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CAVS Researchers, Du and Stone, Among 24 MSU Professors Who Complete Faculty Leadership Development Institute

May 11, 2021

MSU President Mark E. Keenum, front left, and Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan, front right, congratulate the 24 faculty members that have completed the spring 2021 MSU Faculty Leadership Development Institute. Pictured, front row from left, is Keenum, Sorina Popescu, Tonya Stone, Qian "Jenny" Du, LaDonne Delgado, Heidi Renniger, Alisha Hardman, Kimberly Hall and Jordan; middle row: Beth Baker, Angelle Tanner, Lyndsey Miller, Alexis Gregory, Ginger Pizer, Kristine Evans, Kathleen Sherman-Morris, Leslie Burger and Julie Jessop; back row: Amelia Woolums, Mary Love Tagert, Bindu Nanduri, Anne Marshall, Amy Crumpton, Suzanne Powney, and Beth Stokes.
Photo by Megan Bean
Mississippi State leaders recognized 24 graduates of the university's Spring 2021 Faculty Leadership Develop Institute during aan awards ceremony.

The group represents the largest cohort in the history of the leadership program, which is sponsored by the Office of Research and Economic Development and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. The program includes lessons on leadership styles, organizational change, diversity, building winning research teams, and organizational evaluation and assessment. MSU President Mark E. Keenum commended the faculty on completing the program and shared several of his own leadership lessons, including those he learned while working as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.

"Good leaders have to be courageous," Keenum told the graduates. "The mere fact that you are stepping up and saying 'I want to be a leader,' or you want to be the next administrator, director, associate provost, provost, or president is courageous. Whatever it is that you decide you want to pursue, or whatever responsibility you decide you want to take on, you have to have some courage to do that.'"

As part of the graduation ceremony, leaders from four different universities held a panel on underrepresented person in academic leadership.
MSU Vice President for Access, Diversity and Inclusion,Ra'Sheda Boddie-Forbes speaks during a panel on underrepresented persons in academic leadership. Photo by Megan Bean
The panelists included Margaret Amstutz, associate provost for academic programs and chief of staff at the University of Georgia; Ra'Sheda Boddie-Forbes, MSU vice president for access, diversity and inclusion; Jane Cassidy, Louisiana State University interim vice president for the Division of Equity and Title IX; and Karen Coats, dean of the graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi.

"We have to educate ourselves on how biases manifest themselves," Boddie-Forbes said. "As leaders, it's important to understand people's perspectives, their challenges and to be supportive."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Faculty Leadership Development Institute was adapted into a virtual format for the spring. During meetings throughout the spring semester, the group focused on women's leadership and professional career paths as they progress from faculty to administrative positions. Leadership training was provided by Claudia Fernandez, a University of North Carolina associate professor and director of multiple leadership institutes, and her husband Ruben, president of FastTrack Leadership, Inc.

MSU's Spring 2021 Faculty Leadership Development Institute class includes:
  • Beth Baker, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Leslie Burger, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Amy Crumpton, Interior Design Program
  • LaDonne Delgado, MSU Libraries
  • Qian "Jenny" Du, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Kristine Evans, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Alexis Gregory, School of Architecture
  • Kimberly Hall, Meridian Division of Education
  • Alisha Hardman, School of Human Sciences
  • Julie Jessop, Swalm School of Chemical Engineering
  • Anne Marshall, Department of History
  • Lyndsey Miller, Interior Design Program
  • Bindu Nanduri, Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences
  • Ginger Pizer, Department of English
  • Sorina Popescu, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Plant Pathology, and Entomology
  • Suzanne Powney, Department of Art
  • Heidi Renniger, Department of Forestry
  • Kathleen Sherman-Morris, Department of Geosciences
  • Beth Stokes, Department of Sustainable Bioproducts
  • Tonya Stone, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Mary Love Tagert, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Angelle Tanner, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Carrie Vance, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Plant Pathology, and Entomology
  • Amelia Woolums, Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine

For more on the Faculty Leadership Development Program, visit  

MSU is Mississippi's leading university, available online at'

By  James Carskadon