotion and annual evaluation processes and to consider applying for one of the 2024 cohort programs offered by the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development. Even though the applications for these programs will not be due until March 7, 2024, and information is available on the OFASD website about each, we asked past participants from each program to share a brief reflection of what they gained from participation in the program and investing in their own professional development in this way. Click on each header for more information about the individual programs and the required application materials.

Adams Academy

Ayman Mohamed, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures

The Adams Academy Fellowships provided a relaxed and friendly platform to connect with colleagues from different disciplines and share expertise as educators. Engaging in research-informed dialogue with fellow educators and scholars has enriched my understanding of current practices and empowered me to take initiatives in my own language program through developing open-source curricula. I appreciate the experience of Adams Academy both as a learner and an educator. As we grow professionally, we learn how to extend this experience to others in the field and be more encouraged to create leadership in our units.

Lilly Fellows

Alissa Cohen, ITA Program Coordinator, English Language Center

Participating in the Lilly Fellowship was a tremendous experience for me. It reaffirmed for me how powerful professional development can be in fighting off the burnout and cynicism that it can be easy to fall victim to. I found it enjoyable and inspiring being surrounded by the support and insights of this year’s wonderful cohort from across the university, and I valued the time spent each month with the fellows in discussion of the readings and the ways that those ideas played out in our own academic lives and Lilly projects. I believe I also gained an increased recognition of and appreciation for my own legitimacy and contributions to educational leadership at MSU. While I know that I have accomplished a great deal in my position, as an academic specialist, it is easy to lose sight of that and to underestimate oneself when surrounded by tenure-stream faculty expectations. This fellowship provided me with a good chance to remind myself of the areas I excel in and the ways in which I make positive impacts on others and on the university community.

Learning Communities

Dustin DuFort Petty, Academic Advisor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program

Co-facilitating our learning community with Sarah [Prior] has been the best experience. OFASD has given us the opportunity to bring together folks with a real interest in addressing historical wrongs and learning to better support our students. At each gathering of our faculty learning community, I am inspired by the passion, drive, and intellectual curiosity of our group members. In many ways, it’s the most exhilarating standing meeting I have on my calendar.

Academic Leadership Fellows (ALF) Program

Isabel Ayala, Director, Chicano/Latino Studies Program and Associate Professor, Sociology, College of Social Science

“Being a Fellow allowed me the opportunity to learn additional unique and effective leadership strategies that can be applied to a range of academic settings. Dean Long, my mentor, provided me with access to numerous and varied meetings with his leadership team across multiple colleges and units as well as one-on-one meetings with him to debrief and discuss my own leadership journey. Through these meetings, for example, I learned about challenges that leaders in departments and programs different from mine face today and the strategies they use to address them. During this process, I also came to value the openness of all staff and faculty in CAL and Honors Colleges and that of my fellow Fellows and mentors who in sharing their own experiences contributed to my professional and personal growth. Through this experience, I gained a more holistic understanding of the type of leadership necessary to foster and support others’ growth, the type of leadership that I seek to practice.”

Irving Vega, Director, Integrated Mass Spectrometry Unit and Associate Professor of Translational Neuroscience, College of Human Medicine

Participating in the Michigan State University Academic Leadership Fellows (ALF) program under the mentorship of VP Dr. Douglas Gage has been a transformative experience. Dr. Gage’s guidance provided me with a comprehensive understanding of research administration at the university level. His inclusive approach allowed me to actively engage in day-to-day activities within his office, exposing me to a diverse range of projects and responsibilities. The culmination of my ALF experience was marked by a project focused on determining disparities in NIH and NSF funding rates based on social identifiers. This project not only fulfilled the ALF requirements but delved into critical issues within research funding at MSU. The opportunity to contribute meaningfully to such a relevant and impactful project showcased the program’s commitment to practical, real-world applications. Overall, the ALF program and Dr. Gage’s mentorship were instrumental in shaping my understanding of academic leadership and research administration. The experiential learning, practical insights, and the opportunity to engage in meaningful projects have undoubtedly enhanced my professional growth and will leave a lasting impact on my future endeavors in academia.

Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program (ALP)

Ruth Nicole Brown, Professor and Chairperson, African American and African Studies, College of Arts and Letters

I highly recommend ALP! Especially helpful to me as a new administrator here at MSU, I appreciated meeting leaders from across campus and connecting with colleague leaders in the Big Ten. I found inspiration in the many different approaches to leadership, the useful strategies shared and the conviviality of my cohort. Because of ALP, I am more resourced and with a greater understanding of our collective aspirations for higher education.

Big Ten Academic Alliance Department Executive Officer (DEO)

Britt Zimmerman, Chairperson and Associate Professor, Osteopathic Surgical, College of Osteopathic Medicine

I attended the B1G Academic Alliance Department Executive Officer (DED) seminar the first week of November. During the time I met colleagues across the B1G Universities. We learned in a multidisciplinary setting and I was able to set goals personally and for my department for the short term and long term. Additionally, I learn the technique of “Critical Friends” conversation as a means to solve problems. This collaborative protocol allowed me to identify blind spots and approach issues from a different perspective. The entire course was worth the time investment and I was proud to represent MSU.

Terese Guinsatao Monberg, Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities

I’m really happy that I participated in the Department Executive Officers (DEO) Program. A good balance of presentations and workshops reminded me of the key values most important to my goals as a leader—and how to intentionally foreground those values when facing new or difficult challenges. I now have a cohort of colleagues and mentors from across the Big 10 to call upon, to keep me accountable, and help me remember what I love about my job. The strategies and network I was able to build through the program have already served me well and will continue to do so throughout my academic/administrative career.


Follow the links in the fellowship program titles above to learn more and invest in yourself. 

graphic that states "invest in yourself" with a list of fellowship programs