The students and affiliated faculty of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies are excited to share our July newsletter highlighting our accomplishments and progress. We hope you take the time to stay up to date with our program, and if you have feedback, please let us know.

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College of Education, Department of Leadership Studies

The PhD in Leadership (LEAD) program prepares scholar leaders to research and act for the common good. Recognizing that complex challenges require an integration of responsible leaders from various community sectors, program graduates will transform education, government, and nonprofit organizations to strengthen human and community capabilities.


The LEAD program currently consists of five cohorts with 53 students. Ten students are in dissertation, 20 in qualifying paper, and 23 in coursework including the new cohort starting this fall. 
Collectively, our students gave 21 presentations at professional and academic conferences in the last year. These presentations spanned nine states and one international locale--Barcelona, Spain for the annual International Leadership Association conference. Students presented various topics throughout the year including research focused on health and well-being, student success, global nonprofit leadership, civil discourse, student success, occupational therapy, and other areas aimed at uplifting quality of life. Thank you and congratulations to all students, faculty, and community partners who made this a great year!
  • Presentations: 21
  • Publications: 2
  • Credit Hours: 405
  • Graduates: 9 this year, 13 overall
Diane Wolfe became the High School Principal for St. Joseph Catholic Schools in Conway. Diane started on July 5 and says this about her new position, "I certainly recognize the importance of leadership in Catholic education and am excited about promoting leadership within the student population. It is a real honor to be part of the St. Joseph Catholic School community."

Mariama Laouali Balla had her third child, a son Ramine, while writing her dissertation. We are very happy for you and your family.

Two of our 2014 alums secured new employment in the last year. Dr. Wesley Alford is now the Senior Organizational Development Consultant at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 
 and Dr. Hunter Goodman is the Executive Director of Fitz Center for Leadership in Community at the University of Dayton. We are very proud of our graduates!

Deepak Chopra's latest book, Super Genes, tells how lifestyle shifts can help you reboot your health at a genetic level.

DIET- Eat mindfully. Eat only when you're genuinely hungry and stop when you are full.

STRESSLeave work on time at least three times a week and don't bring work home. Leave the office at the office.

EXERCISEThe secret to exercise is this: keep going and don't stop.

MEDITATION- Take 10 minutes out of your lunch break to sit alone with eyes closed, preferably outside in nature.

SLEEPMake your bedroom as dark as possible. If total darkness is impossible, wear a sleep mask.

EMOTIONS- Write down five specific things that make you happy and, on a daily basis, do at least one of them.

Deepak Chopra's latest book, Super Genes, explains how lifestyle shifts can help us reboot our health at a genetic level.

Emily Lane is a native Arkansan whose research and advocacy focuses on environmental justice, public health, community arts, and leadership development.  She received a MFA in Digital Filmmaking from UCA in 2010 and has been making socially-conscious films ever since.  Her films have screened in China, Belgium, Peru, and several states across the US.  

An interview with Emily was featured recently in Arkansas Business, and she also was featured in two televised interviews this month with local news affiliates--each related to her advocacy work in the Fayetteville Shale natural gas play in central Arkansas.  

Emily says this of her experience in the LEAD program, "LEAD has pushed my limits and shown me the ways in which I must challenge myself to improve my thinking, my work ethic, my health and overall worldview, all of which will help me bring about positive and sustainable changes to my beloved home state."

Dr. Stephen O’Connell is an Assistant Professor of Geography with a broad interest in the advancement of geographic thinking and spatial analysis. His affiliation with the LEAD program began with a comprehensive evaluation of the park facilities for the City of Conway where he assisted students in a GIS (geographic information systems) analysis of recreation asset distribution. He has taught a lab-based course on the use of GIS as a research tool and worked with several students on developing spatial components for their research. Dr. O’Connell reflects, "I enjoy every opportunity to promote the use of GIS in research and see it as great value in the diversity of spatial topics being tackled by LEAD students. I've worked with students across a spectrum of research themes, including environmental justice, education disparities, and community demographics."
Dr. Denise Demers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences recently presented "New Faces on the College Campus: Stress and the Nontraditional Student" at the Annual meeting for the American College Health Association (ACHA) in San Francisco, California. According to Dr. Demers, "The research documents the lives of 13 mothers who are going to school. It specifically looks at how they balance the multiple demands of motherhood, family, school, life, etc. Many people do not know this, but mothers are the fastest growing population on colleges campuses now. Some of the stresses that they feel are from finances, lack of time and sleep, guilt, and having an identity crisis of who they are now."

The purpose of the presentation at ACHA was to provide ideas for what can be done on college campuses to accommodate this population better. Dr. Demers stated, "The research didn't necessarily find out what can be done, but we spent a considerable amount of time during the presentation discussing strategies each participant HAS done, would like to do, etc."
Do you want to know how to be successful in graduate school, tips for finding and keeping a mentor, the best places to study, where to exercise, and who serves great food?  If so, please join us for the UCA Graduate School Orientation on August 15, 2016, from 3-6 p.m. in Torreyson West, room 320. All new graduate students are invited to join us for great information, door prizes, fun activities, and refreshments. 
Registration is required. Please call: (501) 450-3124 – or email to save your spot!
The 4th annual Ready to Run Arkansas campaign training for women will take place on August 5-7, 2016 at the Rockefeller Institute at Petit Jean. For more information on attending or sponsoring: campaign website

You are invited to attend the 30th Annual Celebration Luncheon! The event will take place on Thursday, August 4 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Keynote Speaker Ted Abernathy will present “Disruptive Technology and its Impact on Workforce Development.”
To purchase your 30th Annual Celebration Luncheon ticket or table: CDI Luncheon Registration.

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