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WVU faculty member selected for national leadership mentor program

Valerie Wayda, West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences associate professor and associate dean for undergraduate and academic affairs, will serve as a mentor during the fall 2021 semester as part of the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education Leader Mentor program.

The program pairs aspiring administrators with experienced kinesiology chairs, deans or higher-level administrators for a one-week “shadow” experience to build future leaders through hands-on mentoring and real-world scenarios.

Wayda says the program builds networking and social communication between university kinesiology departments from different locations inside and outside of the United States. “The desired outcome is an increased level of awareness and understanding of the position and the job requirements of a kinesiology administrator for mentees,” she said.

Jamie Gilbert Mikell, assistant professor at Athens State University, will visit the Morgantown campus during the 2021 fall semester as a mentee, following Wayda and other college administrators.

Gilbert Mikell says she became interested in the NAKHE mentor program due to its focus on networking, professional growth and leadership for its members. “NAKHE's Leader Mentor program opportunity was a perfect fit for me as an aspiring higher education leader. As a former CPASS doctoral student, I knew that West Virginia University and Dr. Wayda would provide a high-quality mentor experience,” she said. Gilbert Mikell earned her Ed.D. from CPASS in Coaching and Teaching Studies (spring 2019).

The mentor program will allow Gilbert Mikell to experience real-world scenarios at the associate dean level while interacting with a variety of CPASS middle management administrators. “I’m eager to build connections between our universities to share strategies of student success with an emphasis on academic policies and support programs,” she said. “It will be helpful to better understand the allocation of resources used to improve the retention and graduation outcomes for undergraduate students.”

Gilbert Mikell plans to use the opportunity to identify strategies to enhance her skills and leadership abilities in her role as the health program lead at Athens State University by collaborating with and observing Wayda as associate dean at WVU. “This partnership will enhance my professional growth and ability to obtain knowledge of an administrator's daily duties to aid my future aspirations as a program/department chair,” Gilbert Mikell said.

Wayda and Gilbert Mikell will present at the next NAKHE annual conference, highlighting the experience and submit an editor-reviewed, co-authored manuscript to the International Journal of Kinesiology in Higher Education following the experience.

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