Latest cohort graduates from Blaze Leadership Academy

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rep blaze academy 2023 coanCongratulations to the 20 faculty and staff leaders seeking to grow and contribute more to UAB who became the 15th graduating class of the Blaze Leadership Academy in April. The leadership-development program combines team projects, case studies, skill-building, expert speakers and panels, peer-to-peer consultation, and networking opportunities.

Speaking at a capstone presentation April 21, members of the class shared their leadership lessons learned. “We’ve discussed throughout this impactful program that effective leadership is reflected in several ways — good communication, inclusion, authentically listening,” said Jereme Logan, J.D., associate risk and compliance officer for UAB Financial Affairs. But the most resonant trait for himself, Logan said, “is being able to set aside self-interest. At its core, it is a reflection of trust in your group, which invites trust in return.”

The class also shared highlights from their action learning group projects, including recommendations designed to enhance employee retention and engagement, address employee questions, and reduce stress and conflict in grievance processes. “The growth mindset was infused throughout the experience,” said Anne Brisendine, DrPH, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Organization in the School of Public Health. “This process involved growing each other in our team roles through coaching and reflection, gaining a better understanding of communication dynamics both among ourselves and across UAB, recognizing the importance of good stewardship of university resources, [and] realizing the potential for our project to mitigate conflicts and address inefficiencies.”

“I am honored to be able to support UAB leaders in the development of new mindsets and skills to bring out the best in our faculty and staff,” said Susan Coan, executive director of Learning and Development. “It is an amazing experience to watch the group connect, learn and grow over the course of the Blaze Leadership Academy.”

2023-2024 class nominations open in June

Nominations for the 2023-2024 Blaze Leadership Academy class will open in June. The program is designed for faculty and staff who have been at UAB for at least two years and who manage a department, team or major program. Candidates are nominated by their senior leader (deans in schools, vice presidents in administrative units). Learn more about the nomination process, selection criteria and the time commitment involved.

Blaze Leadership Academy 2022-2023 cohort


Anne Brisendine, DrPH

Assistant Professor and Science Director, Applied Evaluation and Assessment Collaborative

School of Public Health


Megan Carpenter, OTD

Assistant Professor and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator, Department of Occupational Therapy

School of Health Professions


Meredith Gartin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Global Health

School of Public Health


Tiffany Grimes, R.N.

Administrative Director, Department of Medicine

Heersink School of Medicine


Christopher Henrich, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology

College of Arts and Sciences


Mack Ingram

Director of Engagement, Alumni Affairs

UAB Advancement


Matthew Jennings

Director of Instructional Technology

School of Nursing


Leon Jololian, Ph.D.

Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

School of Engineering


Rebecca Kennedy, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice President for Student Health and Wellbeing

UAB Student Affairs


Ejvis Lamani, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Director of Research

School of Dentistry


Jereme Logan, J.D.

Associate Risk and Compliance Officer

UAB Financial Affairs


Christy Manning

Administrative Director of Graduate Programs

Collat School of Business


Chris McCauley

Director of Communications

College of Arts and Sciences


Scott Phillips, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Innovative Teaching

Office of the Provost


Lisa Pritchett

Senior Director of Development

UAB Advancement


Lesley Sheek, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Accreditation and Assessment

School of Education


Jessica Thomas

Financial Manager, Department of Medicine

Heersink School of Medicine


Ernest Williams

Financial Officer III, Department of Neurosurgery

Heersink School of Medicine


Libby Worthington

Business Systems Architect

Graduate School


Chengcui (Tracy) Zhang, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Computer Science

College of Arts and Sciences