UHCL Provost: 'Hosting TALA is a privilege; this highlights UHCL as a leader in Texas higher education'
University of Houston-Clear Lake hosted over 100 aspiring academic leaders from across Texas at the Texas Academic Leadership Academy (TALA). Each Texas university annually nominates up to two individuals that wish to further their careers in higher education administration to participate in the academy.
UH-Clear Lake’s Senior Associate Vice President of Information Technology LeeBrian Gaskins and Associate Professor of Social Work Heather Kanenberg were recognized for completing their one-year TALA experience, and Associate Dean of the College of Human Sciences and Humanities Shreerekha Subramanian and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Youssef Hamidi were recognized for joining the incoming cohort of aspiring leaders.
The four-day event featured presentations from seasoned higher education administrators from around Texas, as well as multiple professional development opportunities aimed at equipping emerging leaders for the challenges that they will face throughout their careers.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Christopher Maynard said that although there were many excellent national academic leadership development programs, Texas was large enough to warrant its own separate leadership academy.
“The Texas Council of Chief Academic Officers recognized the need to establish an academic leadership academy and requested interested universities to submit proposals. At the time, I was a member of TCCAO and worked in the Provost’s Office at Sam Houston State University,” he said. “Along with two of my colleagues, we wrote a proposal that was presented to TCCAO, and were awarded the grant to start this leadership academy in 2018.”
Maynard said the academy meets three times each year and rotates locations. In previous years, the first meeting for each cohort has been held at SHSU’s campus in The Woodlands.
“This is the first time that TALA has been hosted in Houston by any other university,” he said. “It is a privilege to host the academy at UHCL. It provides the university with visibility to academic leaders across the state, and demonstrates that UHCL is an important part of the higher education landscape in Texas.”
Maynard said he has been involved with TCCAO since 2017, serving as its president in 2020-2021.
“Through the establishment of the leadership academy as well as other meetings and outreach efforts, TCCAO has worked to bring together academic leaders from across Texas to work collaboratively,” he said.
He added it was impactful to have so many administrators on the UHCL campus sharing ideas. “When we hear what others are doing, it helps us find ways toward continuous improvement of our academic mission,” he said. “We are always looking for new ways to further academic excellence and promote student success.”