Hunter NewDr. Hunter Phillips Goodman graduated in the summer of 2014. Her dissertation research explored the role of university leadership in civic engagement within private liberal arts institutions.

“The PhD Leadership program at the University of Central Arkansas has helped me explore and connect my practical experience as a leader in the nonprofit and higher education arenas with theory and research,” said Goodman. “It has deepened my theoretical understanding and practical application of leadership.”

Currently, Dr. Goodman serves as the Executive Director of Fitz Center for Leadership in Community at the University of Dayton.

Nationally, she serves as immediate past chairperson of the IMPACT National Student Conference on Service, Action, and Advocacy board of directors.

Dr. Wesley Alford graduated in the summer of 2014. His dissertation examined how perceived employee-leader relationships and the employee’s public service motives explain the individual’s job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

“The LEAD program helped me grow professionally as a researcher and individually as an emerging leader,” said Alford.

Currently, Dr. Alford serves as the Assistant Director for Professional Development at Colorado State University Extension. In this role he develops partnerships across the university and the state to provide meaningful development opportunities for all Extension employees. He is also working to update new employee onboarding and mentoring programs, examine employee turnover and retention, create employee engagement plans, lead change management efforts, and, of course, infuse leadership development into every program.

LEADERSHIP-0128Dr. P. Hope Coleman graduated in the summer of 2015. Her dissertation was a phenomenological study of spiritual leadership.

Dr. Coleman reflected on the LEAD program, “My experience in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program was invaluable to me. Not only did I experience professional growth as an academician, I also discovered the surprising joy of research in the area of spiritual leadership, a field of study for which I am passionate.”

Dr. Coleman currently serves as the Academic and Spiritual Counselor for Baptist Health College Little Rock.

LEADERSHIP-0130Dr. Lyle M. Rupert graduated in the summer of 2015. His dissertation focused on faculty perception on change readiness in Liberal Arts colleges.

Looking back on his journey, Lyle said, “From the very first day of class through the final revision of my dissertation, I felt great support from everyone in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Leadership program. The director, the teachers, and my committee members provided the necessary structure and advice to help me succeed. I appreciate the time and expertise they shared with me. I also value the friendships I’ve made with my colleagues and look forward to working with them on future endeavors.  We are well-prepared for lives as scholar leaders.”

Dr. Rupert currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Economics and Business at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. In the summer of 2018, he was installed as the C. Louis and Charlotte Cabe Distinguished Professor at Hendrix College.  Additionally, he was recently awarded the Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, the Carole L. Herrick Award for Excellence in Academic Advising, and the Faculty Appreciation Award given by the graduating seniors.

Malcolm GloverDr. Malcolm Elliott Glover graduated in the fall of 2015. His research examined the interrelated nature of gendered leadership, conflict management, and cultural identity at a global nonprofit organization and it explored the ways leaders manage a multicultural workforce to address humanitarian challenges in an interdependent world.

“The Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership program aided my understanding of the actions and motivations of leaders who seek solutions to the social, economic, and environmental problems that plague our society,” said Glover.

Currently, Dr. Glover serves as Director of the Delta Veterans Program at ARVets, an Arkansas-based nonprofit that provides services to veterans and their families.

Nationally, he is a writer and editor for the Advise the President Book Series, a joint educational endeavor between the National Archives and the Kettering Foundation that assess the policies of U.S. Presidents.

Dr. Barrett W. M. Petty graduated in the fall of 2015. His dissertation explored factors that contribute to the completion of programs of study at Arkansas institutions of higher education for African American males.

“I’ve always had a passion for numbers. The Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership program supported my efforts in providing clear and rich themes from numerical data so that everyone can easily be informed of current trends,” said Petty.

Dr. Petty has presented at several Association of Teacher Educators national conferences and the first inaugural African American Studies Research Symposium at UCA and is the recipient of the 2017 Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Dissertation in Teacher Education Award. Dr. Petty is the Principal Consultant and Owner of Petty Consulting Group, LLC.

Jamie EarlsDr. Jamie Earls graduated in the fall of 2015.  Her dissertation focused on meeting the needs of student veterans through integrative leadership in higher education.

Currently, Dr. Earls serves as Faculty Advisor to the International Association of Emergency Managers Student Chapter at Arkansas Tech University. She is also a member of the Arkansas Crisis Response Team.

LEADERSHIP-0115Dr. Craig Seager graduated in the fall of 2015.  His dissertation focused on the development and field testing of a living-learning program instrument.

Dr. Seager said of his experience in the LEAD program, “I truly enjoyed my experience in the LEAD program. From day one, the support of the program faculty, both in and out of the classroom, illustrated their genuine concern for our success. The LEAD program allowed me to discover different ways that I could impact my field and make a difference.”

Currently, Dr. Seager is the Associate Director for Housing & Residence Life at UCA.

Dr. Zhi Luan graduated in thLuane spring of 2016. Before Dr. Luan came to study in the U.S., he was a college instructor teaching a variety of courses in cultural studies and business management. He was also a leader of several educational and legal organizations in China.

Dr. Luan reflected on his time in the program, “LEAD helped me comprehensively understand leadership. The program broadens your mind on leadership theories and practice, and makes you sufficiently informed and prepared to serve with leadership roles in your organizations and communities in the future. From my learning in this program, I have become aware that leadership is a power–it is a power of love and wisdom.”

Dr. Timothy Bullington graduated in the spring of 2016. His dissertation focused on emerging informal leadership through social relationships in a complex faith-based setting.

Tim is an ordained pastor, a commissioned Army officer, and social network analyst. He believes strongly in connecting, mentoring, and coaching leaders to creatively tackle complex issues in healthcare.

Dr. Bullington currently serves as a Senior Organizational Development Consultant and Manager of Human Capital Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where he specializes in Leadership Development, Followership, Network Leadership, Employee Engagement, and Cultural Change.

Lonnie JacksonDr. Lonnie Jackson graduated in the summer of 2016. His dissertation explored leadership for community development. 

Dr. Jackson said this of the program, “The Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies program offered me the opportunity to study leadership styles and develop my research capabilities and writing skills. The faculty and staff offered support and encouragement throughout the entire process.”

He currently serves as M.B.A. Director and Associate Professor of Management at Henderson State University.

LEADERSHIP-0134Dr. Patricia Searight graduated in the summer of 2016. Her dissertation focused on educational policy in Arkansas.

Dr. Searight said, “The Interdisciplinary PhD Leadership Studies program at UCA has broadened my perspective in leadership. I have enjoyed working with the program participants who have diverse experiences and perspectives in leadership. Conversations among members have always been thought-provoking, deep, and at times, intense. My experience at UCA has allowed me to collaborate with peers and community groups in leadership development.”

She is currently employed as the Director of Curriculum/Federal Programs/Professional Development for the Searcy County School District in Marshall, Arkansas.

MariamaDr. Mariama Laouali Balla graduated in the summer of 2016. She is a native of Niger and her dissertation research explored the state of girls’ education in Niger.

Dr. Balla believes the LEAD program has equipped her with skills and knowledge necessary to support and influence government, non-governmental operations, and national policies meant to tackle community and economic development back in her country of Niger.

Currently, Dr. Balla serves as the International Consultant of Gender, Education, Policy and Advocacy for USAID as well as Winrock International Gender Mainstreaming/Policy Volunteer. 

Elizabeth LeQuieuDr. Elizabeth LeQuieu graduated in the fall of 2016. Her dissertation research focused on health literacy in the occupational therapy field.

Currently, Dr. LeQuieu is Assistant Dean of Experiential Education at Arkansas Colleges of Health Education School of Occupational Therapy.

katDr. Kateryna Ligon, a native of Ukraine, graduated in the fall of 2016. Her dissertation was titled: “Measuring followership: An empirical investigation of the Kelley followership questionnaire revised.”

Currently, Dr. Ligon serves as an Assistant Professor of Business at Central Baptist College.

Dr. Leah Horton graduated in the spring of 2017. Her dissertation was titled: “Towards capabilities-based environmental leadership: A case study from Kanembwe, Rwanda.” 

Dr. Horton currently teaches in both the biology department and the Honors College where she serves as the director of UCA’s newest honors education program, University Scholars. She continues to be active in research related to environmental leadership and human capabilities and has presented at a variety of international research conferences.

Dr. Horton stated, “The LEAD program provided a unique opportunity to blend my interests in science and society. Real world problems require interdisciplinary solutions, as well as disciplinary expertise, and the LEAD program facilitates develop of the skills, knowledge, and experience to wade into those messy issues.”

KrisDr. Kris Bertelsen graduated in the spring of 2017. His dissertation examined how incarcerated offenders’ personal attributes affect beliefs about entrepreneurship.

Dr. Bertelsen stated, “The LEAD program helped me develop the requisite skills and provided the opportunity to connect my academic interests with a meaningful purpose.”

Currently, Dr. Bertelsen serves as a Senior Economic Education Specialist with the Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Dr. Sara Brown graduated in the summer of 2017. Her dissertation explored the relationship between the dimensions of distributed leadership in Arkansas community colleges.

Currently, Dr. Brown serves as the Director of Institutional Advancement for the Arkansas School for Math, Sciences, and the Arts.

Dr. Mara Cawein graduated in the fall of 2017. Her dissertation was titled: Perspectives of nationally certified mathematics teachers on factors affecting classroom practices.

Dr. Cawein currently works at UCA as a Level II Clinical Instructor in the College of Education. She teaches undergraduate courses for education majors and national board classes for the Advanced Studies in Teacher Leadership (ASTL) master’s program.

Mara reflected, “The doctoral program really opened my eyes to the importance of leadership in every organization. My coursework allowed me to look more closely at leadership in education, and allowed me to do research at my favorite school, Morrilton High School, where I taught math for 13 years and achieved national board certification in 2003.”

Dr. Chassidy Cooper graduated in the fall of 2017. Her dissertation focused on the lived experiences of successful African-American women college student leaders. 

Chassidy serves as an Academic Advisor and First Year Experience Instructor at UA Little Rock. Her roles have always been to increase the retention and graduation rates of UA Little Rock students. Currently, she also serves as the President of ArKAAN, the state’s professional organization for academic advisors.  

Dr. Armstrong Hang Yang graduated in the spring of 2018. His dissertation focused on boundary spanning between K12 and higher education.

Dr. Yang stated, “The LEAD program is designed to be a test of the student’s ability to conduct independent scholarly work, which leads me toward the academic world. Also, it helps me not only to conduct my academic study and degree, but also to re-understand myself.”

Currently, Armstrong resides in Conway Arkansas.

Dr. Hattie M. Scribner graduated in the summer of 2018. Her dissertation research explored the dimensions of collaboration and the collaborative outcomes among Area Agencies on Aging and senior centers in Arkansas.

Dr. Scribner’s experience in the leadership program strengthened her research skill set and expanded her knowledge in contributing to the public health profession in addition to the health of society. Furthermore, she believes that her journey in the program invigorated her faith, for it was the perfect atmosphere for God’s power and glory to manifest.

In April 2019, Dr. Scribner accepted a position as Interim Cancer Section Chief within the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Branch at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). She is responsible for directing the operations of the comprehensive cancer section and identifying and securing resources to support cancer control while coordinating collaborative efforts.

Dr. Amy Thompson graduated in the summer of 2018. Her dissertation focused on the transformative experiences of MAT teacher candidates during a literacy course with an embedded clinical field experience and after in the teacher candidates own classrooms.

Amy serves as an Assistant Professor and Graduate Literacy Program Coordinator at the University of Central Arkansas. Her focus has always been to improve the literacy rates of students in Arkansas through educator preparation. Currently, she also serves on the board of the Arkansas Reading Association, a professional organization dedicated to promoting reading and developing literacy and as a member of the International Dyslexia Association’s Program Review and Accreditation Team.

Dr. Michael Blanchett graduated in the fall of 2018. His dissertation examined those aspects of capital that contribute to general entrepreneurs’ success and to determine if they apply to minority entrepreneurs in Arkansas. He is the President and CEO of S M & D Consulting, a firm that specializes in strategic planning to establish vision and growth for small businesses and churches.

Dr. Blanchett also provides academic tutoring in algebra and basic mathematics. He is presently working with his former dissertation chair, writing articles for publication in several recognized journals. Dr. Blanchett is a Sunday school superintendent at his church, and in his spare time, he enjoys walking, bicycle riding, and playing chess. He enjoys actively training to complete half marathons and on Tuesdays and Fridays of each week, he likes to practice being a vegan.

Dr. Blanchett stated, “Though the program is rigorous, the course structure enables busy people to earn a degree and yet maintain a regular job if students choose to do so.”

Dr. Cody Vest graduated in the spring of 2019. His dissertation is titled An education for all: Successfully impacting literacy skills for English Language Learners. Originally from Ozark, AR, is currently a high school English teacher. He moved to Conway, AR to pursue a college degree and has remained in the area since he moved. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2003 with a BSE in English and that same year began teaching at Morrilton High School. He later graduated from Arkansas Tech University in 2007 with an MSE in Instructional Improvement. Cody currently teaches senior English at Rogers Heritage High School. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, working out, and running.