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Women's Leadership Fellows shape the future of campus

Katie Cowart

The University of Georgia established the Women’s Leadership Fellows Program in 2015 to provide a selected group of current faculty and administrators with dedicated time to develop and hone leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities confronting research universities. The program specifically focuses on issues women face in academic administration.

Throughout the year long program, the participants will attend monthly meetings to learn from senior administrators on campus as well as visiting speakers from academia, business and other fields.

Since 2015, thirteen faculty and staff from the Franklin College have participated in the program and continue in leadership roles in their careers on campus. For 2021-22, five of the ten participants are housed or affiliated with the Franklin College and offer key perspectives on the program.

“After reading through the profiles of those selected for this program, one cannot help but feel honored to be joining this group of women. This experience will provide a unique opportunity to become better acquainted with faculty from units across campus,” said Susan B. Haire, a professor of political science and director of the Criminal Justice Studies Program, a joint program between the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public and International Affairs. “I look forward to learning about the experiences of administrative leaders at UGA and participating in programming that encourages us all to ‘think outside the box’ as we work together to address challenges facing higher education.” 

Haire’s areas of expertise include judicial politics, lower federal courts, and diversity and decision making. Haire has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation for her research on federal courts. Joining Haire in this year’s cohort, are campus leaders from across the Franklin College.

Jamie Kreiner is a professor and head of the department of history in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests lie in the mechanics of culture and narrative, and focuses on the smaller forces that shape ethical systems. Kreiner has received awards from the Medieval Academy of America, the American Society for Environmental History, the Society for French Historical Studies, the Agricultural History Society and the Whiting Foundation. She recently published her new book, Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West, which examines pigs and their impact on early medieval culture.

Hilda Kurtz is a professor and head of the department of geography. Her research interests include gentrification, environmental justice, and alternative food politics. Kurtz is a recipient of the American Association of Geographers Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award, the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers Service Award and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Diversity Leadership Award.

Carolyn Jones Medine is a professor of religion and director of the Institute for African American Studies. Her research focuses on Southern American literature and religion, with an emphasis on women’s literature and theories of religion. Medine is a recipient of both the Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorship and Excellence in Teaching Award from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am excited to be in this group of extraordinary women leaders,” said Medine. “I am looking forward to the shared wisdom of the cohort and in coming to understand the dynamics and concrete tasks of leadership, particularly in upper administration, and how women leaders can make unique contributions to the working of a place like UGA.” 

Meredith Welch-Devine is an assistant dean in the Graduate School and adjunct professor of anthropology. Welch-Devine’s research interests include political ecology, conservation and resource management, and climate change. She is the recipient of several grants from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this fantastic group of women from across campus, and I look forward to using what I learn to improve how we serve our students,” said Welch-Devine.

The Women’s Leadership Fellows were chosen from nominations from deans and other senior administrators as well as from self-nominations. The program is administered by Meg Amstutz, associate provost for academic programs and chief of staff in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

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