Latest cohort graduates from Blaze Leadership Academy

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rep blaze leadership academy 2024 550pxCongratulations to the 20 faculty and staff leaders seeking to grow and contribute more to UAB who became the 16th 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 5, members of the class shared their leadership lessons learned. “Blaze Leadership Academy equipped me with invaluable skills to adapt to change and navigate through challenges with resilience and confidence,” said Shandra Keith Coble, DMD, assistant professor in the Department of Endodontics in the School of Dentistry.

“A growth mindset is essential for shaping leadership skills,” said Amy Ellis, assistant controller in UAB Financial Affairs. “Abilities can be developed through effort and learning. Do not take criticism personally, but use it as part of the constructive learning process.”

2024-2025 class nominations open in June

Nominations for the 2024-2025 Blaze Leadership Academy class will open in June. The program is designed for faculty and staff who have been at UAB for a minimum of one year and are experienced senior managers, functional directors, or chairs possessing the potential for more demanding leadership positions within the next two to four years. 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 2023–2024 cohort


Jason Avery

Clinical Research Administrator III, Department of Epidemiology

School of Public Health


Amy Bickell

Director of Creative Services

UAB Communications and Marketing


Christina Blackmon

Assistant Director of Systems and Operations, Institutional Review Board

UAB Research


Jennifer Braswell Christy, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Department of Physical Therapy

School of Health Professions


Shandra Keith Coble, DMD

Assistant Professor, Department of Endodontics

School of Dentistry


Felice Cook

Manager for Clinical Research Regulations, Department of Medicine

Heersink School of Medicine


David Dada

Director, Governmental Relations

UAB Finance and Administration


Chad Duke

Director for Research Engineering, Engineering & Innovative Technology Development

School of Engineering


Amy Ellis

Assistant Controller

UAB Financial Affairs


Retta Evans, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Human Studies

School of Education


Ebony Harris

Development Director

UAB Advancement


Holly Holiday-Jones

Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity and Excellence

Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Jolene King

Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Environmental Health and Safety

UAB Facilities


Bela Patel, DNP

Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing Acute, Chronic & Continuing Care

School of Nursing


Samiksha Raut, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

College of Arts and Sciences


Joshua Robinson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Management, Information Systems and Economics

Collat School of Business


Andreia Stechmann

Assistant Director, Employer Engagement

Collat School of Business


Ruwaldt Viljoen

Assistant Controller

UAB Financial Affairs


Marshey Vincent

HRM Consultant Lead

UAB Human Resources


Brandon Wright

Director, Career Center

UAB Student Affairs