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College of Agriculture employees participate in leadership program

Published: 03/13/2014 1:54PM
By: booner

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Dr. Erika Styles (left), a Fort Valley State University assistant professor of agricultural economics and Terrence Wolfork, FVSU’s assistant administrator for communications, conferencing and technology participated in the Lead21 professional development program.

An elite leadership program selected two Fort Valley State University employees to join its ranks.

Dr. Erika Styles, assistant professor of agricultural economics and Terrence Wolfork, assistant administrator for communications, conferencing and technology, participated in Lead21, a program that focuses on developing leaders at land-grant universities.

To be selected for Lead21, Styles and Wolfork submitted an application and 500 word essay to the Lead21 board stating their goals and reasons for wanting to participate. They are among more than 70 participants.

As participants of Lead21, Styles and Wolfork attended three one -week sessions in Minneapolis, Kansas City and Washington, D.C. During the sessions, they utilized a self-evaluation process to measure leadership potential. They also attended seminars that concentrated on professional development and learned from peers through group activities.

“Participation in Lead21 will aid me in executing my goal of becoming an effective administrator at a land-grant university,” Styles said. The assistant professor said she was inspired to participate in the program because of the challenges some land- grant universities are facing such as budget cuts and elimination. “Thus, it is imperative for land-grant institutions to identify and cultivate future leaders to handle these obstacles while supporting the land-grant mission,” Styles said. Styles also received a $5,000 scholarship from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to partially cover the cost of tuition for Lead21.

Wolfork said Lead21 will make him a more efficient employee at FVSU. He said the weeklong sessions greatly enhanced his leadership skills which have increased his knowledge concerning individual, team and organizational behavior and motivation.

“I believe that to be a good leader, one must always engage in life-long development through either informal or formal processes. Lead21 has taught me how to know myself and to be able to understand differences in individual and team dynamics,” Wolfork said.

Lead21 was created in 2004. Wolfork and Styles are two of six FVSU employees to participate in the leadership program.