Nominations for Blaze Leadership Academy now open

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Blaze Leadership Academy, UAB’s flagship leadership development program for high-potential faculty and staff, is now accepting applications for its Class of 2021 through the end of November.


Blaze Leadership Academy is designed for functional managers and directors, people who manage faculty and staff, department chairs and department heads. Criteria include experience (candidates must have been at UAB for at least one year), capability, potential and the candidate’s role at UAB. The program is highly selective with limited enrollment.

Key dates

As with so many other programs at UAB, the Leadership Academy is transitioning from its traditional face-to-face format to Zoom and other electronic tools, including the Docebo learning management system. This first pilot of the new approach will run from January to May 2021, with participants meeting Jan. 15 and 29, Feb. 12, March 12, April 9 and May 14 (all Friday mornings) 8:45-10:15 a.m. on Zoom.

Small groups, optional mentoring

Participants also will form small groups that will meet monthly between sessions. In addition, they will receive two coaching sessions and assistance in creating individual career-development plans. Participants may choose to be paired with a mentor for additional development opportunities.

“The small-group support system will be crucial,” said Organizational Development Manager Gerriann Fagan. “They will have a common read and other opportunities to share their leadership-development journeys and effective practices they have put into practice in their workplaces.”

Nominate today

To nominate a candidate, e-mail and include the name of the person you are nominating and the reasons you are nominating them. Nominees will receive a link to a survey application, and applicants will be reviewed by a selection committee.

Pilot could lead to additional classes

By maximizing tools such as Zoom and Docebo and restructuring the program to a slightly shorter timeframe, “we will be able to scale up,” Fagan noted. “We are striving to offer Blaze Leadership Academy again in fall 2021 for a new class. If all goes well, we will be able to offer two classes each year.”

Congratulations to Class of 2020

Several elements of the Leadership Academy program were piloted with the Class of 2020, which completed its term remotely as the pandemic spread this spring. “We were impressed with their resourcefulness and resiliency in what was a trying time for our entire campus community,” Fagan said.

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Congratulations to the 2020 Blaze Leadership Academy cohort:

Julian Arribas, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Ambika Ashraf, M.D.

Professor and Director, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology

Michelle Brown, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Director, Healthcare Simulation Graduate Program, School of Health Professions

Tony Caminiti

Director of Operations, UAB Facilities

Dan Carlson

Senior Associate Athletics Director, Athletics Administration

Audrey Dupont, J.D.

University Counsel, Office of Counsel

Latesha Elopre, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases

Tosi Gilford, M.D.

Assistant Professor and Director, Physician Assistant Studies Program

Tyler Greer

Assistant Vice President, Public Relations & Marketing, Office of Public Relations

Lisa Higginbotham

Manager, UAB Benevolent Fund

Kathryn Jones, Ph.D.

Employee Assistance and Counseling Center Clinical Coordinator and Counselor III

Jeremie Kirkwood

Manager of Patron Services, Alys Stephens Center

Heather Lee

Director of Operations, Master’s in Healthcare Administration Program, School of Health Professions

Paula Blackwell Mitchell

Director, Business and Auxiliary Services

Michael Mosley

Program Director, Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway

Dorothy Ogdon

Assistant Professor, UAB Libraries

Ilias Perakis, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Physics

Cori Miller Perdue, Ph.D.

Director of Professional Education, Collat School of Business

Tina Kempin Reuter, Ph.D.

Director, Institute for Human Rights

Nicole Riddle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Nevette Sample

Instructor and Director of Administrative Projects, Department of Nursing Family, Community & Health Systems

Ryan Teel

Manager, Applications Architect II, UAB IT

Yuliang Zheng, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science