The students and affiliated faculty of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies are excited to share our June 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 four cohorts, with 39 students. Ten students are in dissertation, 21 in qualifying paper, and 8 in coursework. 

Affiliated faculty and students are busy designing a holistic orientation process for our incoming students--Cohort 2016.  To aid the new cohort in the PhD journey, we want to focus on the importance of health and well-being--a multidimensional construct--and to provide strategies that enhance well-being.  We feel that personal resilience, self-care, and overall health are cornerstones of student success.  Students will also be mentored throughout their tenure in the program as well as encouraged to participate in regular activities that promote health and well-being.  We welcome you to enhance your own well-being as you follow the activities and research of our awesome students!


Students and faculty in the LEAD program are engaged in a multi-year qualitative research study focused on health and well-being in the Delta. The project is a partnership with the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission (ATSC). Our qualitative study will act as a supplementary report to the biennial evaluation of ATSC health programs. We are nearing the final stage of the process and have presented findings to project evaluators and ATSC administrators. Our study will be published in ATSC's biennial evaluation report and will be available online later this summer. The study will be presented to and published for state legislators. 

Congratulations to LEAD representatives who have worked hard to produce quality research that informs well-being in the Arkansas Delta and promotes cross-sector leadership to address complex health challenges. Students will also have the opportunity to present their findings this fall in Atlanta at the annual International Leadership Association conference. 


Congratulations to the 6 students, 3 alum and 1 faculty member who were accepted for presentation at ILA this year. The conference will be held November 2-5 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The 2017 AERA Annual Meeting will be held Thursday, April 27 – Monday, May 1 in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s Annual Meeting Theme is: "Knowledge to Action: Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity." Submissions are now being accepted. The deadline to submit a paper is July 22, 2016. For more information, please visit AERA's website

Originally from Niger, West Africa, Mariama Laouali Balla holds a master’s degree in health sciences and a bachelor’s degree in health education, both from the University of Central Arkansas. She also holds a post–baccalaureate degree in Public Health from UAMS College of Public Health. Mariama has over five years of experience working at UAMS Clinical Laboratory where she collaborates with agency staff for the planning, development, and evaluation of specific projects. Mariama has also taken the opportunity to gain experience with NGOs and has been an active member of the Full Belly Project, a nonprofit organization that designs and delivers simple agricultural machines to people in developing countries around the world. The experiences that Mariama has gained in her community, in college, and in her workplace have been keys in her personal and professional development.

Mariama enjoys that the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies has provided her with unique opportunities to identify and understand the complex strategy involved in successfully leading change. She stated, "One of the things I enjoy the most about the program is having the opportunity to attend conferences through which I get to explore and discuss ideas on how to address today’s challenges with a network of global peers. I cannot take that for granted!"

Dr. Amy Hawkins has taught communication and public relations courses at the University of Central Arkansas since 1999. She is also currently the Director of UCA’s Center for Teaching Excellence. She served as Interim Director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at UCA during its inaugural year and continues to serve as a faculty member, teaching and mentoring doctoral students in leadership studies. 
Her favorite part of teaching LEAD students is working with a diverse group of mid-career professionals who share her passion to use our leadership powers for the common good. 

Alumni and friends are invited to attend the 30th Annual Celebration Luncheon to celebrate 30 years of CDI’s impact on alumni and their communities! 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.” The event will be held at McCastlain Hall on UCA’s campus and lunch will be served.
Individual tickets are $20 and a sponsored table can be purchased at $200. Purchase of a ticket includes the opportunity to audit a CDI course free of charge on Thursday, August 4. A limited number of seats to audit classes are available. To purchase your 30th Annual Celebration Luncheon ticket or table: CDI Luncheon Registration.

To make your summer a success, focus on cultivating your well-being. Enjoy yourself.
"Well-being cannot exist just in your own head. Well-being is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment."- Martin Seligman
Copyright © 2016 University of Central Arkansas, All rights reserved.

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