March 24, 2021

Spring SEC Virtual Forum Highlights Lessons Learned During COVID-19 Pandemic

By: SEC Staff
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

Birmingham, Ala. (March 24, 2021) – The second SEC Academic Leadership Development Program virtual forum, entitled “Lessons Learned during a Pandemic about the Academy,” drew nearly 100 former fellows and current liaisons, including several fellows who have taken leadership positions outside of the Southeastern Conference. Each SEC ALDP cohort since 2008-2009 was represented, and most fellows reported currently serving as either associate deans or department chairs or department heads.

The forum, conducted for the first time in November 2020, is designed to provide a continuing educational opportunity for individuals who have completed the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program (SEC ALDP), regardless of their current role.

The spring session featured panelists from across the SEC discussing crisis management and human resilience; the capacity of faculty, staff and administrators to work remotely; and how virtual instruction can appeal to a changing marketplace.

Dr. Bill Tate, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of South Carolina, explained how he and his university approached the COVID-19 pandemic in a three-pronged, “SEC” way that relied on science, education and communication.

“One lesson learned is we must tap into faculty expertise before we are in a crisis,” Tate said. “We could not have done our jobs this year without the faculty experts, and that is something we can build upon for the future.”

In addition to Dr. Tate, members of the forum panel included Dr. Erika Chambers, Director of Employee Engagement and Work Life at the University of Kentucky; Dr. Rahul Shrivastav, Vice President for Instruction at the University of Georgia; and Gary Ward, Vice Chancellor for Operations and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Missouri. Dr. Matthew Martens, Senior Vice Provost at Missouri and chair of the SEC ALDP, served as moderator.

During the live, interactive session the panelists gave brief presentations about how their unit is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and how lessons learned could be applied in the future. The forum also included a live question and answer opportunity between participants and the panelists.

The 13-year-old SEC Academic Leadership Development Program seeks to identify, prepare and advance academic leaders for roles within SEC institutions and beyond. It has three components, a university-level development program designed by each institution for its own fellows; two SEC-wide three-day workshops held on specified campuses for all program participants; and a competitive fellowship designed to provide administrative growth opportunities for former fellows.

It is one of several SEC academic endeavors designed to support the teaching, research, service and economic development goals of the Conference’s 14 member universities.