Jim Weese is ready to lead the way when it comes to campuswide leadership development.
As Executive Director of the Western Leader Academy, Weese draws upon his academic background and extensive experience as a senior academic leader to assist colleagues in developing their skills related to leading people and teams, programs and services, and leading innovation and change.
“Western is a large and complex organization, and one that needs a multitude of strong leaders,” Weese said. “My hope is this program, in concert with the many existing programs that take place on our campus, will give us a deeper bench of potential leaders to complement the strong cohort currently leading our programs. It is an investment I am proud to be a part of and I thank Western for the opportunity to lead this exciting program.”
Weese was appointed to the post last June, but assumed the role of Acting Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International) for a year. With that role ending July 1, Weese can focus full-time on the Academy.
Weese has led leadership development programs for faculty and staff at universities and colleges across North America the last few years. The Western-focused training will give leaders a better understanding of the complexities and challenges facing academic leadership.
“It’s about learning how to build teams, ensure a strategic direction, manage and lead change, build a dynamic culture and inspire and celebrate unit progress,” Weese said. “We want to offer the best management practises for academic leadership.”
The Western Leader Academy will see three cohorts over the next three years, each involving approximately 15 colleagues from across faculties. A call for nominations/applications will go out shortly. Sessions will begin on select Friday’s this September, with individual and small group meetings taking place between the group sessions.
In collaboration with Human Resources and other sources of expertise across campus, learning activities will include mini-lectures, small group activities, readings/ assignments, panel presentations, guest speakers, role playing, case studies, one-on-one meetings and follow-up coaching sessions.
“Leadership is a work in progress – and the best leaders heighten their effectiveness and extend their ‘shelf life’ by staying current in leadership as well as their field of study,” said Weese, who recently released a book, The 5C Leader: Exceptional Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Times.
“We will draw from some of the content of the book and from many other sources, including the experiences of participants in the program. The 5C Leader is not only for academic leaders, but I do believe the concept has a high degree of utility in higher education leadership.”
Weese said participants can expect the learning to continue long after the training is complete. His intention is to follow these leaders long after they leave the program, provide ongoing support and coaching as needed, and follow their progress with pride and interest.
“Western is a learning organization and we can always improve,” Weese said. “I hope to tap into the great resource of leaders that we have on campus and integrate them into the program.”
The Leader Academy is a key component of Western’s broader Excellence in Leadership initiative which has been designed to help current and aspiring academic and administrative leaders excel in their roles.
Information sessions for those interested in the academy will be held from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 in Health Sciences Building, Room 236, and 9:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 19 in the FIMS and Nursing Building, Room 1240.