Office of Academic Affairs Office of Faculty Affairs

Faculty Affairs Leadership Podcast

This podcast invites you to dive into the captivating stories and insightful experiences of leaders who are shaping the future of higher education.

Each episode offers a glimpse into the journeys of trailblazing leaders who transformed challenges into opportunities. Through candid conversations, in-depth interviews, and firsthand accounts, “The Faculty Affairs Leadership Podcast,” in collaboration with the Center for Faculty Advancement, Mentoring and Engagement (FAME) in the College of Medicine, uncovers strategies, decisions, and transformative initiatives that have shaped these leaders’ careers and institutions. As you listen to their journeys, we hope you will find inspiration, guidance, and a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs defining leadership in higher education. New episodes will be released on the last Monday of each month.

- Kaprea Johnson, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development & Recognition

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Podcast Episodes

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Episode 1

Mastering Mentorship: Building Bridges to Excellence 

In this captivating episode, join Dr. Kimberly Tartaglia as she delves into the dynamic realm of mentorship. Gain valuable insights into the art of becoming both an effective mentor and a receptive mentee. Uncover expert tips, strategies, and actionable advice on fostering meaningful mentorship relationships. Whether you're seeking to guide others on their journey or navigate your own path with guidance, discover the keys to being a remarkable mentor or mentee in this enlightening conversation.



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>> I'm Kaprea Johnson. And you are listening to the Leadership Podcast, where we delve into the stories, strategies, and insights of experienced leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and empowered to lead with confidence and purpose.

>> It is now my pleasure and privilege to introduce our speaker for today. Dr. Kim Tartaglia is a professor of internal medicine and a professor in pediatrics. And she's our FAME director of mentorship. So we think she's awesome and special. So go ahead and start sharing yours.

>> Great. Thanks, Debbie and Anna, and thank you to everyone for having me. As Debbie said, I'm the director of mentorship for FAME. And I was recently promoted to professor in both the departments of Internal Medicine. And I have a sort of an adjunct appointment in Pediatrics. I do hospital-based medicine and pediatrics, both here and at Nationwide Children's. Whether you are doing, you know, sort of just dipping your toe into this mentorship realm, or you're an experienced mentee or mentor, I hope to kind of give an overview of some of the topics that could be important to you so that everyone has a little something to take away. I also hope that this will whet your appetite for future FAME programming and mentorship because many of the topics that I'm going to cover briefly will, over the next, you know, six to 12 months, be a topic in and of its own. So please sort of notice that as you are thinking about what other programming you might need. Really, just a few basic objectives for today. Talk about the different types of mentorship, the roles that you're expected to play either as a mentee or a mentor and then some tips for establishing good relationships within mentorships. So, I'm going to talk about a tale of two faculty the details of which are mostly true but have been changed a little bit to protect the innocent. So faculty member A started off as an assistant professor in 2008, quickly identified themselves as a clinician educator, and within one to two years had involvement in educator roles. This person found a mentor within the institution but also kept in touch with a mentor from the previous institution, was promoted via the work they did and the networking they accomplished to associate professor in 2016 and to professor in 2021. Contrast that with faculty B, who was also an assistant professor who started in 2008. Also was involved with an educator roles within the first two years, had no formal mentor. Through their expertise was able to ascend the ladder for educational leadership locally, but in 2021, remains an assistant professor. So, I will tell you that I'm convinced that Faculty B works just as hard as Faculty A and is just as talented. And while I can't say that mentorship is the only thing that led to faculty A's success, I think a little bit of luck and a lot of great mentorship played a huge role. And so this, for me, is kind of the burning platform for why we need mentors and why mentors can improve both the quality and the success of our academic careers. When we talk about mentorship, we're often talking about that dyadic mentorship, where there's one mentor and when mentee. And in this definition, which comes from UCSF, mentorship is a mutually beneficial process in which an experienced, highly regarded person, the mentor, exchanges wisdom, ideas to guide another individual, the mentee. This is all done for the development and re-examination of ideas, learning and development, both personally and professionally. And so, you can think about the benefits of mentoring. And when we do that, we often think about the benefits to the mentee. I think that's where we naturally our minds are inclined to think about. And certainly, we have studies to suggest that for academic clinicians, mentorship improves career satisfaction, leads to more research grants, leads to quicker promotion, as the example I showed, and leads to increased protected time for scholarly activities and publications. When you look at mentorship more globally, outside of academic medicine, there's also good literature to suggest that it improves self-efficacy for teaching, research, and professional development, and actually less family work conflict. So there you have it, folks. Membership will solve all your family problems at home. But we also have to think about the benefits to the mentor. Because, as the definition suggested, this is a mutually beneficial relationship. And so, while this isn't exhaustive, being a mentor helps you build your leadership skills, can help you gain new perspective because learning occurs in all directions. And so, certainly, mentors report learning from their mentees. Being a mentor can help motivate your own goal setting as a mentor because you get reminded that goal setting for your mentee, what's good for your mentee is also good for you as a mentor. Being a mentor helps improve communication skills, can improve your own job satisfaction and fulfillment, and also helps not only personally but organizationally to improve succession planning. Now, we talked about the definition of mentor. But we can also talk about other roles that kind of fall in this mentorship realm. One of them is just being a role model. And so, while this is a passive role, kind of a mentee often tries to emulate observable and desirable behaviors in a potential mentor. And so this is often who a potential mentee looks to, to be their mentor. Certainly, you know, a coach. And in this setting, we think about athletic coaches, where, you know, a coach provides feedback and assistance to improve performance and specific personal skills that can also translate to academic medicine or the academic environment and can be very situational or project-focused. And then you can use kind of the true coaching mindset to really listen and kind of provide more clients in our goal setting as well. And I'll talk later about how that can be applied to mentorship. And then there's this idea of a sponsor. So as a sponsor is opposed to a mentor, doesn't get so in the weeds with goals of their mentees, but really looks to champion the individual and use their position of influence to promote someone else's career. So I often think of this as, you know, if I'm sponsoring someone, I'm promoting them in a national meeting or in a national organization, I'm promoting them for a leadership role or an award within or outside the institution, really helping to advance their career using any influence I might have, from my, you know, national reputation or what have you, but not so much in the nitty gritty is what a mentor would do. And then, within the concept of mentoring itself, there's all different types of anatomies or relationships you can have within mentoring. So we already talked about the dyad, the more traditional mentoring with one mentor and one mentee. But, graduate students or even postdocs may have more experience with group mentoring. This is where, you know, a mentee has a panel of mentors that collectively serve the needs of the mentee. There are many studies talking about peer mentoring. I think that's a very accessible way for someone of a similar rank or experience to share feedback with their peers. This concept of speed mentoring is where you can meet several potential mentors within a night or at a quick event. FAME had a speed mentoring program activity just before COVID started. But I often see this at national meetings, where you might be interested in meeting people for potential distance mentoring. And then not an anatomic relationship with this idea of functional mentoring in which you might have a project. Again, I mentor for just a specific project, which has a well-defined end. At the University of Wisconsin, they talk about the stages of mentorship. And I think this is a really nice way to frame it in your mind that, you know, you start with sort of this selection process. And then, you spend most of your time as a mentor-mentee pair, moving through both alignment and cultivation of the relationship and then realizing that a mentorship relationship should not last forever. And once the goals are met, or it's no longer meeting the needs of the mentee and the mentor, then closure happens, both for the mentor and the mentee. What are some resources that you might utilize? And what are the steps in selecting a mentor? With any selection you think about, what do you need to have a productive mentorship? And sort of here are some suggested sort of concepts are kind of things to keep in mind. You do need a personal connection in which you think that values might jibe together, meaning clear expectations, shared values as far as what's important to you professionally, and even sometimes personally, and then mutual respect. And then, in the mentoring relationship, you move to alignment where you're really looking to align goals and timelines, expectations for both the mentor and the mentee. Sometimes, this is the phase where you realize that there's a potential misalignment where mentoring either isn't going to be a good fit or isn't working for the mentor and the mentee. Some signs that that might be happening are that either you, as the mentee or the mentor, dread going to meetings or repeatedly cancel meetings. If you repeatedly miss follow-through on items. If the mentor is doing most of the talking and directing the meeting, that may be a bad fit because, really, this relationship is supposed to be meant to be driven. Or if the mentor takes credit for the mentee's work in any type of predatory mentoring relationship. It's definitely not a good fit for the mentee and is a sign that they should move on. Some signs of a good fit would be kind of a shared sense of curiosity and teamwork. A mentor who moves the mentee towards independence, so fosters that independence so that they can do things with less assistance, a mentor who publicly advocates for their mentee, and a mentee who feels that they have a sense of belonging. During the cultivation phase, this is probably the longest part of the mentoring relationship. And again, here's where you're really kind of doing the meat of goal setting with a mentor and helping them mentee, I'm sorry, reach their goals. And so this could be -- during this time, problems can come up, whether there be differences in expectations or challenges that have come up for the mentee, making sure that the relationship still is productive and beneficial for all involved. But this is really where the meat of the relationship occurs. And then, as I mentioned before, closure, either because it's not working or it's reached its intended outcome. So now, just talking about specifically if you're in the role of mentee, or you're looking to become a mentee and find a mentor, what are some things you can do or take into consideration to make this successful for you? So, in 2017, the Harvard Business Review talked about what you need to do when you identify and approach your potential mentor. And I think it really comes down to knowing what you need. And so, as a potential mentee, you have to think about what are your needs globally? And then what are they on a more specific micro level? So, more globally. You know, reflect on your personal and professional needs. Do you have trouble with balance? And would you like your mentor to potentially advise you on that? Do you have some emotional wellness needs that you'd like your advisor or mentor to assist with? Are there professional boundary considerations that you need help with? And then consider both your one-year and your five-year goals? And so, in doing that, when you think about those larger scale needs, that might help you identify and narrow down your list of potential mentors. And then, more specifically, think about what you need? Do you need assistance on leading teams? Or do you need assistance on writing grants, finding funding? Do you need assistance on teaching or managing budgets? And so specifically to your role, could you identify potential mentors that did this need. And although we're not talking about it a lot today, it is perfectly advisable and fine to have more than one mentor to fit more than one of these needs. So whether you have a panel of mentors who meet together and you meet with them in a group, or more typically you have dyadic mentorships, where you as the mentee meet with this mentor one week, and you meet with another mentor another week that they are fulfilling different needs for you as the mentee. But it requires you to think about what your needs are before approaching a potential mentor. And then, assuming you get to have a say in who your mentor is, you should be, you know, asking someone that you like, respect, and trust. We talked about those shared values. And someone who maybe you look up to or has either personal or professional attributes that are congruent with yours. If you're in a position where you're getting assigned a mentor, this article recommends that you do a meet and greet before you formalize the relationship just to make sure that you don't have any red flags or obvious signs of misalignment before you start. And so, what are some other successful mentee behaviors? Really being enthusiastic and energetic for your projects or whatever you're working on. Taking responsibility, owning that you are the driver of this relationship. And so if you go into that, with that in mind, I can tell you the few mentees I have, the people who drive the mentee-mentor relationship, are the ones that are getting the most out of it. Respecting the meetings time and respecting your mentor's time. Coming prepared and organized for the meetings. That is a part of being the driver. Having an agenda of what you'd like to talk about, what you'd like to accomplish. Following through on your post-meeting action items, and then giving the mentor adequate time to provide feedback. Of course, we all know that mentors are notorious for maybe taking a little too much time. So gentle reminders are fine, but giving them time and space. And then being proactive in identifying and presenting any issues or barriers. So, if you notice a particular problem, either with the mentor or the project you're working on, bringing those up early and often before they escalate into something bigger. Well, interestingly enough, the first time I was a mentor, I wasn't sure when someone came to me and asked me to be their mentor that I was ready or that I was qualified, really. And so, if you feel the need to formally assess your readiness to be a mentor, I did come across this article that has kind of a couple of questions that you can reflect on as you're preparing to be a mentor or you've been asked. And really, this is just do I have the ability? So this talks a little bit about the knowledge. Or do I have the connections either to get my mentee connected with leaders to give them feedback? Do I have the knowledge of the organization? Can I get them into projects or activities that will be beneficial to their career, to their goals that they've set for themselves? So some of that is kind of assessing the ability. But I think just as much, it's about thinking about your commitment and your willingness. So, some of those things that do you have the time and energy to put into this relationship. Are you willing to, you know, sort of sit down with them help get feedback and help your mentee learn from their mistakes? Can you be honest with them? Can you share your own story, your own successes and failures? You know, obviously, we talked about some of the benefits of mentoring. But if you have any concerns that either this isn't a good fit, or that I'm not quite ready or don't have the time, and maybe I should hold off on doing that at this point. So it's worth thinking about those because, again, these are sort of expectations, basic expectations of a mentor. And then, you know, certainly a number of tips that I think many of you have already come up with. One is kind of some attributes. So being honest, non-judgmental, being willing to work on developing a relationship, being willing to be accessible and follow through on the things that you said you'd do for your mentee or feedback you'd give them, and then being transparent about credit for collaborative work is a must. Certainly, the behaviors that you can use to really help that relationship thrive is helping the mentee identify their strengths and capitalize on them, brainstorming with them, whether they need, you know, time management tips, priority balancing, or other ideas, offering assistance, that aligns with their best interests. So, not offering assistance that aligns with your best interests, but theirs. And then protecting them from what turns just opportunities. So if you think that this, you know, opportunity is going to suck your mentee's time with not a lot of that benefits for them personally, kind of helping them consider and weigh the costs and benefits of that opportunity that may not be helpful for them. So, as I mentioned before, I have an interest in coaching and really using coaching mindset to guide mentorship. And what that really means is kind of acknowledging that the mentee is the true driver of the relationship, as I said before, because the mentee is an expert in their needs. So, while as a mentor, you might be an expert in your field or in the organizational culture, knowing and empowering the mentee to identify their needs and sort of come up with ideas and goals to meet those needs, I think, is one of the most important things you can do as a mentor. So, with that, the mentee should really be driving the goal setting, especially if you're taking a coaching approach. As a mentor, you really use the act of listening and reflection to guide the conversation and help them realize their goals. As a mentor, you can use brainstorming, as we talked about, to help mentees come up with solutions. And you can share expertise and wisdom with them. But you sort of explicitly acknowledge when you're going to put your expert hat on and say, "This is my experience, this is my advice," versus asking and kind of encouraging the mentee to come up with their own solutions to problems. Of course, I find this useful, not just with mentees but with patients. And we've all talked about and learned about active listening. But reminding myself before a meeting with a mentee about sort of the tenets of active listening has been proven beneficial for me. So, really taking that neutral, non-judgmental stance to whatever they're saying, whatever they want to talk about, being okay with silence and being patient. So they'll let the mentee work through and say what they need to say, what they need to update on, giving them both verbal and nonverbal signs that I'm truly listening to them. And I'm engaged, and I'm not checking email or looking at my phone during our meetings. Asking questions, but then reflecting on what they say, asking for clarification. And then summarizing kind of the wrap-up of the meeting. And all of that sort of reminds me of this quote from Steven Spielberg that says "The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves." And so just encouraging you as a mentor to really allow the mentee to drive the relationship in that regard. So, I'm going to finish up with some practical considerations for mentoring. So, the simple first meeting comes out of Emory. and I really like just kind of a framework for what to expect. Typically, schedule the first meetings with a mentee for one hour. And I get the same information from the mentee ahead of time. So, if I don't already have, at the minimum, a copy of their CV. During that first meeting, discuss expectations both their expectations of our relationship and mine. Usually, if they have a chance, they can have already filled out a worksheet or thought about some of their strengths, weaknesses, career trajectory, one and five-year goals. But if you feel like that would be best done in person in the meeting, that's the time to do that during that first meeting. Reviewing mentee's promotion and tenure documents. So many mentees have very little experience and find this an intimidating part of their professional career, and so, just reviewing those documents and aligning them with their own goals. And then, as we kind of talked about, after you go over their strengths, weaknesses, talking about both short and intermediate-term goals, so whether that be the sixth to one month or six months or one-year goals, and then more than three to five-year goals. And then another fun activity that I feel is a really great conversation starter with mentees is to ask them to go through and generate four lists. Think about what they're doing now that they want to quit. So what are they doing professionally or sometimes personally that's not adding any value to their lives? Think about what they've just been asked to do that they'd like to say no to. Think about what they're not doing now that they'd like to start doing. So, assuming that there's some things they can give up, what would that make room for? That would be really meaningful to them in their career. What are they doing now that they want to continue doing? And then, where is there a mismatch in this list? Is there something that we need to do to improve the balance so that they can actually accomplish everything on this list? And then, before you wrap up that first meeting, some logistics that need to be discussed include kind of how often are you going to meet? Where or how are you going to meet. And would that be in person for coffee or over Zoom? Certainly, depending on the role that you're serving, this could be monthly meetings or for more just for general faculty career mentorship. I typically have them quarterly. But decide, based on your mentee's needs and your availability, how often you're going to meet and how. Are you going to follow a specific agenda each time? Or are you going to ask the man to come with an open agenda? Are they going to send it to you ahead of time? How are we going to prioritize your topics? How are you going to communicate between meetings? So, are you going to do email follow-up on the items you discussed? You know, do they have your phone to call you anytime they want? Or do you prefer they email you with any problems or issues that come up? And then, how are you going to organize your meetings going forward? What tools do you need to keep your mentee organized? So often, when we're talking about mentoring grad students, postdocs, researchers, there's the recommended individualized development plan. And I would say if you've seen one IDP, you've seen one IDP, I've looked at about 10 different institutions IDPs. And they all are slightly different but accomplish the same goal. But I would encourage you on the -- the URL is And that is a more interactive website that can take you through a web-based IDP. And it looks really cool. But really, an individualized development plan is really just an opportunity within the various domains related to your mentee. What are the goals they have? What kind of educational activities do they need to do related to that goal? What kind of research are they doing? What are their benchmarks for completion of a research project? And what are the target dates? And so you can, again, modify these. Or your mentee can modify these to fit your needs depending on their role. And then, for the meetings, you know, I certainly like to take notes as the mentor. And having kind of a worksheet to organize those notes can be really useful to access them, kind of prior to each subsequent meeting. And you could sort of put them in. You may be mentoring your mentee on all the different domains: research, teaching, clinical, or maybe one specific area. And so you can kind of make your subheadings to meet your needs. But with each of them, you can talk about their accomplishments since our last meeting. What are any obstacles or barriers they've had? Do they need a strategy to overcome those? And then, in general, are they making progress to their goal? Have they met their goal, or are they stalled? And so it's just a quick way to organize what you've discussed and what they're working on. So that again, when you do your follow-up action items, either between meetings or at the next meeting, you have something to build on. So just to summarize, you know, I hope that kind of this, an overview of various mentorship needs can help convince you that mentorship enhances both the careers of mentees and mentors.

>> The leadership podcast is produced by the Ohio State University's Office of Faculty Affairs. For more information, visit us at I'm your host, Kaprea Johnson. Thanks for listening. And we will see you next time.

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Episode 2

Anchoring Purpose: Navigating Success and Legacy in Academia 

Welcome to a thought-provoking episode of The Leadership podcast, where we dive deep into the heart of academia with Dr. Carol Bradford. Join us as we explore the pivotal concept of "Remembering Your Why" in your unique journey as a faculty member. In this enlightening conversation, Dr. Bradford shares insights and wisdom garnered from her remarkable journey, underscoring the significance of staying true to your initial motivations and aspirations. Tune in for practical tips and invaluable suggestions for nurturing your success in the academic realm. Dr. Bradford's rich expertise offers guidance on how to forge your own path, cultivate lasting impact, and leave behind a legacy that resonates with your unique vision.


>> I'm Kaprea Johnson and you are listening to the Leadership Podcast where we delve into the stories, strategies, and insights of experienced leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and empowered to lead with confidence and purpose. It's my honor now to introduce our facilitator for today, Dr. Carol Bradford, the Dean of the College of Medicine, the Vice President for Health Sciences for the Wexner Medical Center, and the Leslie H. and Abigail S. Wexner Dean's Chair for medicine. Dr. Bradford, welcome.

>> So, thank you so much and I want to express my gratitude to Debbie and Emma for their tremendous leadership of the extraordinary FAME programming we have to provide mentorship, advancement, and skills development for all of our valued faculty members. It's really, really a fabulous program. So, one of the things -- you know, I think we all know the journey of being a faculty member. There can be some really easy days but there can also be some challenging days. And so, I think the passion, the why are we doing what we do is really, really important because, I believe, for all of us, as faculty members, and I recognize there are physicians, scientists, clinicians, all types of faculty on this call, but why did we choose this profession? Why did we choose to be a faculty member? And when -- if you write that down and think about it like the why, why, why, why, then on the more challenging days, you can always go back to why you're doing what you're doing and I think it's really helpful to remember that on your most challenging days. So, why did I choose my career pathway? I consider myself a servant leader and every day, I wake up far too early, like all of you, thinking about how I can make a positive impact upon key stakeholders. So, learners, patients, families, faculty members like you and on all of the communities, we collectively serve and that's actually why I've chosen this career path without any doubt. And so, focused drive or drive is what allows you to pursue your passion with energy. And again, for me, it's always been really helpful to recognize that every day you're making a difference and leaving a legacy. And let me just talk a little bit about the legacy question. So, when I was interviewing for the Chair of Orolaryngology in 2008, one of the -- those airport interviews, I remember being asked the question, "What will be your legacy?" And honestly, I had never really thought about it and it was really, for me, a very much a light bulb moment because it was almost like I'd never thought of it up until that interview. And then, ever since, I think about it every day, like what legacy am I leaving with all of you on this call? What legacy am I leaving with learners? What legacy am I leaving with staff? What legacy am I leaving with the communities we serve? Colleagues? Leadership? It's really, really important to think about the legacy you're leaving and I think, for me, it has allowed me to bring my best self. We have different versions of ourself, my best self, to work in life every day. So, a couple other messages. So, focus on your true north. What your true north is we can talk about a little more. You -- we can never be all things to all people. I'm definitely a pleaser. I like to make people happy but I think that you -- we can't ever be all things to all people. So, what you want to do is focus your time and energy on your true north which is what really matters. So, what is your true north is your internal compass. It guides your decisions. I hope that your true north is very well aligned with our Buckeye core values, what are your preferences, what are your motivations, what are your boundaries because, you know, there's a point at which, early in most of our careers, where literally I could work 24/7 every day of the year. And, of course, I can't do that, nor can you. And so, at some point, you have to close up the laptop, turn off the phone, and, you know, enjoy the thing we call life out there. And I'm a big fan of, you know, on the plate -- the silver platter of life. When you add things to that platter of things - that roles, responsibilities, opportunities - you have to make sure that you're also taking items off the list so you don't have more to do than you can do effectively. Because whatever you do, you want to really be best, do your best at everything that you do, and sources of satisfaction. And I hope -- you know, I think that there is huge meaning and purpose in being an educator, a scientist, and a, for me, a physician as well as a faculty member as well as a leader. So, I think you want to evaluate that for yourselves as well. So, none of us are an island. This is the support. So, that's the fourth thing, support. Build your village. I would never have survived without a village and I cannot tell you how many times I've called on my village to support whether it's illness or life challenges or a grant deadline or an emergency when I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my home with residents and my family and I was in the OR. You know, they might name the chaos or when the -- my niece got a bone marrow transplant and my daughter got RSD at the same time, everybody lived. My niece actually had aplastic anemia. We solved it all but there were moments you wondered like -- and I had a free flap the next day, of course. Just how do you survive the hard days? So, you build your village. So, you need family, friends, you need colleagues, and then we all need four things - role models, mentors, sponsors, and coaches. They're all different things. It's a different talk I actually give but I think about all of those things. A mentor -- we think we know what a mentor is, a sponsor puts you forward for those important opportunities. I think we also tend to know what a role model potentially and a coach is. So, what are my pearls of wisdom? So, find a great mentor. So -- and, you know, mentor -- you can have mentors for different aspects of your career. So, I met Tom Curie [assumed spelling] when I was doing my T32 grant work. I actually met him as a medical student. He's a PhD, scientist, head and neck tumor biology. If you look at my CV, we published more than 100 papers together. He is a fabulous science career and life mentor and a great colleague and friend. But you need to find those people that you can talk to, rely on, ask questions like, "What should I do in this situation?" "How can I get my grant funded?" review my, you know, specific aims. And again, we look at the world very differently. I'm pretty focused and he's sort of an expansive thinker and I think, collectively, we actually were able to accomplish great science. But beyond that, he was a fabulous mentor to me and, you know, would be to this day if I called him. Search for ways to improve your profession. For me, this was the science. As a medical student and as a resident, I became very interested in asking some interesting questions like, "Why did some patients respond -- head and neck tumors respond beautifully to chemotherapy and radiation while others didn't respond at all?" And so, we did large data sets, large biomarker studies in very big clinical trials including the VA Larynx study and what -- in a different study, a study of oropharynx tumors, we actually found one of the answers. One of the answers is a subset of throat cancers are due to human papilloma virus and that informs very much better response to any form of treatment and those patients are less likely to be -- have a tobacco and alcohol history. And I mentioned those examples so you can think about what are the important clinical or foundational questions that you want to study and answer in your faculty career. Publish and present your ideas. I don't know about you but there's a lot of work that does not get published. I -- you know, you might work with a student, a resident, a colleague, you study something, you're -- you have the data. And then, you presented at a meeting, you submit the abstract, and then you don't publish and -- or present it. So, I really encourage, when you've done this scholarly work, find a way to actually write it up, submit it, you know, have people review it, submit it. In most papers, most quality papers, you can find a -- you know, you can get published and it's just a -- you know, if you've done the work, get the work published. Be a lifelong learner. I already mentioned, be open to new ideas, new learnings, new concepts every single day. None of us know everything. Now -- you know -- and there's just so much to learn in all sorts of different disciplines and you are all lifelong learning today so I'm glad you're joining us today. Be a role model. So, a role model and I would also say keep -- be calm and be a role model. A role model is someone who serves as an example of the values, attitudes, and behaviors associated with a role. So, honesty, integrity, professionalism, kindness. It doesn't mean that we always agree, but even when we disagree, is there a way to say something very kindly and respect -- respectfully so that we can have a meaningful conversation. Really be open to different perspectives and points of view. Get a coach. A coach is really someone who can give you correction without causing resentment. I personally have had the privilege of having executive coaching -- coaches when I have taken on new leadership roles. I certainly had one when I was a new chair and I certainly had one when I was Executive Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. And as you move up the ladder, there's fewer and fewer people that you can talk to. So, actually having sort of an objective coach that you can talk to about how to handle certain situations, for me, was very, very valuable. I also had here an executive internal coach in an on-boarding process as well as a mentorship team. So, all those are really, really important and we all can continue to improve. And what -- a lot of the -- a lot of your energy is probably not -- we love to focus on our strengths but I think it's really, really important to focus on those areas that we know are our weaknesses and how can we improve those, and those require conscience -- conscious effort. So, build a great team and rely upon them. All of us know that our people and our teams are truly our strength. Focus on what matters. So, there's not ever enough time to do everything we want to do so you have to focus on what matters. You know, we just had Halloween season. I did not make my children's Halloween costumes but a friend of mine did. She was also actually a physician. And so, what I did when our kids were just a little bit like younger than her kids so I repurposed her homemade costumes the next year a couple of times. So, again, you know, focus on what matters in is most important to you which is really your vision, your mission, and your core values. You know, ask yourself what are your goals and priorities? You can think about one-year, three-year, and five-year goals and I will give you a piece of advice that the dean provided me every time I met with him when I was the chair of orolaryngology at my former institution. He always said, "Carol, it's a marathon, not a sprint because it's a long journey and so you have to pace yourself." You know, if you come out of the gate in a marathon running super fast, you'll be done long before you're done with the race. And so, you have to pace yourself. I'm a huge advocate for well-being and wellness, and if there's -- if you remember nothing else from our time together this afternoon, remember to take care of yourself. We can't provide cure for others and, again, that might be learners, it might be people in your lab, it might be patients, it might be families, it might be communities until we take care of ourselves first. We have lots of programming here, we're developing a new umbrella, Gabbe Health and Well-Being Program. But the reality is I've given some advice like don't keep adding things to the list of things to do, focus on what matters, focus on your priorities, think about meaning and purpose. But at the end of the day, we have to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of other people. And if we need support, ask for support. Phone a friend, phone a number of resources that we have here at Wexner Medical Center that we're very, very blessed to have. And I realize there are also structural problems in the wellness and well-being equation and we continue to partner with you to address those structural challenges as well. There are lots of things in life. The big splash falls -- those are the things that are really important, those are your goals, your priorities, your family, might be your faith. Whatever those things are for you, prioritize those things. Maybe it's writing a grant, writing a paper. Whatever it is, put those -- it might be family, making time for family events, for me, it was clearly my children's sporting events, I prioritize that. And so -- and then, there's medium-size things and then there's the little marble. So, you know, we can all talk about what are the marbles. The marbles are the 300 e-mails a day, the closing encounters. I mean, they're important but if I answered every single e-mail I received now in three different e-mail or four different e-mail accounts every day, I would never even get outside of my office. So, what we have to do when there's more to do than there is time is focus on what matters the most. And you'll notice when you do that, that everything actually fits in because you prioritize. But if you spend all your time doing the small things, you'll never have time to set those goals, to set those priorities, and to write that grant, to write that paper. So, again, for me, that's been a very helpful piece of advice. Take time to enjoy life, make sure you make time for people while they're still here. You know, I've mentioned a couple of times, you know, if you focus so that you can actually be really great at what you do, focus to promote and sustain excellence not -- we don't want to be OK at anything. We want to really be outstanding and excellent. So, whatever you pursue, make sure you have the time to really focus on it and pursue excellence. I think it's really important to communicate. One of the light bulbs moments I had in my career that you'd -- nobody knows what you're doing unless you tell them. I hope you read my "Power of" blogs and thanks to the team that helps me write these. These are very impactful for me. That's what I'm thinking about, it's what matters to me. And I think no matter what you do, you have to communicate. You have to communicate your success stories. I think it's really, really important to help other people be successful, you know, whether it is a colleague, a learner, a staff member. I think it's really important to really look around our community and say, "What can I do to help you be successful?" And I think promoting career development in everybody we encounter every day is really important. Lead, mentor, and sponsor - we can be all those things for the people that you interact with every day and I encourage you to do that. I'm deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and work very hard every day to uphold those values. Meaning and purpose in our work, I've mentioned this several times already. I think it's a great way to still -- stay well. There's actually really good evidence that when we find meaning and purpose in our work, we are more well as a community. I've always thought that taking care of patients is truly a privilege and a joy and it continues to be for me to this day. You know, I've talked a lot about leaving a legacy. I hope that our conversation today has helped you think about how you can leave a legacy with those people you come into contact with every single day.

>> The Leadership Podcast is produced by The Ohio State University's Office of Faculty Affairs. For more information, visit us at I'm your host, Kaprea Johnson. Thanks for listening and we will see you next time.

Image shows text: Faculty Affairs Leadership Podcast, Episode 3

Episode 3

Pathways to Leadership Excellence

Join us in this engaging podcast episode as we sit down with the accomplished Dr. Karla Zadnik to explore the key turning points that have shaped her remarkable leadership journey. With insights drawn from her own experiences, Dr. Zadnik delves into the pivotal moments that have propelled her along the pathway of leadership in her field.  Whether you're just beginning your leadership journey or looking to elevate your existing leadership skills, this episode offers a wealth of practical guidance and strategic insights.




>> I'm Kaprea Johnson and you are listening to the Leadership Podcast where we delve into the stories, strategies, and insights of experienced leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and empowered to lead with confidence and purpose.

>> Dr. Karla Zadnik became the Ohio State College of Optometry's dean in 2014 and the executive dean for the Health Science Colleges in 2015. That means she's the dean of deans. She received her academic degrees from the University of Cal Berkeley School of Optometry. And prior to coming to Ohio State in 1996, she was a faculty member at the University of California Davis in the Department of Ophthalmology. Her professional highlights includes that she was a member of the National Advisory Eye Council of the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. She was a study chair for the NEI-founded Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Ethnicity and Refractive Error, also known as the CLEERE study. And she was the chair of the first ever NEI-funded multicenter study based in optometry, the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus, the CLEK study. Her career-long NIH funding totals, wait for it, $40 million. It's very, very impressive. At Ohio State, she has chaired our IRB, our Biomedical Sciences Institutional Review Board, for 17 years. That may be the most impressive of all. Yeah. And she received the university's Distinguished Scholar Award in 2010. So please help me to welcome Dr. Karla Zadnik. And I'm going to ask her first to tell me her leadership journey. How did you get to be the dean of deans and in the leadership roles that you've got?

>> I was educated at University of California Berkeley School of Optometry, as Mike mentioned, and I went to work at the UC Davis Department of Ophthalmology. I was 24 years old. I'm an optometrist going to work in a college of medicine -- school of medicine. And I, for a while, saw patients, I was a clinician, that's what I was going to do. And then I got a leadership opportunity for a local optometric society, like a local medical society or a small club or group in your community. And I kind of liked it. And I thought, "I might have some leadership chops here." And what I discovered was as an optometrist in a school of medicine, there was a ceiling that was hitting me. I was up against it already. I was never going to be a department chair. I was never going to be the dean of a school of medicine. And so I decided to go back to graduate school. I thought a PhD would open all the doors. I briefly considered medical school and rejected it. But I decided that a PhD in my own field would open doors that I knew existed and maybe open some doors that I didn't even know were doors. So I went back to graduate school. And I was going to -- let's see, I was going to continue my career at the University of California, Berkeley, do my research and retire from there. While the University of California, Berkeley had different ideas for me, and long story short, and one of the most devastating academic experiences of my life, I hope anyway, they did not want to give me a faculty position. Dean wanted to hire me. It was a big battle over clinical versus basic science research. I had both those NIH grants at the time and they did not want to hire me. So I came to Ohio State. Ohio State recruited me. But the pivotal moment, when you asked me how I became dean. So I came here and there was an executive committee for the college. Some of you may have that kind of thing in your college or in your department. And it was all men who had been educated at Ohio State and I happen to chair the college's research committee. And one of the people on that project was one of my collaborators. And he says, " Karla, we need you to join the executive committee as chair of the research committee." And I said, "OK, tell me more." And he said, "But you're not going to get a promotion, you're not going to get any associate or assistant [inaudible] title and no money for doing it." If that had happened today, I probably would have gotten feisty and said no. And instead, I said, "OK, I'll do it." I think that's the right thing to do for the college. I think the college needs a different point of view. And it was the -- at the same time may be the most denigrating and the smartest thing I could have done at the time because then I was at the table. And I was able to express my ideas and able to express my ideas in a constructive way, right, not just a way where I was telling everybody what I thought they were doing wrong, but telling them how I thought we could do better, what ideas I thought we could incorporate that would improve the college. And after that, I became the associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies. Then the associate dean for Academic Affairs retired. And ours is a small program. And I went to the dean and said, "You know, I don't know very much about running the professional program. I -- could I become the associate dean for Academic Affairs?" He goes, "Well, yeah, if you'll stay the associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies." OK. And I learned a lot during that time. And honestly, I was hired by -- in the Gordon Gee era, no search, a phone call, you're going to be the dean when the current dean retires. And so that's what happened. And I knew for 18 months that I was going to be the dean, but nobody else knew. And I became the dean in 2014. And I'm in my ninth year in that capacity. There's a big value on authenticity right now. You ever had anybody tell you be authentic, you should be authentic, you know, you can't be authentic, that's not a thing you can be. I heard Mark say, "You have to be you, you're not going to be him, you're not going to be me, you have to be you." That's what being authentic is. So when somebody just says, "You just need to be more authentic," and you might walk away and go, "What does that even mean?" And you would be right in asking that question. So if somebody has a presence and you want -- you get people to listen to you, you do it by being your authentic self, not somebody else's version of what they think means authenticity for you.

>> So obviously, you know, when I listened to you, the first thing that struck me is, as a woman, how you were sidelined. It still happens to this day. And what would you advise because, you know, we talk about diversity, races, like, you know, there's been so much talk, but sometimes I feel it's all talk, there's no action. And how can -- how do you -- how would you advise people?

>> So I think you have to find those actions in the arenas that are important to you. And one piece of advice, I have two adult daughters, 37, 32, they work for Netflix on CoverMyMeds respectively, not a scientific or mathematic bone in their bodies, much to my deep regret. They're humanities arts girls. And they sometimes -- in their professions, they almost don't experience that they don't realize it exists, but I think it does in academia. And I think you have to pick your causes. So I want to give you a specific example of something I'm doing currently that's completely voluntary. I started talking to a colleague at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry, she was the chief diversity officer there. And she said -- this is right after George Floyd was murdered. And she says, "Karla, there's a group of us who need mentoring." And she met a group of black women faculty who are at schools and colleges of optometry across the country. Fast forward to today, there -- it's a group of about 18 women, we meet once a month for a 90-minute Zoom call. We own -- they call them black girl magic and a ginge is the name of the group, they christened it, not me. And we are -- we discipline ourselves to only talk about their careers or their work-life balance concerns. We don't talk about DEI stuff during that hour and a half because that's their day job. They all do it all day every day. But here's what they tell me. I've been doing this work and then an associate dean role or a department chair role opens up and I'm the DEI person. So nobody calls me and asks me if I'd like to throw my hat in the ring to be the department chair or the associate dean. And I'm proud to say that the woman who helped me found it is now the first black woman dean at a school of optometry in the US at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. And it was by them being selfish enough, I think, her being selfish enough, to spend some time concentrating on her own ambitions and goals. And along the way, this is my other piece of advice, you have to be excellent, which I think overrules everything else. So if you're excellent, who can argue with that? Even if you are sometimes not given the title, not given the salary, but you're doing the work. I'll tell you, the executive dean role is dry promotion is what the dean of engineering told me. I said, "What does that mean, David?" He says, "No money." It's like, "OK, good to know." But I've done that work anyway because it matters and because it's a place I can make a difference. Find -- also find yourself. I could -- there were none many moons ago. I'm an old lady. There were none many years ago when I was looking. Find yourself a strong woman mentor in your discipline outside your discipline because I think having somebody to talk to who's been there or who's thought about it can really help. if you're looking for a new dinner partner. So the power of your words as you move up in leadership roles, don't underestimate them. Choose them carefully. You almost can't think out loud anymore. And I hate it. And I still make the mistake all the time. The other thing my faculty members who are here, Mike tell me, is -- faculty have told me this before, I do my really best to listen to somebody's articulation of a problem that that they're working through or that they wanted to talk to me about, but I'm not very good at telling when they're just there to vent and when they actually want to do something about it. And I sometimes jump to create -- suggesting solutions when they really just wanted to vent. And so sometimes I think I should put a sign on my door that says, "If you're just here to vent, tell me," because I'm happy to do that.

>> If you could give a group of young, aspiring leaders one piece of advice that you say you wish you had gotten when you were, if that -- what would that be?

>> I do, too.

>> Sure.

>> OK. So I meant I alluded to the -- to one. I took a leadership course many, many years ago. And John Kotter's A Force for Change, it's an old book, but I really like it. And it talked about a key leadership skill being the ability to motivate and inspire others. On my cynical days, you know what that is, that's just getting other people to do your stuff. It's great. But when I think about it in a loftier way, when I think about it in the way of leading my college or leading this academy group, it's about people not feeling like you've manipulated them into doing the things you'd need or want them to do. But in fact, they are motivated and inspired, whether that's by your authenticity, by your ability to communicate, by your energy. People often use the word energy to describe me, which my husband thinks is funny. He says, "Yeah, if they could see you at home at 10:30 at night, they wouldn't think you're quite so energetic asleep on the couch before you -- I have to wake you to go to bed." But if they admire those things in you, then inspiring them to follow the path or do the things that you think need to be done to get your group or your unit to the next level comes naturally and people aren't doing it begrudgingly. I heard a piece today or it was there was going to be a piece on Ann Fisher on MPR and she's going to talk about this quiet quitting movement. My guess is you're not the quiet quitters because the quiet quitters aren't giving up a Thursday evening to learn more about leadership and to be better at their work and jobs and their futures. But apparently, there's a significant part of the workforce that's doing that. When I think about that, part of the antidote to that might be if people work for leaders that motivate and inspire them, then they're motivated, inspired to not behave in that way. And we're all recovering from the pandemic, but that's the key. The ability to motivate and inspire others with your words, with your actions, with your own work ethic, with your own dedication to your work-life balance are all aspects, I think, that work. The second is seek people's advice, talk to people, get people's opinions, but not too much. Because at some point in a leadership role, you have to keep your own counsel and make a decision. If you've ever worked for a leader, who had a hard time making a decision, I have, it's very frustrating. It's really frustrating. And so don't duplicate that instead, but I get advice. People have input. Now, does that mean occasionally somebody says, "Well, I told you what I thought should happen?" And it's not what you decided to do. Yeah, that's why I'm the dean. What are you -- what do you want me to tell you? Because you eventually have to take all that counsel, all that advice. You're not taking a vote for most things and you ultimately have to make the decision, live by it, and motivate and inspire others to follow through that decision with you. Those are probably my two biggest.

>> One question I have is, do you have any successful strategies you employ in difficult conversations in your position? You probably have had to have some or many difficult conversations. Any strategies that you can think of?

>> So I'll bet your -- you can anticipate what I'm going to say. I don't sugarcoat stuff much. If I have something, feedback I have to give somebody, I sort of cut to the chase. I wouldn't spend a lot of time asking about dogs and kids and -- however, there is a book by Kim Scott called Radical Candor that I ascribe to if you've ever read that, and she talks about being able to give people feedback, straightforward, meaningful feedback. But you have to really care about the person's success to do so. OK. So another -- it's a two-by-two table. And there's another square in it that is the square where you care deeply, oh, my gosh, you care so much about your employees or your coworkers, you can barely deal with it, but you're horrible at giving honest feedback. You just can't -- your mouth just can't make the words, that's called ruinous empathy in her model. You care, care, care, care, care, but you can't tell anybody how to do things right, how to set a different course. So this radical candor idea, you can provide feedback, you can have those difficult conversations, if you've built up the trust relationship and the person knows that you, the leader, deeply care about their success at whatever the thing you're talking to them about is. I can't remember what it's called if you neither care nor can you give feedback. Worst boss of the century, perhaps, or I'm not sure -- I can't remember what that square is called. But that radical candor idea, I think, helps me, but I don't -- I will also say I don't sugarcoat it very much. So the candor part, I probably developed the caring side of that equation a little more along the years.

>> Hi, thank you. I think following on to what you just talked about, I had the question -- and you just confirmed that you previously had more candor than caring. Sometimes as a woman, if you're very direct in your speech and language, people have a hard time accepting that from a woman. Have you ever had instances maybe previously in your career where you spoke a little too forwardly for some people? And how did you handle that or manage their reaction to that in a way that didn't minimize what you were saying, but also acknowledge the gap that might be there and expectations?

>> You said it much -- you've asked the question better than I can answer it. Yeah, aggressive. Do you think people probably use the word aggressive when I was a little bit younger with me? Probably. When I was leaving Berkeley, one of the things that happened is one of the male faculty members, male professors said, "You know, if Karla would" -- and I have these two NIH grants that I mentioned. Then he said, "You know, if Karla would just be like the second banana for one of us for a while on a project, then maybe in a few years, we could -- we put her on the faculty when we knew that she would be able to work with us." It's like, "See yah, Ohio State's knocking on the door." I was sick of the commute, I was sick of the five-hour commute. I was tired of the traffic. I was tired of the bad public schools. And so I made that decision. So I haven't -- I have to admit, I've not been terribly good at backpedaling. I never worked to create a different persona because it's just not me. So it's gotten me into some trouble. My previous boss and I, the dean before me, he was a really soft spoken, super nice man. We did OK, but we had very, very different styles. And I remember we asked him when he -- we interviewed him if he'd ever fired anybody. And he said, "No, but I'll make sure I have an associate dean who can." Didn't know that was going to be me at the time. It's like, "OK, that's the role I'm supposed to fulfill for him." So I haven't been very good. I'm not terribly good at apologies, I have to say. I -- I'm kind of a take me or leave me sort of person to a certain extent. And maybe that served me well. And maybe somebody would say, "Yeah, there could be other jobs." On the executive dean topic, I was not going to throw my hat in that ring. And I had this fantastic life coach. Her name was Ellen Rudy, God rest her soul. She was dean of the College of Nursing at Pittsburgh. I met her on a search committee. And I asked her if she would be willing to go to dinner with me every other month and I would pay for dinner. And she says, "I'll pay for every other dinner and you don't have to listen to any of my advice." And the executive dean position opened up and she says, "I've been a dean a year." She says, "I think you can apply for that." Oh, Ellen, I'm not going to apply for that. I really think you ought to apply for that. And I did. And the provost thought I was the -- the-then provost thought I was the right person for the job.

>> When you're in, I would say, lower but earlier leadership roles, how do you ask the bigger leaders for things? When you maybe don't have a lot of like -- it's a leadership role, but it doesn't have like money resources, what -- or those might be limited or undefined.

>> So whatever tasks I was taking on, whatever big responsibility I did have, I would map out what I had to do. If I did go to my fiscally conservative boss, soft spoken, nice guy with a very different leadership style, I would like have some talking points in my hand so that I didn't get there and fumble. And I generally acknowledged that he needed what I used to call repeat readings of the legislative agenda before he would say yes to stuff. So I ratcheted back my own expectations that I was going to blow into his office and say, "We need to hire somebody to teach yada yada. I've got the perfect person. I think the salary is going to be about this, this is what it's going to cost." He wouldn't have said yes to something like that in a million years. But if I started with a conversation about, "We're going to have this teaching gap next year about -- for this particular course and I wonder if there would be somebody in the department of pharmacology that might be able to teach it for us, leave it at that," the next time I come and say, "Remember that pharmacology course we talked about, now I've got somebody that I think might be able to teach," and I discovered that by the third or fourth time I made the request, by then, he was ready to make the decision. So I -- there is an example of me changing my style a little bit to get what I wanted. So that might be a way to do it. And all through it, though, I was still maintaining -- you know, I was doing the job that he was paying me to do and that he expected me to do, but I just learned a different way of asking for things by virtue of his personality.

>> The Leadership Podcast is produced by the Ohio State University's Office of Faculty Affairs. For more information, visit us at I'm your host, Kaprea Johnson. Thanks for listening and we will see you next time.

Image shows text Faculty Affairs Leadership Podcast with a portrait photo of Dr. Melissa Shivers behind a faded gray play button.

Episode 4

Leading with Gratitude: The Power of Appreciation in Leadership

In this episode, we explore the essence of leading with gratitude and appreciation with Dr. Melissa Shivers. Join us as we uncover the profound benefits of expressing gratitude within a team, hear real-life examples of how leaders show their appreciation, and learn actionable strategies for cultivating a culture of gratitude in your leadership journey. Tune in and discover how small acts of appreciation can yield significant results in your team dynamics and leadership effectiveness.



>> I'm Kaprea Johnson, and you are listening to the Leadership Podcast, where we delve into the stories, strategies, and insights of experienced leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and empowered to lead with confidence and purpose. Hello, and thank you so much for joining us for the Leadership Podcast. Today, we have Dr. Shivers joining us to talk about gracious leadership. Dr. Shivers, please introduce yourself, and perhaps, you can share your initial reaction on this month's focus on gracious leadership.

>> Thank you so much for having me. As you said, my name is Melissa Shivers, and I have the distinct pleasure of serving as the Senior Vice President for Student Life here at Ohio State University. And wow, when I saw this opportunity and the focus was on gracious leadership, it really just reminded me about why we do what we do, and why what actually matters is the how we go about doing it. And it's really exciting to have an opportunity to talk about leadership in a different way, more from the feeling and approach way versus a stagnant, these are the typical leadership models that we use, but operating from that sense of person and that desire to really focus on the individuals that you have the chance to work with and to support. So really excited about this topic and just very grateful for the opportunity to be able to engage with you and all of those that are listening.

>> Fantastic. Thank you so much for that. And I love this, the way that you place that, the idea of centering people instead of the theory and the styles of leadership. So I appreciate that. I'm going to jump into our next question. Why is it important for leaders to express gratitude and appreciation to their teams? What are the fundamental benefits of doing so?

>> Gosh, what a really great question. And of course, there's a ton of literature out on this topic. But I'd like just to start with, because it's really the right thing to do. As human beings, we naturally respond better to receiving positive affirmation and support. Showing gratitude in so many ways can help advance someone's sense of belonging. It's also so important in many ways to the individual's personal and professional satisfaction and engagement, whether it's an organization, whether it's in your family, whether it's in your friendships, people just tend to respond more positively to work environments and to relationships when they feel valued and appreciated. It's wonderful when we have an opportunity to celebrate teams, but it's also very powerful when an individual can hear the impact that they've made on others and to know that they are a part of something bigger and that they actually matter.

So in my day-to-day work, and honestly, in my life, I'm always thinking about ways that I can craft opportunities for our team members, or family members, or friends, or even strangers that I might meet walking in the mall or at a restaurant to make them feel appreciated and connected to the whole. I think we're learning so much right now about this epidemic of loneliness that plagues our country. And we never know how our interactions with someone can really change their outlook on life and how they see themselves living and operating in the world. So for me, it's this notion of caring about other people and sharing that feeling of support and appreciation for them in a very public way that they know that they matter and that they belong.

>> Thank you for that. It's so interesting to hear -- to hear about this from the perspective of belonging because we talk a lot about that in the K to 12 schools as well, how important it is for students to feel like they belong to the community, like they belong to the school, like they have friends. And so this idea that it's just as important for adults is really important for us to think about.

>> Yes, for sure.

>> Can you share some specific examples of how you or other leaders in higher education have effectively expressed gratitude to your teams, and what positive outcomes or changes have you witnessed as a result?

>> Gosh, this is -- this is such a great question. And I'll share that I joined the Ohio State community in January of 2020, which was, as you know, right before the COVID pandemic hit the country. And as a relatively new staff member, I didn't have an opportunity to really get to know my team very well or really get to know people in the community. So as a -- as a background, I'm a communication arts broadcast journalism major. So communication is absolutely core to how I do my work. And it's where I start with anything, whether it's an engagement with somebody that's new, whether it's a project that I'm working on, communication matters in order to be able to carry through the goals that you're trying to accomplish. And if those goals are trying to make people know that they matter and that they belong, it's important that communication is consistent. And it's also something that they can believe in and can really say to themselves and to others, "We know that the communication that we receive is going to be accurate and it's going to be the kind of information that we need."

So at the very beginning of my tenure here, I started communicating with our teams pretty quickly. I started talking to them, emailing them every single day about sort of what was happening relative to our work as an institution regarding the pandemic. The subject line of the email was really fancy. It was called Today's Update. And it was something that we were able to send out every single day the first three or four months of the pandemic. And then it just became a natural part of what people expected from me as a leader in terms of communication. They knew that it was important for me that they knew what was happening and that they could also depend on the information that was being shared. Through that process of communication, I started to also think about the type of culture that I wanted to create at Ohio State. And what does it mean here for us to be a part of the Office of Student Life? And what can people expect from people that work in the Office of Student Life?

For example, our students, what can they expect from us in terms of the ways that we engage with them? So while we don't have a ton of money to do a whole lot of work, there are things that we can do that don't cost a lot of money. And because we can't always be physically together, there are still ways for us to be able to share our appreciation and support. So just a couple of things within the Office of Student Life that we've -- that we've done. We created culture commitments, and those four culture commitments in Student Life are care, connection, appreciation, and support. We have them, we talk about them, but more importantly, we demonstrate them in every single thing that we do. I also share every Friday something called High Five Fridays. And this is a space, an email communication in which I consistently and broadly communicate kudos and congratulations to team members. So team members from across our Student Life division can send in high fives that they would like to share with other colleagues.

And we include those in the weekly high five update. People had so funny to me because they'll say, "Thank you for including me in High Five Friday. That was so nice. I didn't think anybody would notice." It's the little things that make the huge difference. I always start my meetings with high fives. And I always start the meetings with, "Tell me a high five, but I also want to know how you're doing. Before we jump into the business of the day, let's sort of center ourselves in terms of where we are, so that we can give each other a lot of space, and quite frankly, a lot of grace, if we're not able to be as present as we would like, because there's a lot going on in life." And so those seem to really help to break down any nervousness that people might have about jumping into the day-to-day work. But I think it also helps to build more community amongst the teams. I also send personal emails every single day to at least three people to start my morning, something that happened the day before, or something that happened the week off, or something that somebody just mentioned to me during a meeting, "This person did great."

I'll write to them and tell them, "Here's what I heard." And I think it's really important to be able to do that. I also handwrite birthday cards to every single staff member in the Office of Student Life. Now, mind you, we have almost a thousand full-time staff. So every month, it is quite busy with birthday cards. But I think that birthdays matter to people. The day that you were born and the fact that you get to celebrate another birthday, whether that's a formal celebration or a simple acknowledgement that you made it another year around the sun, I think it's important to acknowledge those. We also have meeting-free Fridays, where I've asked my team to not host formal meetings so that the busyness of the week of Monday through Thursday, it feels like we're all the time trying to play catch-up and even going into late into the evenings. But if we can dedicate one day during the week to being able to do those sort of catch-up emails or work on those big-time projects that you just need time to think, meeting-free Fridays gives people the opportunity to do that.

I also challenge people to be available and even vulnerable to show the team who they are as a person. I am oftentimes talking about my family. While I don't have my own children, I do have family members that I care deeply about. And I talk a lot about sort of what they're doing and how they're doing. I also held about 20 different listening sessions with staff and others, really going through and reviewing survey data and feedback that I've heard. I physically keep my doors open so that people can pop in and saying yes to invitations for informal dialogue. So lots, and lots of things that we do in the Office of Student Life to make sure that we are consistently communicating, demonstrating share, demonstrating care. And then more importantly, I always ask for feedback, and then I share the feedback that I've received. And then I also share with people how we're going to address that feedback. So when people complete surveys, I'm one of those people that says, "I hope I find out one day what they did with this data.

Here's what we have done with this data, and here's some still some opportunities for us." So as you can see here, communication is really at the top of my leadership style. And then also being an empathic leader and one who cares deeply about the people that I work with, recognizing that every day, we show up for work, we're showing up as whole people, that life is always happening even while we're at work. And so how do we embrace that life happening while we're at work and at the same time still feel supported to be able to have those real feelings and experiences.

>> Wow, that is fantastic. Oh, my goodness, I am over here taking notes. I love this care, connection, appreciation, and support. It really -- it really establishes the ethos for the department, and for the unit, and for your team. So that was wow, that was great. And then I like the High Five Fridays and the meeting-free Fridays. I am brought in. I am there.

>> Yeah, no one has told me they hate those yet.

>> Yes.

>> I haven't heard that yet. I usually get some negative feedback about some things, not this one.

>> I bet. I can imagine the surveys for High Five Fridays and for meeting-free Fridays. I can imagine that they would all be excellent because that --

>> Yeah, they're positive. Don't ever let them go away. Like, okay.

>> Oh, wow. And I do, I really appreciate the handwritten birthday cards. I used to do this as well when I was a resident assistant, and granted, I only had three people under me, only three people.

>> Oh, there's three people that mattered and that was special for them.

>> Absolutely. I mean, I just, am thinking about the sheer number with the thousand staff, but I really think that that goes a long way. It shows them that you really are invested in them. And I think that that's fantastic, because we really do spend so much of our time at work. It's best that you feel appreciated at a place where you probably spend more than 50% of your week there. So you want to feel like you're appreciated and you have support. So that's great. What are some practical strategies or techniques that higher education leaders can implement to create a culture of gratitude and appreciation within their teams or institutions, especially in environments that may be more traditionally structured?

>> That's also a really great question. And I think that even structured environments offer opportunities for gratitude and maybe even offer built-in opportunities. So for example, I mentioned earlier High Five Fridays. And for teams that have very regimented schedules of meetings, it's very easy to incorporate just a few moments of authentic appreciation into those meetings. So high fives are actually listed on the agenda as a part of the work that we'll do during our meetings. So it's not just a thing that we know we're going to talk about, it is listed as important part. It's actually the first thing that we do before we jump into the meat of the work. And I think setting that tone is really important. I think that leaders can also just ask their teams how they like to be appreciated and be prepared to deliver on an individual basis once you -- once you get that feedback. I have some team members who would prefer nothing done in a large group, nothing.

That is horrific for them. But then there are people that love coming on stage and being publicly recognized. But knowing my team and knowing what people need is really important and a critical way about, in terms of how we go about establishing that culture of care, connection, appreciation, and support. I would also offer that setting very clear expectations for individual's leadership teams, particularly at the executive and director levels. They really do help to set the tone that I want to have set as a leader, so if they aren't clear, there won't be full cohesion or delivery. And I would also share with leaders, don't be afraid to or waste time in correcting behaviors that don't uphold expectations. It's not to say that anyone is in trouble, but it is important to call in people opposed to calling out people so that everyone is on the same page. And it's not just the leaders of an organization who should show appreciation.

I think encouraging every team member to do so, that's what makes High Five Fridays so special, is that I am not the one who is submitting High Five Friday notes. It's coming from their colleagues across the entire enterprise who are taking the time every day to write to me and share, "I want to appreciate this person." That's where the culture change really happens, is with those folks who recognize the importance of appreciating others. Then it just becomes a part of what people expect at Ohio State from the Office of Student Life. And our students are oftentimes the beneficiaries of the culture change as well as the staff within the Office of Student Life.

>> Fantastic. I really like that idea of encouraging every team member to show appreciation and gratitude. I think that that's fantastic, and it really goes a long way for building that culture within the team of gratitude, absolutely.

>> Yeah.

>> Well, lastly, can you provide some simple everyday practices or gestures that anyone, regardless of their leadership level, can use to show gratitude to their colleagues or team members? And you have given us so many gems here. So if there are any additional ones that you want to list or highlight for us, please let us know.

>> Yes, I just have a few. One, which I think is probably the most important, is for people to be their authentic selves. People want to know that it's not just an act, but that you genuinely care. So if you can show up in a way that's authentic to you, people will know that. I would also offer something as simple as saying hello in the hallway while making eye contact. I think it's important to acknowledge the people that you are in community with, albeit briefly. Connecting with people and them seeing you, and you seeing them, can make a huge difference. Next, I would just say communicate, communicate, communicate. I've never been told that you communicate too much. And I think that the more that people can hear from you the things that you value and that are important to you, they will start to understand the culture that's being created. And it certainly can, I think, help to shape more buy-in from those who are a part of that community.

I also think taking the time to say thank you in a genuine and appreciative way. I mentioned earlier that every morning, I'll write a note to two or three people who I think have done something big or small or have been told they've done something big or small. And I just want to thank them for doing that thing that seems small to them in their regular course of business. But I've learned that it impacted someone's life in a really significant way and that they need to know that. Acknowledging very clearly that there are many types of jobs within an organization and every single job or role is important, which means that you're constantly making decisions with everyone in mind. So for example, meeting-free Fridays. Not everyone sits at a desk or has a physical office space where they can work on projects. We have staff who do really important work in lots of different ways across Student Life, and they don't get to necessarily take on meeting-free Fridays.

And so I have encouraged our leadership to think about other ways that we can provide those staff with space and time to be able to also take care of themselves and be able to engage in opportunities to sort of re-center themselves as well. So for example, some of the approaches to breaks that we take that tries to lighten the load of those who can't work remotely. I will send out a message and will tell the leadership of all of these different areas that while this person may not be able to take off during winter break, it's really going to be important that you identify other ways that we can lighten their loads. So if there are fewer people here working in the Ohio Union, that means the workload for those who are responsible for maintaining our buildings and maintaining spaces that we can feel good about working in, it makes their job easier. While it certainly doesn't replace the fact that they, perhaps, are working on days when others may not be, we can certainly do our best to make those jobs easier.

So I think thinking creatively about the ways that you can support all the staff across your -- across your enterprise is really important in a very inclusive and thoughtful way.

>> Absolutely. Thank you so much. I really enjoy these tips because I think they're things that anyone and everyone can do. They're not cost-prohibitive. These are just genuine things that we can do to show appreciation and gratitude to our team members and to our colleagues. So thank you so much for these tips.

>> Gosh, you're welcome.

>> Absolutely. Is there anything else that you want to say or that we didn't cover that you think is important to mention?

>> The only thing, other thing that I would offer is that being in leadership roles, defined leadership roles, can be really challenging. But if you're always remembering and keeping people at the center, the decisions that you make are easy. If you're centering the students, and the staff, and the community that you work with, how you go about making decisions and the decisions that you make, you know, will impact the community in a positive way. That's the only reminder. Sometimes, I think we make it really complicated. And I think if we can just remember who it is we're here to serve and support, it makes everything else that we do a tad bit easier.

>> Absolutely. What a wonderful way to end this presentation or this podcast session. Thank you so much for joining us again for another episode of the Leadership Podcast. The Leadership Podcast is produced by the Ohio State University's Office of Faculty Affairs. For more information, visit us at I'm your host, Kaprea Johnson. Thanks for listening, and we will see you next time. 

Image shows text: Faculty Affairs Leadership Podcast, Episode 5

Episode 5

Community Engagement Unveiled: A Comprehensive Perspective

Join us in this episode as we dive into the world of community engagement in higher education with Dr. Ryan Schmiesing. Together, we explore the transformative power inherent in this multifaceted context, uncovering the crucial role that universities play in their communities. Journey through the reciprocal benefits and navigate the challenges they face. Listeners will gain a unique perspective on the far-reaching impact of community engagement in higher education, highlighting its potential to bring about positive change. Tune in to discover how academic institutions are evolving, becoming catalysts for community growth and social progress, going beyond their traditional role as mere centers of learning. 


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>> I'm Kaprea Johnson and you are listening to the Leadership Podcast, where we delve into the stories, strategies, and insights of experienced leaders, who have successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and empowered to lead with confidence and purpose. Today, we have Dr. Ryan Schmiesing, who is the Senior Vice Provost for External Engagement here at the Ohio State University. Ryan, can you briefly explain your role as the Senior Vice Provost for External Engagement and the relationship with community engagement?

>> Sure, first of all, it's great to be here and I'm thrilled that you invited me to participate. So, my role with External Engagement has four main components. One is I provide overall leadership for our regional campuses, that as you know are open access institutions primarily -- or open access campuses primarily serving undergraduate students, many of which transition here to the Columbus campus at some point, but also stay on the regional campuses for four years, in some cases. And the regional campuses really are anchor institutions in their own right, within our communities in Ohio, and are really, really important to the work we do. I also oversee the Office of Outreach and Engagement, which I'll talk more about here in a minute. International Affairs, which if you think about International Affairs, it's really about external engagement and community engagement because it's about bringing people to campus. It's about supporting research and creative expression and scholarly activities, not only here in central Ohio, but around the world.

So, we're engaging communities all over the globe. And then I oversee the sustainability institute which has a very strong component, being responsive to the community, engaging the community, in terms of its research. Overall, within External Engagement, our goal is to better serve our city, state, region, and country, and the world through our teaching, learning, and research. So, if you think about those things, we are best informed in all of these cases, and many times by our partnership and engagement with the community. However, we define that. That could be a community as in terms of a neighborhood. It could be a community organization. It could be a community of businesses. It could be a community of nonprofits. It could be a community of public service organizations, elected officials, whatever that means, it's our faculty and staff are engaging with those individuals to be inform their work to help them solve the problems that they've identified themselves in their community.

>> Fantastic. Thank you so much for that overview. And I don't thing I knew that, you know, the idea of engagement was that expansive and broad. So, thank you--

>> Yes.

>> -for that.

>> Yes.

>> Could you share some successful examples of community engagement initiatives or projects here at OSU?

>> Yes, that's a great question, and where I'm going to focus it is on some of our regional or national award winners. But I would say first that we have literally hundreds upon hundreds of community engagement initiatives at the very local level of our colleges and units, and centers and institutes that are led by faculty and staff. And they're doing tremendous work with their community partners. We do have a number of initiatives that have been recognized on the regional or national level that I think are exemplars for us. One is the LiFEsports Programs. Our LiFEsports is run out of the College of Social Work, but in partnership with OSU Athletics and a number of other colleges and units, engaging young people in sport, to teach life skills. They were recognized as a Regional Kellogg Foundational Award Winner a few years ago.

Also recognized as a regional winner this year in a Kellogg Competition was the Columbus Free Clinic out of the College of Medicine in partnership with a number of other colleges and units that operates a free clinic here in Central Ohio at Columbus, providing much needed healthcare services to a variety of generally underserved populations in Central Ohio. It's a tremendous program. Generation RX out of the College of Pharmacy, recognized a number of years ago through our engaged scholarship consortium. Generation RX focuses on the proper use of medications. They have a number of partnerships on campus as well, through OSU Extension The 4H Youth Development Program. But just a tremendous program. Community Health Worker Program out of the College of Nursing, recognized as a national award winner. The staff member who leads that, associated faculty member I believe, clinical faculty member in nursing, who leads that program was recognized this year for her work.

And then you have just a host of other things happening, really at the college level that we've been fortunate enough to recognize. College of Medicine, Wexner Medical Center was named a national award winner for their community engagement through one of their national associations a couple years ago. Doing tremendous work on -- in Central Ohio through the PACT Organization and many other initiatives. College of Pharmacy recognized by their national association as the -- an award winning, engaged college. And of course, you have OSU Extension and the many programs that touch so many lives across the state through their program areas of agriculture, natural resources, community development, 4H Youth development, family consumer sciences, and many other things. And they are consistently recognized in their national organizations for their exemplary work. I could go on and on. The important thing for me to recognize is that so many of these initiatives that I commented on, are partnerships not only internally, through -- it may be led by a college or unit, but there's partnerships with others.

Then most importantly is there's mutually beneficial partnerships with the community, because that's what makes them the most impactful, which has led to many of them being recognized within their association or within national organizations or regional organizations.

>> Absolutely. Wow, this is tremendous. There is so much good work happening at OSU, and it seems like they put the community first, which I think is a good kind of format to follow in thinking about community engagement.

>> Right.

>> How do you see the future of community engagement in higher education, and what role should it play in shaping the higher education landscape?

>> So, I think your last comment about putting the community first is really, really important to us. So, we know the narrative and the dialogue around the value of a degree from an institution or university, right? And we've heard a lot of commentary about is it worth it for a young person to go get a four-year degree. Community engagement can help I think, further demonstrate the value of the institution of higher education more broadly to communities and to organizations to help with that overcoming some of that negative narrative that's out there about us. So, first of all, I believe very strongly that community engagement is critical for the future of higher education. We have to be engaged in our communities. We have to be engaged in the neighborhoods that surround us. If we're an Ohio State University that's a Research [inaudible] Land Grant Institution, we have a mandate to engage with the State of Ohio.

So, to me, it's critically important for our future. Just as our research is, just as our teaching undergraduate and graduate and professional students is critical, community engagement's really, really important, I believe for our future. And we have a lot of ways to demonstrate that value. First of all, I think to your earlier point, there has to be mutual benefit to both us as an organization, but more importantly to the community that we're engaged with. And actually, I would argue that the benefit has to tip to the side of the community. So, it's not just about the institution and what research we might do in a community, or what teaching we might do in partnership the community. It is about the community identifying the problems and the issues that they want to solve, and us coming alongside them with knowledge and expertise and resources to help them do that. If we can get that right, it really demonstrates the value of having an institution of higher education, whether it sits here in Columbus, or one of our regional campuses, or across the state.

We have to be honest, I think, in the future with what we're capable of doing and what we're not. While Ohio State is a large, large organization, we can't help solve every problem. We don't have all of the expertise to address every issue that might emerge from the community. So, I think we have to be honest in the future of where can we be involved? Where are our strengths? What are the priorities that we see that match those of the community to help address those? And be honest with the community when we can't, and help them identify resources that maybe can help them. And then as I said, there is this idea that we have to center the voice of the community in all of these conversations. The idea that as an institution, we decide what the problem is, and then we go to you and say, "This is how -- this is what your problem is, and this is how you solve it." That's not going to work in the future. If we can get to the point of coming alongside organizations and communities who have identified the problem, and maybe we have to help with that, but they're leading these, and we're in true partnership, then I think the future's very bright for higher education.

I think it's very bright for community engagement. But if we don't do those things, we're going to continue to struggle with the narrative of, "What is the value of an institution of higher education?"

>> Thank you for that. And you know, that really hits home because I do. I mean, even if you think about just social media, there's so many comments and thoughts, especially coming up from the new people about you know, "Why even bother to go to college?"

>> Yes.

>> And, "What's the point?" But if we're involved and engaged in their community from the beginning and they see us there--

>> That's right.

>> -they might want to think about, you know, going to that university who supported my after-school program. I mean, what a great way to--

>> That's right.

>> -[inaudible] be engaged. All right. What advice do you have for higher education administrators looking to enhance their college or program community engagement efforts?

>> Yes, so some of this goes back to my previous answer to the question, but I can expand on it a little bit here. So, areas that I often talk about when we're talking whether it's with faculty or administrators or others interested in the idea of community engagement, how they grow it, expand upon it, improve it, is one, it takes time. Building relationship with community is time intensive and long in some cases. You don't just walk into a community organization or a neighborhood and say, "I'm going to -- I'm here to do this for you or with you, and let's get started." You have to build trust, and everything moves at the speed of trust. Second of all, I would say that faculty and staff really want to be engaged in this. I don't find people very often, and maybe it's just because of the work I do across the university who aren't interested in it. They want to know how their work can be applied to help solve and address community issues outside the walls of the institution.

So, people want to be engaged in this. There's a continuum. Oftentimes, in my world, we hear about community engagement and people immediately will go to the notion that, "Well, true, real engagement is community member participatory research." So, the community members helping design the research. They're participating in the research. That is a form. But we also have to acknowledge that there's many ways faculty and staff are engaged. That is one method that faculty are engaged. But we also know, they're giving lectures. They're being asked to consult with organizations. They're delivering educational programs. They're doing program assessment. They may be partnering on research. So, recognize there's a continuum of engagement of how somebody could engage. And it's going to look different by discipline. So, don't go in one discipline and say, "Well, we can't do that because that's not how our discipline is." No, you should design community engagement from the perspective of your discipline.

Recognize the work, and I don't mean just through promotion and tenure, although I love to see how we continue to advance and colleges and units recognizing this impactful work. But recognize it in terms of annual performance reviews. Recognize it through awards and formal recognition in colleges and units, because that raises the profile. It demonstrates that we value it. The last thing I would say is we have to be focused, right? It goes back to what I said earlier that we can't be everything to all people, and that as we think about community engagement at a college level, there are going to be programs that you really want to focus on. That's where you want to put your resources, because then you can demonstrate impact. And I would encourage colleges and units to continue to identify areas of strength that they have that they think can then be applied to help partner with community organizations.

>> Exactly. Thank you for that. And the last point, you know, that you made about demonstrating impact, I think that [inaudible] connect to like the promotion and tenure thing, and the review [inaudible] as well, as well as awards. You know, do you have any thoughts on how to demonstrate impact? Do we demonstrate impact on the community we serve? Do we demonstrate impact on the students who were involved on the professor who led everything? You know, I read an autoethnography and it was a professor talking about their community engagement work [inaudible]. And I thought, "Oh, this is -- this is fantastic. I mean, I love kind of hearing this narrative." But then, you know, I wonder right, like was that counted as highly as their other publications? Did they look at it the same way? Was it valued in the same way, because it's from their perspective? But I wonder if you have any thoughts on that?

>> Right, so that's the million-dollar question in a lot of this is, "How do we evaluate engagement, right?" And then how do you recognize it, and then if you think just in the promotion and tenure process. So, if you -- if you look at dossiers of a lot of our faculty who are really engaged in this and are quite successful, you will see their work is being shared through peer review publications, whether it be journals or other outlets, conferences, invited talks, all of those types of things. So, to me that's no different than how we share other work that we're doing. There are highly complex reports completed, studies completed in partnership with organizations that then go on to be peer reviewed. There are ways that you assess programs to demonstrate impact, and then document it. It's actual real change to behavior.

We know here at Ohio State, that colleges and units continue to evolve in terms of recognizing the contributions that a faculty member is having with their community partners. Again, it looks different by discipline, and that's why it's really important for colleges and units to look at their disciplines, how do they carry out engaged scholarship? How do they recognize it? And we see across the country, there's some really good examples of institutions that are providing leadership in this area. We're seeing it at Ohio State. But it's really driven by discipline and that's why I'm hesitant always to say, "This is what it will look like in a dossier," because that's only one example, and there could be many.

>> Great point, yes. I mean, it really does go back into really at the college level really thinking thoroughly about how we will assess and evaluate [inaudible] think about the impact. What does impact mean for our college, or even down to our program?

>> That's right. That's right.

>> Well, as we conclude, can you provide a glimpse into any upcoming community engagement opportunities?

>> Right. So, here at Ohio State, there's a number really, in my mind, exciting things happening that we've been focused on for a number of years. When I came into my previous role in outreach and engagement, I really wanted to do a couple things. One is I wanted to raise the profile of the work of our faculty and staff through our regular newsletter communications, and we have a dynamic one there that we continue to highlight and recognize individuals for their great work. I wanted to raise up the opportunities to recognize formally our faculty and staff, and we've created a number of new -- of Word programs. We're very active supporting faculty and staff. And applications for several national awards. And the third thing I wanted to do was really clarify our grants program and make sure we're supporting the faculty doing impactful work with our community partners. Those things are all going to continue, but there's new things coming on that -- are underway now.

New grant opportunities through International Affairs, Department with Global Gateway. So, we're in the process of evaluating applicants for that. It's a new funding stream that we added this year in partnership with International Affairs, Global Gateways, to really allow faculty to carry out their research efforts in community and in some of those countries. We have an asset mapping project going on that's really going to start looking at, "Where do we have impactful community engagement programs?" We can start to see where they're at. So, we hope sometime in the first or second quarter of next year, to be able to share more about that. You'll see more and more about communities of practice. We're really putting a focus on that. There's one underway in the arts led by Susan Malsoff [phonetic] really bringing people together that have a common interest around the arts, faculty, so they can begin to talk about the challenges and the opportunities both here within the institution and externally.

And we'll see some other communities of practice forming under Jason Reece and Nicole Nieto's [inaudible] work. And we have a faculty fellow working on that. And then hopefully, as we move forward, we're going to see more coordinated grant opportunities. You know, we have a number of grant opportunities to support community engagement that we lead out of outreach and engagement. So, we're trying to make sure [inaudible] and raise up these opportunities with Outreach and Engagement, the Global Arts and Humanities Discover Theme, Sustainability Institute, International Affairs. They all have elements of engagement, community engagement, so we want to make sure that we're sharing those in a way that faculty can see where they best fit. So, those things are coming along in the next quarter to two quarters probably of the calendar year. But, really important for me, and you'll continue to see this, is how are we recognizing from our office the great work that our faculty and staff do?

Because I believe as we do that, from our office, it helps elevate the conversation across the university.

>> Fantastic. And what a nice way to conclude. Thank you again for joining me and discussing this very important topic. If people have questions, additional questions, or thoughts, should they just go directly to the website, or -- what would be best?

>> Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Our website lists all of our leadership within external engagement. If it's around the arts, it's Lisa Florman. If it's community engagement, [inaudible] engagement is Jason Reece. The regional campus, obviously if they're interested and each one of those have a dean. International Affairs, we just welcomed a new Vice Provost, Kaya Sahin. He's very interested in this as well. But you can find all of those things on the website, and we're always interested in faculty, staff, and others reaching out, connecting with us to see how we can best support their work.

>> Fantastic. Well, thank you again for joining us, and have a great rest of your day.

>> Thank you. So nice to be here with you today.

>> The Leadership Podcast is produced by The Ohio State University's Office of Faculty Affairs. For more information, visit us at I'm your host, Kaprea Johnson. Thanks for listening, and we will see you next time. 

Image shows text: Faculty Affairs Leadership Podcast, Episode 6

Episode 6

Leading Change in Higher Education: Strategies, Challenges, and Inspirations

This episode explores change leadership in higher education, with Jennifer Dauer who is the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Our expert guest unravels the complexities, offering invaluable insights into pivotal strategies to lead change. Discover the crucial role played by data analytics and effective communication in navigating and succeeding in change initiatives within educational institutions.



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>> I'm Kaprea Johnson, and you are listening to the Leadership Podcast, where we delve into the stories, strategies, and insights of experienced leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and empowered to lead with confidence and purpose. Hello, and thank you for joining us for another episode of the Leadership Podcast. Today, we have Jennifer Dauer joining us. Jennifer, would you please introduce yourself and share any reaction to this month's topic on leading change within higher education organizations?

>> Well, good morning, and thank you for having me on the podcast. I'm really excited to be with everyone today and very energized about the topic. I think it is critical. First of all, I believe that every single one of us is a leader. And so I hope that this will be relevant for as many of the listeners as possible. But given the dynamics that are going on around us, particularly as they relate to higher education, one's ability to be able to identify what are we trying to do and then effectively lead through that change is critical for us to be able to get from wherever we are, whatever you're working on to whatever that future state is. So I think it's a very exciting, relevant, and very, very timely topic.

>> Absolutely. Jennifer, can you share a bit about your role here at Ohio State?

>> Yes, I am the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at the Wexner Medical Center. So in the context of that role, I have responsibility to work with all of my colleagues to help define and lead our strategic plan for the enterprise at really the highest level, and that is the health system, the College of Medicine, the integrated practice plan, and lay out a vision of where are we going. What is that North Star? Importantly, how are we going to get there? Why are we focused on moving into that future? And then ensuring that, ideally, every single person in the organization understands what they're doing and how what they're doing fits into that. And then you know, obviously, also working at a more unit level. If there is a department, or a division, or even a project where an organization or an individual is looking to determine where do we go and what is their strategic plan. A lot of my work also focuses on transformation, right? What do we do and how do we do it? And with whom do we do it, which then lands myself and the team in a, in the space of partnership, right? As the world evolves and the world changes, I think we need to be very, very thoughtful around what are the things that we should do on our own. And I think that's true of Wexner and the university. And where are the opportunities where we might be able to be even better, right, even faster, even more impactful, most importantly as we think about the future.

>> Fantastic. Thank you for that. What are some common thoughts or strategies for successfully leading change initiatives within higher education organizations?

>> So it's a really good question. I will tell you that I personally believe that the strategies and the principles are consistent between higher education and non-higher education. And that's kind of based upon my background. I did not grow up in higher education. I didn't grow up in health care professionally. I spent the bulk of my first career, I'm at a very large multinational consumer goods company at Procter & Gamble. So that's, you know, where I come from. I think that there are obviously nuances and refinements that are relevant for higher education. But I think what's really important to lead change initiatives, first of all, you know, clarity on where are we going, right? If the -- if the organization or the team doesn't understand where we're going, it's, I think, very difficult to be able to be a part of that change effort. And so from a leader's perspective, I think that that's critical. The second thing is, what's the compelling case for change, right? What's the burning platform? Why do we need to change? Those are both enrollment elements, right? Can I envision the future? Can I enroll people to understand where we're going? Importantly, what's the path to get there, right? There are a lot of ways to get from Cincinnati, Ohio to Cleveland, right? But if I don't know that path, it might take me a lot longer. I might want to take the scenic route. But it's important that the leader understands where we're going and that the rest of the organization, if you will, is also understanding of that. You know, sometimes, I use a car analogy, right? If I'm driving the car, I know exactly where we're going and that's easy. If I'm in the way, way back of the car or the way, way back of the bus, sometimes, I don't know, sometimes it's a little bit disarming. And often, it feels like we're wandering and it takes a very long time. And so how do you lay out that path with clarity in the destination? I think the fourth thing that's important is what are people's roles in that journey, and how do I as a leader or how does someone as a leader make sure that they understand those target audiences and the stakeholders? Who is going to be involved in this change and how might that change affect them? And it may affect different people, different stakeholder groups in different ways. And so how is one sensitive to that and ultimately celebrating and envisioning the benefits of the outcome? So I think that, you know, both in higher education and in non-higher education at a very macro level, those have been the principles that I have used to guide my efforts along the way.

>> Fantastic. And we all spend times here about data analytics or communication playing a role in successfully leading change. Do you have any thoughts on that?

>> I think those are both critical elements of change efforts. I think the data and the data analytics are critical to help to often demonstrate the need or the rationale or the basis for the change. And then communications works together with that along with leadership to provide the narrative, right? So it's one thing to have data, right? Data then often needs to get translated into insights, and those insights need to get translated into actions, and those actions are what will guide and drive the change initiative. I think the other thing that I have seen over the years, be very, very critical, and I think we hear this a lot, is the power and the impact of storytelling, right? Really critical to bringing people along in any change effort. And again, getting back to stakeholders, those stories, those narratives may need to be different for different individuals or different stakeholders. I -- there's an adage that I've used from time to time, which is, you know, this idea of your favorite radio station, which is WIIFM, which is What's In It For Me, right? And in order to get anyone to change, right, whether it is in a higher education initiative or it's in a very personal manner, like, what's the benefit for me, right? What am I gaining? But I think importantly, how can we be empathetic and what am I possibly giving up, or what am I asking an individual or forcing an individual or a part of the organization to give up? And so I think that your question around data analytics and communications in the context of this is spot-on. It's part of the -- it's part of the recipe. It's part of the equation.

>> Fantastic. I can imagine that within your experience in leading change that challenges may have come up from time to time. Are there some common challenges that leaders face when implementing change in higher education? And if so, how can they be overcome?

>> So you know, where do we get stuck or where have I gotten stuck, you know, and been less successful in leading that change and bringing people along? And my thoughts here are fairly similar. They're the opposite of the question that you asked at the very beginning, right? What are the principles of being successful or having a successful effort? The clear, the why, we get stuck when the why isn't clear or it isn't clear to all, right? But I think I can deliver one message, and I've got enough diversity in the audience's and I fail to or one fails to modify that. You know, you want to be as common as possible but as differences needed. So that's often a place that I think that we fail. Second is that the individuals aren't compelled by the need to change or the case for change, right? The leader or the institution thinks that the burning platform is obvious or the burning platform is compelling, and it's not, right? That people are either too entrenched or they aren't convinced, and so they don't come along. I think another barrier sometimes or challenges that there are simply too many other competing priorities. So an individual leading a change initiative, it's the most important thing that they're focused on, but they fail to recognize where does this fit in the context of other things. And so do we, do I as leaders, have we cleared enough space for the organization to be able to engage and come along? And I think the last thing is that individuals or groups can't see themselves inside of whatever it is that we're trying to change, right? They don't understand where they fit in, they don't understand the benefit, or they have real anxiety, and it's meaningful anxiety and practical anxiety around how it could impact them, right? And we don't take time, I think, is the other thing, right? You know, we rush these things, and depending upon the magnitude of the change, they may take more time than one might think, and/or -- you know, if you're the leader and you're at the front of the line of something, and you've led the visioning, and you've laid out the plan, you think you've gotten it clear, right? But you've probably heard it or created it hundreds of times in your own mind, and recognizing that, you know, the people that are coming along are newer to this. And so how do you make sure that you've built a process that has, that is, if you will, moves it as quickly as it needs to and as it can, but only at the pace that the organization can move? You know, the -- I'm a big football fan. And you know, the notion of outrunning your coverage, right? You know, you need to make sure that you've really got things moving along in the way that we can. How do you overcome them? That was the other half of your question. I think you overcome them by thinking about the principles that we talked about in the first answer, right? Being clear, being compelling, having a path that people can understand, they can see themselves in, and that is done in a time manner that is appropriate for the organization and the situation, right? Sometimes, the organization may not feel that it can move at the pace that, you know, you might want to, but if there is a compelling, very real reason, then we need to help people understand that real reason. If that real reason is because I want to move at a certain pace but it isn't credible, then you may end up having a gap.

>> That's fantastic, and it really reminds me of buy-in, the importance of buy-in. And so I'm wondering what advice do you have for higher education leaders looking to build and maintain faculty and staff buy-in and support for change initiatives, especially when there may be resistance to change?

>> You know, I think that that is a very, very good question. And you know, just some thoughts. I think that leaders need to -- leaders need to be authentic, right? And really as best as possible, connect, and connect at the most human level that they can in terms of trying to build credibility and build relationship, right? Change efforts are not -- you know, they may be things, but they occur because people choose to change, right? And human beings are human beings, right? And so how do we build those relationships and understand well enough who we are dealing with and what they may be going through? The second -- and that really ultimately gets to, you know, enrollment. I think a second thing that leaders need to do or hopefully can do to get buy-in is to listen, listen, and listen, right? We were given two ears and one mouth. And as some people say, use them proportionately, right? I think that the, a third thing is to be transparent and credible on what this journey is going to look like. What is the -- what are you asking people for and how are you going to use what they're giving you, right? So sometimes, people ask for input and we aren't clear on how the input is going to be used, and we don't have the conversation on what's the reasonable expectation. So sometimes, people give me input or feedback and they expect I'm going to do what they tell me that I should do. Sometimes that is true, but sometimes that isn't true, or you can't do that, or you're synthesizing diverse viewpoints. And so I think what's very important is that there's an established kind of contract, if you will, or an established understanding between the leader asking for input and feedback and the individuals giving it. I think another thing that has helped with buy-in and support is to talk about shared ownership, right? How do you enroll people and make them a part of the process, right? And they understand with clarity and transparency what that's going to be. And I think the last thing, and these aren't necessarily in any order, is I have found that I get better buy-in and I get clearer support when the -- when the platform is clear and the degree of urgency or compellingness is also very clear. So just a handful of thoughts around your question regarding buy-in and support.

>> It's really helpful. Thank you. I really -- I really appreciate that caveat of maybe having, like, a little contract and telling people what I'm actually going to do with this feedback that they provide, the idea of thinking of feedback as I also have to take multiple, you know, pieces of feedback from different people and synthesize this, so it may not be your exact recommendation. But I think providing that additional layer of clarity is really helpful in the process for the people who are giving their time to provide feedback. I mean, I know there's been many times when I've been asked for feedback, and I'm like, "I wonder what happens to that feedback." I've never heard anything else about it, or I've never seen like a report about it. Sounds interesting to me.

>> To just quick builds upon what you've just said, and I think this is true whether it's a change management effort or it's even a work performance effort, right? I think we do best when expectations are clear, right? And so how do you set those expectations and dialogue around them up front if needed? This is what's going to happen. I think the last thing is to continue to have transparency and understanding of what is the process, and what's going on, and where are we? And I was just having a conversation, literally, the meeting right before I jumped on to do the podcast with you on this very issue, right? We've got some macro efforts that are going on. We're going to ask people for their input up front. We want to continue to engage with them, but what else should we be doing along the way so that, you know, it doesn't feel like I gave you, you gave me your feedback and I'm going to pop out of the cake nine months later, right? So I think that that's a part of it.

>> Absolutely. And that really helps me lead into my next question. I'm really curious about, you know, really great examples or case studies of change management in higher education that you find particularly inspiring or instructive for other leaders in the field.

>> Case studies or examples from higher education? You know, probably the one that pops to mind for me, and this is more -- I've observed it than I would necessarily say I've led it. But when I look at what has gone on or what is going on around the shift in online, how is education delivered, right? So traditional four-year or graduate kind of education, terminal degrees, someone comes onto a campus, they are here with us for a period of time, and this is how higher education has happened. You know, if you look at the dynamic shifts of the development and explosion around online education, right, and/or how do degrees get granted, right? How does knowledge get developed of certificates or stacking degrees? Those to me are two pretty significant examples of change initiatives where, you know, if I think about it from the student's perspective, how do I consider that, right? From an employer's perspective, what does that mean? But importantly, from the institution of higher education, what does that mean? I have been in -- I have done higher education and delivered it in a certain manner, but the world is shifting. And so what does that mean across all of those vectors? Ultimately, the university still needs to be able to provide and demonstrate a compelling value proposition, right? And what did that used to be, you know, when I went to university many years ago? But what does that look like today for a student, for whoever is funding that education, and importantly, for an employer? I think the other thing that's interesting that's going on right now as the -- as the workforce challenges emerge and the world changes and new capabilities are required, how do companies think about acquiring those talents and those skills? How do universities work together with the outside world to think about, you know, if you will, higher education initiatives for the future, right, so that the graduates of those institutions are, if you will, maximally job ready and able to be as fully qualified. And I think the world of the future is different than the world of the past, and what does that look like? So those are just some things that, when I think about higher education change initiatives, that do come to mind. Obviously, there's a whole another part of this, and there are probably many other parts that OAA is dealing with, right? What makes for a compelling environment of higher education from a faculty perspective, right? You know, what has been the relationship and expectation of a faculty member? And you know, is that proposition the same today as it was in the past? What will it need to be in the future? So you know, some things from where I sit and the experiences that I would have that strike me as meaningful, significant change initiatives. And I think many of those, as I observe what Provost Gilliam and others in OAA are doing, you know, it appears to me that people are thinking long and hard about these issues, and we're going to need to continue to do so to ensure that we can continue to be -- and accelerate our position as the most exceptional institution of higher education and learning.

>> Absolutely. Thank you so much for that. And then as we conclude, can you share maybe one to two helpful tips or strategies that our listeners might be able to use within their teams?

>> So as I think about this, there are probably three to five, so I'll give you those. So you could decide -- the audience can decide which of the one or two they find most compelling. I think the first thing is you need to know your audience, right, good and challenging, right? Not everybody will be excited about what it is you want to change, but, you know, only surrounding yourself with the people that agree with you will probably sub-optimize your ability to be successful. So that's one. Two, I think you need to be clear and concise on where are you, we going, and why are we going there. And before you begin to start to run, understand how compelling are you, how clear are you. The third thing is to provide an inspiring and realistic vision for the path to get to the destination, right? Is this a 10-year journey? Is this a 12-month journey? What is it and why is that? So that, you know, sometimes, people can be very, very visionary but they are unable to execute. And so I think that balancing those two aspects is critical. Make sure that people are clear on their role or roles in the journey, right, and that they are energized by it, and that they can see their roles in it. And I think the last thing is to make sure that the benefits of the outcome are well defined and that they can be marked and measured along the way. And so those are the kind of the five things as I think about the questions that you've asked, the -- I don't know, that I would necessarily say that the keys to success, but certainly the strategies that for me have, you know, enabled more successful outcomes than less successful outcomes over my, you know, almost nearly 40 years of trying to do this in different industries in my career.

>> Jennifer, I thank you so much for all of these wonderful nuggets of information. I found that for me, it's been very helpful and I know that audience will very much appreciate all of these tips. I hope you have a great day, and thank you again for joining us.

>> Thank you for the opportunity for being with you today. I appreciate the time.

>> The Leadership Podcast is produced by the Ohio State University's Office of Faculty Affairs. For more information, visit us at I'm your host, Kaprea Johnson. Thanks for listening, and we will see you next time.

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Image shows text: Faculty Affairs Leadership Podcast, Episode 7

Episode 7

Breaking Boundaries: Inclusive Leadership in Academia

Join us as we take a deep dive into why inclusive leadership is not only essential but transformative in the academic realm. In this thought-provoking episode, Dr. Wendy Smooth shines a light on the significance of inclusive leadership within the teams of educational institutions, unraveling the impact it has on campus life, research, and learning. By the end of the episode, listeners will have a better understanding of the imperative of inclusive leadership, best practices, and discover practical steps that can be taken to foster inclusivity.



>> I'm Kaprea Johnson, and you are listening to the Leadership Podcast, where we delve into the stories, strategies, and insights of experienced leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and empowered to lead with confidence and purpose. Good morning, Dr. Smooth. Thank you for being our guest speaker this week and for sharing your expertise with inclusive leadership and academia. If you wouldn't mind, please, introducing yourself and sharing a little bit about what inclusive leadership means in the context of educational institutions.

>> Sure. Thank you so much for having me. I'm Wendy Smooth, the senior vice provost for Inclusive Excellence here at the Ohio State University. And when I think about the notion of inclusive leadership and academia, it really means making a space where all faculty, staff, and students have what they need to be successful in their pursuits of excellence. As an academic institution, we have a responsibility to bring forth the talent of all of our learners, our practitioners, our researchers, scholars. And that work happens only when you are intentional in what you're doing and intentional in your pursuits. And what I mean by intentional is that we don't bring in people from all around the world with all different backgrounds and just assume that, hey, we're going to all get together and everyone is going to do their best and we're just going to be fine.

Instead, it takes thoughtful leadership to bring people together in such a way that you're able to maximize their talents, maximize their ways of presenting their talents, and to frankly be able to recognize when there are opportunities to build greater platforms for inclusion. Inclusive leaders are ones that are humble in their listening to their organization. And what I mean by "humble in their listening" is not presuming that they know, but really asking the questions and then asking the question, which is one of my absolute favorite questions: Who is missing here? So when you're thinking about the solving of a problem, putting together a working group, a lab, a committee, a new research endeavor, always asking: Who is missing here?

What perspective is missing? When you're asking that question, you're coming from a space of humility in the sense that you don't make the assumption that you already know the thing that you're working towards. Rather than entering into the opportunity to learn from those around you. Inclusive leaders are always asking, "How can I make this better? Who is missing? What perspectives should be included here? Are there aspects to the question, to this endeavor that are not present?" And it's that constant search for who is missing, what perspectives are missing that really become the strength of the basis of inclusive leadership.

>> I like that. Being intentional, but also, you know, not just inviting any and everyone, because obviously, you want everyone to kind of have a seat at the table, but you also have to be kind of strategic, and, like you said, kind of thinking about who is missing, what do we need, and things of that nature. So in your experience, what are some challenges that academic leaders face when trying to implement inclusive leadership practices? And how can they kind of overcome these obstacles?

>> Sure. So a few common challenges that I will note and one I alluded to in the opening is this idea that you already know what you're looking for, rather than coming into a space with a sense of radical curiosity, right? And so, oftentimes, we will say -- I'll give the example of -- we are doing faculty searches for new faculty talent, and say you're doing a senior leadership search or senior faculty search. There's this thought that often happens for leaders, is that you know the field. I've been in the field for 10 years, 15 years. I know this field. I know everyone who's publishing in this field.

And it's a real kind of marker of the ways in which we understand our own command of our subject areas. It's a marker of how we have stayed current, we think, in the research. And when we approach searches in that way, I know the field. It's really easy to miss those up-and-coming scholars who are asking questions that, for all intents and purposes, are questions on the margins, but questions that have the potential to catapult a field in a different direction. Being an inclusive leader requires you not only to be curious but also to be a risk-taker because you are not satisfied with the known commodity, that you are interested in what else is possible, and that curiosity can sometimes take you in very different directions and oftentimes allow you to make discoveries of scholarship that you were not aware or approaches.

I won't say scholarship that you're unaware of. But it will make you look at scholarship in new ways, which can create new openings and new ways of seeing things, which is incredibly important in the academy in particular because we are an enterprise that is chasing innovations, chasing new ways of thinking. And in order to do that, we've got to take risk and not have those assumptions that we know, but that we're seeking is a different way of thinking about the question.

>> Nice. I like that, radical curiosity and then also taking risk. Something to think about. So you kind of touched, you know, on best practices or strategies that we can use, but are there any specific best practices or strategies that academic institutions or leaders should consider when advancing inclusivity in higher education?

>> That's a really great question. So, one, I would say, is thinking critically about the diversity of ways that talents and gifts are distributed and valued. And what I mean by that is that when we're open to a variety of gifts, experiences, and talents, they may not present in cookie-cutter ways that mirror our own experiences, talents, and ways of knowing and ways of doing. When we get into the pitfall of searching out and valuing only those who are most like ourselves, those that present in familiar ways that allow us to see that glimmer of ourselves, or I like to call it the search for mini-me, right?

How can I find that scholar, that graduate student, that undergraduate student who so reminds me of myself when I was at that point? We're really closing what it means to show up in a space. When we're looking for those that are bringing a different way of executing on questions or executing on ways of collecting information or new trajectories or lines of questioning in their research, that is the moment when we really have an opportunity to craft new knowledges and new ways of thinking. And that's what our business is in the academy, is discovery and learning new ways and thinking of new ways of doing things.

When we create and we seek out mini-me, we're replicating what already exists. And really we create -- we create a space of limitation as opposed to a space of wide-open opportunity. But again, that comes back to the risk-taking, because if we have never seen it before, we didn't think it could be done that way. We weren't taught that way. It's very challenging when we're thinking about how to evaluate the thing or evaluate the gift or evaluate the talent. So it does take, again, some risk tolerance, a level of risk tolerance in order to be open to the ways in which gifts manifest differently. But in academia, that's the that's the enterprise.

That's what we do.

>> Yeah. Sounds like stepping out of the box and kind of also out of our comfort zone in a way and kind of stepping outside of looking for someone, you know, a mini me, as you kind of said earlier. All right. So in your opinion, what is the future of inclusive leadership in academia? What changes or trends do you foresee in the coming years?

>> Sure. So at the core -- at the core of the work that we do around inclusive leadership sits the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. And we're at a moment in the academy and beyond where those terms, that set of the work that we imagine that happens in that space is under attack from a number of different forces in the sense of a narrow read that says that that work is about exclusion or limitation. One of the biggest challenges that I see ahead for inclusive leaders is how to adequately explain the work that we do.

What does it mean to build diverse environments where everyone can thrive? What does it mean to bring voices into our enterprise, but bring them into the enterprise in an equitable way? What are the benefits of bringing people in? That's the access question. But also to treat them equitably once they are here, understanding what it means to create an equitable environment and building an equitable environment. And this is going to be, I think, one of our biggest challenges in moving forward, is the understanding that building an equitable environment benefits everyone, and that it does not take away from some groups in order for everyone to have a space at the table. That is going to be one of the biggest challenges in this moment where so much of the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion is so misunderstood, that there is a need for greater clarity.

And I actually put that at the feet of those who are practitioners in the field to offer greater clarity around the work that they do. And of course, that argument that everyone benefits when we create spaces where we have diverse groups of people come together in equitable ways to innovate, and that we all go a little bit further in our pursuits.

>> I like that. Making a room or space for everyone at the table and not kind of excluding others, which sounds like that is kind of the thought of some folks when it comes to DEI. Sounds like you're very, you know, passionate and knowledgeable about this area. So are there any resources or books that you would recommend to our listeners who want to kind of further explore this topic of inclusive leadership in academia after listening to this podcast episode?

>> Oh, sure. I'm an academic, so I've always got books and resources to think about. One is a -- essays that are of -- an anthology. And the title is "Presumed Incompetent." And when I get to that -- when I was talking through those points about building humility -- building humility and understanding difference, you've got to first listen to the experiences of others and to understand the ways in which existing systems have created barriers for success, created barriers for the ways in which people are able to bring their talents, gifts, and treasures to our learning spaces. So I would recommend that book "Presumed Incompetent." Actually two-part series, as I was saying, the intersection of race and class for women in academia.

And I would say it's for everyone [inaudible]. The other book that I would highly recommend for those who are interested in how do you build a more inclusive learning space across the academy. It's a book called "An Inclusive Academy: Achieving Diversity Excellence." And that's one of my absolute favorite kind of how to [inaudible] one to be very philosophical about why we value the work. But what's the nuts and bolts of really attempting to build a more inclusive learning environment? Then the last thing I would offer is that the work of building an inclusive academy, or being an inclusive leader, is work that is open to everyone in the academy. Here at the Ohio State University, we actually have some really great resources to assist people who are interested in figuring out how they might better use their voices to build more inclusive spaces.

And one really great program through the Women's Place here at OSU is called Kids and Allies. And that's a space where those who don't even imagine themselves necessarily as leaders can understand the strengths that they can bring and the opportunities that they might build to create a more inclusive environment around them. So it focuses on those who may be perceived as having greater privilege in a learning environment, so it actually focuses a lot on men in academic spaces where there are fewer women. And it asks and it challenges men to think about their own positionality. And it also urges them to think about how do they make space for others and how do they become not just an aware bystander, but an active bystander in conversations and small interactions.

And those are the ways in which we begin to build a foundation for ways to become a much more inclusive university and much more [inaudible]. So those are my three resources.

>> Thank you. And those are some good resources. I'm going to have to look into those two books you mentioned, and that program through the Women's Place sounds definitely really interesting, too. So you've kind of already given us a wealth of knowledge and a lot of tips and tricks. But before we kind of wrap up this episode, do you have maybe three to five important points that you would kind of like to summarize and kind of leave our listeners with?

>> Sure. Be curious. Make space for others. And take risk.

>> Those are good. Those are good. The Leadership Podcast is produced by the Ohio State University's Office of Faculty Affairs. For more information, visit us at I'm your host, Kaprea Johnson. Thanks for listening, and we will see you next time.