A More Excellent Way: Highlights from VUU's 2023 Leadership Conference

September 21, 2023

A More Excellent Way: Highlights from VUU's 2023 Leadership Conference 

September 23, 2023 

By Justice Miller  

The theme for the Fall 2023 University Leadership Conference was "A More Excellent Way," an event that brought together leaders from various segments of our academic institution. This convergence took place at the Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center, where participants engaged in dynamic discussions and shared their perspectives on the best practices that can enhance and nurture achievement within the university setting. 

During the conference, The Honorable N. Scott Phillips, a VUU Trustee, offered his valuable insights on the roles of higher education professionals. In his address, Phillips reminded the audience that fewer than 40% of U.S. citizens hold a college degree, emphasizing the unique position and responsibility that educators and administrators hold. He urged attendees to recognize their distinct roles in society and the significance of their contributions. 

The conference featured a range of presentations covering diverse topics, including "Stop, Look, and Listen: Active Listening and Its Impact on Effective Communication," "Leveraging Technology in the Academic Workplace," "Budgeting Strategies for the Evolving Higher Education Model," "Elevating Excellence: Navigating Leadership at Its Pinnacle," "Defining Excellence," and "Transforming Professors into Perfectionists." These sessions represented the largest gathering of faculty and staff from across the university divisions. 

Each presentation offered valuable insights and strategies to the attending leaders, providing them with the opportunity to engage in discussions and pose questions to their peers. This event served as a unique platform for academic leaders, program and center representatives, and other influential members of the VUU community to gain firsthand exposure to the remarkable work taking place across all university divisions. 

The concluding day of the University Leadership Conference celebrated the unwavering dedication and commitment of the faculty and staff. The Honorable L. Douglas Wilder, the keynote speaker for the occasion, underlined the pivotal role of education in opening doors to opportunities. He emphasized the university's importance as a foundation of knowledge and urged attendees to inspire a thirst for knowledge, particularly among the youth. 

Following the keynote address, Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President/CEO, and Dr. Allia Carter, EVP/COO, recognized and honored several outstanding university faculty and staff members for their significant contributions over the past year. The following individuals and divisions were recipients of these prestigious awards: 

Employee of the Year - Ida Jones 
Faculty of the Year - Pari Valad
Staff of the Year - Ameta J. Cartwright 
Administrator of the Year - Mylaka J. Simpson 
Division of the Year - Sponsored Research and Innovation 
Most Improved Division - Business Affairs 
VUU Spirit Award - Pamela Foreman 
VUU Champion Award - Jessica M. Gilbert 
VUU Ray of Light Award - J. Renee W. Jolley 

The success of the conference underscored the university's unwavering commitment to providing a platform for leaders to exchange ideas and insights, fostering connections that are both meaningful and productive within the academic community.