SEC selects three from Auburn University as 2014-15 Academic Leadership Development Program Fellows

Published: October 08, 2014
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY— Forty-eight faculty and administrators from Southeastern Conference universities, including three from Auburn University, have been selected as 2014-15 SEC Academic Leadership Development Program fellows.

The Conference named DeWayne Searcy, director of the School of Accountancy in the Harbert College of Business; Bret Smith, interim associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction; and Ana Franco-Watkins, undergraduate program director in the College of Liberal Arts' Department of Psychology as this year's fellows.

The SEC Academic Leadership Development Program (SEC ALDP) is a professional development program that seeks to identify, prepare and advance academic leaders for roles within SEC institutions and beyond. It has two components: a university-level development program designed by each institution for its own participants and two, three-day, SEC-wide workshops held on specified campuses for all program participants.

This year's workshops will be Oct. 13-15 at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and Feb. 18-20, 2015, at Texas A&M University in College Station.

"The one goal I have for the program is to learn from others," said Searcy. "When you assume the role of an administrator you soon realize the best avenue of resolving issues is talking with those who have walked in your shoes. The SEC ALDP program allows us to do just that."

"It is an honor and incredible opportunity to be recognized by the SEC ALDP program," said Franco-Watkins. "My goal is to gain a better understanding of academic leadership as well build a network of SEC fellows that will enable me to be successful in my future trajectory and endeavors."

"I am honored to be selected an SEC ALDP Fellow," Smith said. "Not only does the SEC ALDP provide the invaluable opportunity to learn more about academic leadership across Auburn's campus but also on other campuses in the SEC as well. It is a privilege to be in the company of DeWayne Searcy and Ana Franco-Watkins in representing Auburn University."

The SEC ALDP is managed locally by a liaison, individuals designated by the provost to serve as the primary point of contact on each campus. Liaisons lead their fellows through the year-long SEC ALDP and organize university development opportunities.

"The SEC ALDP, through formal workshops and on-campus activities, aims to provide future academic leaders the opportunity to learn and develop the skills needed to meet the challenges of academic leadership," said Peter Ryan, the SEC ALDP liaison at Mississippi State University and chair of the SEC ALDP.

Since its inception in 2008, SEC ALDP has graduated more than 230 faculty and academic administrators and program alumni have become deans and provosts at universities around the SEC and country, including Laurence Alexander from the University of Florida's 2012-13 cohort who is currently the chancellor at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The SEC Academic Leadership Development Program is part of SECU, the academic initiative of the SEC. SECU serves as the primary mechanism through which the collaborative academic endeavors and achievements of SEC universities are promoted and advanced.

For a complete list of the 2014-15 fellows selected by the SEC, visit

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