Skip to main content

Faculty and Staff Success

Faculty and Staff Success

The University of Missouri System is firmly committed to the success of our faculty and staff. In September 2018, President Choi allocated $7.5M of funding to support a strategic investment in Faculty and Staff Success. The goal of the Faculty and Staff Success initiative is to enable greater employee performance and support personal and professional growth to ensure the UM System is a true employer of choice. Under the leadership of the UM System Office of Human Resources, programs within the Faculty and Staff Success initiative will focus on all levels of faculty and staff, and will be announced as they are available. Academic Leadership Development, described below, is the first program launching under the initiative.

Academic Leadership Development

As a part of the focus on overall faculty success and with the support of the offices of the provost at each university, the UM System offices of Academic Affairs and Human Resources are developing a robust set of programs specifically designed to support academic leaders. The programs will provide academic leaders with relevant and meaningful opportunities for continued growth and development. They include the programs listed below. The programs are guided by an Advisory Board representing provosts, deans and department chairs.

Academic Leadership Advisory Board

  • MU: Alex Socarides, Pat Okker, Candace Kuby, Joe Parcell
  • UMKC: Diane Filion, Joy Roberts, Ginny Blanton, Steve Dilks
  • S&T: Daniel Forciniti, Richard Wlezien, David Borrok, Susan Murray
  • UMSL: Cindy Dupueur, Ann Taylor, Steve Moehrle, Maureen Quigley

Academic Leadership Conference

About the Academic Leadership Conference

Spearheaded by UM System President Mun Y. Choi as a strategic investment, the Academic Leadership Conference is a collaboration among UM Academic Affairs, UM Human Resources, Provosts, and a systemwide Advisory Board. It draws on academic leaders’ own experiences and needs by offering programs tailored to the unique careers, issues and decisions facing provosts, deans and department chairs.

Provost Offices: MUUMKCS&TUMSL


The Fall 2020 conference will focus on leading in the current dynamic situation. Topics will include pandemic responses, economic challenges, racial inequality and inclusiveness, and faculty engagement. The conference will be offered online. The overall goals of providing relevant and meaningful opportunities to learn and connect remain the overarching goals of the conference.

Schedule Overview

Date Time Event

October 15

11 a.m.

Owning Your Role: Navigating Difficult Dilemmas Facing Academic Leaders (Provost Panel) - Presentation Link

11 am – 12 noon: Panel Discussion
12:15 – 1 pm: Q&A during a “lunch & learn”

MU – Latha Ramchand

UMKC -  Jennifer Lundgren

S&T – Stephen Roberts

UMSL – Marie Mora


1 p.m.

Breakout Sessions (Choose One)

Difficult Conversations: Accountability, Candor and Understanding - Presentation Link

As leaders, we often encounter situations where it is necessary to have uncomfortable or otherwise challenging conversations with those we lead, and sometimes those that lead us. It is critical to the success of our units and universities to address these problems quickly and fairly as they arise. In this panel discussion we will talk about how to navigate these conversations to achieve the underlying goal(s). We will present some tips and strategies as a precursor for discussion with the audience.



An Update on Our Finances and Budget - Presentation Link

As a result of the public health crisis, the UM System and its four universities have been engaged in meaningful discussions about the University’s finances, priorities, and overall direction as new and existing budgetary pressures emerge or are amplified. In this session, the UM System finance team will provide an update on the current status of those conversations and what academic leaders need to know.



3 p.m.

Breakout Sessions (Choose One)

Upholding Standards in a Pandemic: Thoughts and Discussion - Presentation Link

The difficult conversations that sometimes need to be held to ensure that our University standards are maintained become even more difficult during a pandemic. Couple this with the different ways that faculty conduct can be problematic in a highly dynamic environment, and it's clear that we're all struggling to adapt. This brief presentation will focus on how faculty conduct has gotten harder (and, in some cases, just different) to handle during a pandemic, and then will shift to a mediated discussion for the audience.


Supporting Faculty with Kids as They Attempt Work/Life Balance During COVID-19

Work/life balance is a challenge for many academics, particularly those who are parents, and usually even more so for women/mothers. There is a lot of data on why this is the case. As with many things, COVID-19 has amplified these challenges. In this session, we’ll talk about how to support faculty who are struggling to balance child care/schooling at home with maintaining productivity, while also being asked to teach in new or multiple formats. Please come with ideas as well as questions; we’ll brainstorm together.


October 16

9 a.m.

Breakout Sessions (Choose One)

When the World Turns Upside Down: Strategies for Resilience

Some days we enjoy the bliss of working in higher education, other days we hold on by our finger tips and hope we make it. No matter where you are today, this session will provide a space to care for one another, consider ideas to enhance well-being and bounce back during challenging times. Come prepared to participate in a discussion about barriers to well-being and creative strategies for thriving. 


What We Know About COVID-19 Now - Presentation Link

Dr. John Middleton will give a practical overview of the COVID situation including the origins of the disease, its transmission, and approaches to health and safety.



11 a.m.

Breakout Sessions (Choose One)

A Leader’s Biggest Challenge: Dealing with Difficult People - Presentation Link

In a perfect world, there would be no "difficult" people, but many of us frequently face challenging people. In her book "Five Truths for Thinking about Difficult People," Kris Palchy suggests that trying to change other people is an exercise in futility. We will review and reflect on her invitation to try five different ways of thinking about people we find challenging. This session will include reflection questions for you to consider if you could benefit from changing your perspective.


Towards an Inclusive Culture for Campus Leaders

This summer led to many meaningful conversations, both nationwide and at our universities, about what it means and how to create an inclusive culture. In this session, Dr. Stephanie Shonekan will provide academic leaders with thoughtful ways to leverage their positions in the University to create a more inclusive and equitable atmosphere in their respective units.


  • Stephanie Shonekan



Networking events

To foster a community of leadership systemwide and beyond, we will embed networking opportunities into the conference sessions.


The conference will be held via Zoom.


The conference is provided by the University of Missouri System's strategic investment in Faculty and Staff Success, reflecting the investment the University is making in academic leaders.


Registration for the conference is by invitation only. If you're interested in attending the conference and have not received an invitation, please contact

More Information

If you have questions regarding the event, please contact the UM System Office of Academic Affairs at


Stand Alone Sessions

Date Time Event
November 17, 2020 2 p.m. Understanding and Coping with Burnout - Presentation Link

With the pandemic ongoing, we continue our efforts not only to function, but also to endure and cope with professional and personal challenges. In this session, Patti J. Fleck, PhD, Director of S&T’s Counseling Services, will present information about burnout, discuss strategies to minimize its potential impact, and encourage participants to identify specific actions they can implement.


Patti Fleck

November 30, 2020 12 p.m. What Messages Are Being Communicated about Diversity and Inclusion: An Organizational Analysis
 -  Presentation Link | Handout

This summer led to many meaningful conversations, both nationwide and at our universities, about what it means and how to create an inclusive culture. In this session, Jeni Hart will share insights gained from her research and collaborations on diversity and inclusion audits that will empower our leaders to take a closer look at their work environments for signs of and barriers to inclusion.


Jeni Hart

December 15, 2020 12 p.m.

What We Know About COVID-19 Now

Presentation materials can be made available upon request.

Due to a large volume of interest at the October ALD conference, Dr. John Middleton will give a practical overview of the COVID situation following the Thanksgiving break, including the origins of the disease, its transmission, and approaches to health and safety.


John Middleton

January 14, 2021 10 a.m.

Building and Protecting Your Energy - Presentation Link

A common theme we are hearing from leaders right now is “we are just drained.” We hear you, and in response we are offering a session on building and protecting your energy. This session will draw upon themes from the Strengthscope framework but participants need not have taken the Strengthscope assessment in order to engage in and benefit from the session. The session will provide participants the chance to:

  • Identify personal energizers and drainers, recognizing that competencies and energizers do not always align
  • Consider which energizers and drainers are being tapped into in their work and to what degree
  • Learn about the various options for responding to tasks that involve drainers
  • Pinpoint ways that energizers can be incorporated into things they’re already doing
  • Look back on the past semester and/or year to consider which energizers and drainers were most salient perhaps in new ways
  • Look forward to the new semester and/or new year to consider how being equipped with this knowledge and understanding of energizers and drainers can help us build and protect our energy.


Mackenzie Moorefield, Lauren Reedy, and Jill Wood

February 9, 2021

10 a.m. 


2 p.m.

Finance & Budget Update - Presentation Link

Due to the high level of interest in this session, we will be combining with staff leaders and offering this session twice. The morning option will be from 10 – 11am CT and the afternoon option from 2-3pm CT.

In this session, rated as one of the top sessions at Academic Leadership Conference in October, the UM System finance team will provide an update on what leaders need to know about the current status of the University’s finances, priorities, and overall direction as new and existing budgetary pressures emerge or are amplified.
Eric Vogelweid

March 9, 2021 9 a.m.

What Messages Are Being Communicated about Diversity and Inclusion: Part 2 of An Organizational Analysis with Jeni Hart

Initial Organizational Assessment

Organizational Analysis: What Messages are Being Sent About Inclusion
This summer led to many meaningful conversations, both nationwide and at our universities, about what it means and how to create an inclusive culture. In this session, Jeni Hart will share insights gained from her research and collaborations on diversity and inclusion audits that will empower our leaders to take a closer look at their work environments for signs of and barriers to inclusion.


Spring Conference

Following the advice of the ALD Advisory Board, we have decided to scale back the Spring Conference originally scheduled for April 28-30, to just the two sessions listed below. Both sessions will be presented by the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD).

Date Time Event
Thursday, April 29 1-3pm CT Pathfinders

This career planning session, presented by Lisa Hanasono, focusses on “what’s next” in your career, particularly after achieving tenure, and highlights the importance of strong networks and mentoring relationships in getting you where you want to go next. For those of you from MU, we recognize that this session overlaps slightly with the MU IDE Virtual Discussion. We also strongly encourage leaders to attend that session, so if you would like to jump off this session a little early in order to make it to that on time, know that we support you and you will only miss the Q&A portion of this session if you do so.

Friday, April 30 9:15-11:15am CT Re-thinking Mentoring: How to Build Communities of Inclusion, Support and Accountability

This session, also presented by Lisa Hanasono, will be open to both faculty and staff leaders. This session promotes a wholistic approach to mentoring and focusses on strategies and best practices for leaders seeking to create a culture of mentoring on their teams.


24/7 resources

Academic Affairs, Human Resources, and the Office of the President have collaborated to develop a set of 24/7 resources for academic leaders. 


Workshops at MU, UMKC, Missouri S&T and UMSL

Coming soon!


Executive coaching

The University of Missouri offers executive coaching to support our senior academic leaders and increase our organizational effectiveness. 

Executive coaching is ideal for senior academic leaders as it provides a customized approach to leadership development. Through a one-on-one relationship with an experienced external coach, senior leaders gain new outlooks on personal challenges, improved decision-making skills, increased confidence, and greater overall effectiveness. When leaders participate in coaching, they can better meet current challenges while building skills for the future. In turn, this leads to increased organizational results and supports sustainable progress.

This program is offered through the Academic Leadership Development initiative.

Program Goals for Participants

  • Maximize strengths
  • Master leadership and communication competencies
  • Better manage stress
  • Adapt and thrive in an environment of change
  • Address workplace challenges
  • Demonstrate a commitment to growth and development

Program Details

Available to academic deans at each university, the executive coaching engagement will typically last six months. During that time, the leader will choose a coach from one of ten pre-selected executive coaching firms who have a range of specialties and experience in a variety of settings. The coach will then administer assessments, meet with the Provost to gain their perspective, and then lead conversations to drive insight. The cost of the coaching will be covered by the Faculty and Staff Success Funding.

Obtaining a Coach

To obtain an executive coach, complete the Executive Coaching Request Form (PDF is available here.) We understand the sensitive nature of many of these requests; all are treated as strictly confidential and viewed only by a designated staff member of the Program Team. If needed, that staff member may call you to request additional information. The Program Team will then reach out to your Provost to clarify coaching priorities from the Provost's perspective.

The Program Team will then work with selected coaching organizations to identify coaches and send information on three potential matches for you. You then have an opportunity to meet each coach, select the best match, and begin the coaching engagement. We will contact you with more information and provide additional support after receiving your Request Form.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is – and isn’t – executive coaching?
    • Coaching is not the same as mentoring, consulting or counseling.
  • How do I choose the appropriate coach?
    • Upon receiving the names of three possible coaches, we will also provide advice on how to best make a selection.
  • Who are available coaches?
    • Coaches are from one of ten pre-selected coaching organizations representing a range of specialties and experience in a variety of settings.
  • Are my conversations with my coach confidential?
    • Yes. The coach agrees to keep all information shared during coaching sessions confidential unless otherwise agreed upon or unless required to share information by law or University policy, such as when there is danger to self or others, or a potential violation of the university's Employment/Educational Opportunity policies (CRR: Chapter 600). Themes, in the aggregate, from conversations will be shared with the Program Team to inform additional leadership development programming.

Contact Information

For more information about the Executive Coaching program, please contact UM Academic Affairs at

Coaching Definitions

What is executive coaching?

Executive coaching is a practice in professional development that is characterized by its individual and personalized approach. It generally involves a close relationship between a coach and coachee, where the coachee works on a stated individualized development plan in the context of their individual role and organizational goals.

Coaching is not the same as mentoring, consulting, or counseling.

  • Mentoring is usually formed via mutual and informal matching whereby a mentor (usually with more experience) helps a mentee (usually with less experience) grow, become more connected, and develop greater self-efficacy. One critical difference is that a mentor tends to be a source of advising, where coaches tend to ask questions of their coachees in order to discover solutions. Additionally, mentoring may last an indefinite period of time, where coaching is generally intended to be a focused period of time.  
  • Consulting is usually a process by which an outside organization or individual is provided information by an organization in order to provide feedback, recommendations, or highlight concerns. Consultants are intended to help an individual or organization receive an objective review of information presented in order to prescribe a set of potential solutions. Additionally, they may be contracted to provide industry insight, manage significant change processes, project manage a significant adjustment in business practice, or coordinate the implementation of a strategic plan. In general, consulting is focused on the organization whereas coaching is focused on the individual.
  • Counseling is a therapeutic relationship in which a client and counselor, through therapy, work on specific concerns of personal or professional concern. This relationship is generally considered to be confidential and protected by patient privilege. Generally speaking, counseling is intended to help you identify and cope with challenges in your life, while coaches are interested in you setting goals and achieving goals. Therapists are usually supervised by someone, with governing organizations that provide guides for conduct, where coaches may not have the same kind of governance relationship.

Mentoring programs

Please check back for updated information.


Professional development grants

Please check back for updated information.


Reviewed 2022-07-05