Skip to main content

JSU Advance

Leadership Component

The leadership component of JSU ADVANCE was designed for the training of female administrators in preparation for advancement to upper administration and female faculty interested in becoming administrators.

In male dominated disciplines, male faculty may have greater opportunities to receive informal mentoring and support as they seek to move into administration, or move into upper administration. The purpose of the leadership component was to structure leadership opportunities to provide faculty release time so that as a JSU ADVANCE fellow, female faculty members could spend a semester working in an upper administrative office at JSU, learning and being mentored.

Leadership mentoring relationships were specifically designed for STEM-SBS women who are administrators seeking to advance into upper administration, or full professor female STEM-SBS faculty seeking to advance into administration at all levels.


  • Goals:
  • • To provide leadership development opportunities for STEM-SBS female faculty and administrators
  • • To increase the number of female administrators with STEM-SBS backgrounds


  • Objectives:
  • • To promote 6-month leadership sabbaticals for female faculty to learn from and be mentored by an upper administrator
  • • To increase leadership knowledge and skills in the participants
  • • To provide an opportunity for upper male and female administrators to be exposed to STEM-SBS female faculty as mentees in order to develop coaches and advocates for the faculty members


  • Activities:
  • • Academic Leadership Sabbatical Program
  • • NSF-sponsored Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Academic Leadership Opportunities for UnderRepresented Scholars (OURS) initiative designed to prepare STEM women faculty and administrators at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • • American Council on Education (ACE) Leadership Academy for Department Chairs and National Leadership Forum for Women Administrators
  • • Joint hosting of the Women in Higher Education Mississippi Network (WHEMN) Conference for 2016 and 2017
  • • Informal Mentoring and Coaching


  • Outcomes
    • Academic Leadership Sabbatical Program:
    • Targeted to women faculty, the JSU ADVANCE Leadership Program took the form of an administrative sabbatical where a female faculty member could work in a visible and key office in JSU’s upper administration. The sabbatical program was implemented during the 2012-2013 academic year. One candidate accepted the appointment and worked in the Dean’s Office.
    • Post-Graduate Certificate Program:
    • In 2015, two STEM female faculty members completed the one-year program through the NSF-funded Opportunities for Underrepresented Scholars (OURS) program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology Academic Leadership Post Graduate Certificate Program. Both participants have since been promoted to Full Professor and are now prepared to move into leadership positions.
    • ACE Leadership Programs:
    • JSU ADVANCE organized the participation of five department chairs to attend the ACE Leadership Academy in Washington, DC on July 29 -30, 2015. These included both male and female STEM-SBS Chairs. Upon return to campus, the chairs presented lessons learned to other department chairs and faculty in a special session of the Faculty Brown Bag Lecture Series hosted by the Center for University Scholars in Fall 2015. In 2012, the PI was invited to participate in ACE’s National Leadership Forum for Women Administrators organized by the Inclusive Excellence Group of ACE.
    • Women in Higher Education Mississippi Network:
    • The Mission of WHEMN is “to identify, develop, advance and support women in higher education in Mississippi. To this end, WHEMN is dedicated to promoting and supporting women’s leadership in higher education, facilitating networking of women in higher education, assisting in career development and mentoring women in higher education, and enhancing the visibility of women in administrators on Mississippi’s campuses.”
    • in 2013 JSU’s President and Co-PI, a member of WHEMN’s President’s Advisory Council, was a guest panellist along with three other female Mississippi college presidents, in a session entitled “Presidential Perspectives” at the WHEMN conference. In recognition of the work of the ADVANCE program and its support of preparing future women leaders, the ADVANCE PI was the recipient of the Women in Higher Education Mississippi Network Leadership Award for 2013. Subsequently, JSU was asked to serve as the State Coordinator and sponsor the State-wide WHEMN conference in 2016 and 2017 which focuses on women’s leadership in higher education. Over 200 participants each year were exposed to the leadership development opportunity. JSU ADVANCE served as a co-sponsor and supported the participation of all STEM-SBS women faculty on JSU’s campus. JSU ADVANCE also used this platform as an opportunity to showcase STEM women leadership talent from JSU and throughout Mississippi.
    • Leadership Recognition through External Awards:
    • Several of our STEM Leaders were recognized externally, the PI for her work with ADVANCE was featured in the September 2015 STEM edition of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as having received the “Inspiring Women in STEM Award.” The former JSU President and ADVANCE co-PI was recognized with the INSIGHT Into Diversity Presidents and Chancellors Giving Back Award in 2016. JSU’s former President and JSU ADVANCE’s Co-PI, an engineer, was recognized with many awards throughout her tenure.
    • Career Advancement:
    • JSU ADVANCE was supported by each President of JSU during their tenure. The 9th President of Jackson State University, former President Ronald Mason, who served from 2000 to 2010, served as co-PI during his administration. The 10th President of Jackson State University, former President Carolyn Meyers, who had a STEM background, served as co-PI during her administration from 2010 to 2016. Interim President Rod Paige was also engaged and supportive during his term. The 11th President of JSU, President William Bynum took office in the concluding parts of the grant.
    • Under the leadership of the 10th President of Jackson State University and JSU ADVANCE co-PI, eight females were promoted to the President’s Cabinet to positions including Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Research, Vice President for Information Technology, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Vice President for Institutional Advancement (Interim), Vice President for Business and Finance (Interim), Athletics Director, and Special Assistant to the President. Two of these females have STEM backgrounds. At times, this represented over 50% of the Cabinet (typically of 12 members), a very historical point for the University. Additionally, females were hired into other positions such as Dean and Chair. Within the College of Science Engineering and Technology and the College of Liberal Arts where the Social and Behavioral Disciplines are housed, the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Sciences saw its first female Chair. The Computer Science Department selected a female as Interim Chair, and the Department of Biology selected a female as Associate Chair. Females were also appointed to Chair the Department of Political Science, the Department of Psychology, and the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.


• Many STEM-SBS female faculty were concerned with stepping away from their research and teaching for the one-semester Leadership Sabbatical. Because there was no guarantee of permanent placement, there was not a lot of interest in the sabbatical program.
• Leadership training is important prior to participating in a formal leadership position or sabbatical. The NSF-funded OURS program provided an excellent intensive online-blended program. Other excellent opportunities for leadership development were provided by the ACE Leadership Academy and other programs.
• Informal Mentoring and Coaching by female and male Administrators are both important, especially for females with the skills and preparation to move into academic leadership positions but who might not have been previously recognized as potential leaders.
• Institutions should consider women and men outside of STEM-SBS and even outside Academia when looking to build a community advocating for greater representation of women in Leadership positions. The Women in Higher Education Mississippi Network (WHEMN) was an excellent opportunity for Leadership training for women across the State of Mississippi both faculty and staff. Through this conference emerged support for women in leadership from private and public institutions and for profit and not-for-profit organizations.

JSU Advance


1400 John R. Lynch Street
Student Center
Jackson, MS 39217-0280

Phone: 601.979.2241