Howard Smith, Pittsburg State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, was one of 35 people chosen for the Executive Leadership Academy for 2020 to 2021.
The Executive Leadership Academy is a national program that will begin with two seminars in June in Washington, D.C. led by current and former presidents and chancellors as well as experts in key areas of presidential responsibility. Activities are also planned throughout the rest of the year.
“It’s exciting,” Smith said. “Anytime you get an opportunity to hear from other experts and get an opportunity to learn and grow, I think it’s fun.”
Since March, Smith has been a leader on PSU’s Critical Incident Response Team which meets daily via Microsoft Teams for discussions, planning and decision-making during the pandemic.
Smith has been a chair, a dean, and an associate vice president as well as a school superintendent and was a member of the first class of the Harvard Kennedy School of Crisis Leadership in Higher Education in 2009.
Smith’s primary responsibilities include oversight and leadership for the Academic Affairs units including the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Technology, Graduate and Continuing Studies, the Center of Teaching Learning and Technology and Institutional Effectiveness.
Due to resource challenges, Smith continues to lead all areas in Enrollment Management and Student Success, which includes the Center for Accommodations, Honors College, International Programs and Services, Intensive English Programs, Student Diversity Programs, Financial Student Assistance, Student Success and Office of the Registrar.
The world has seen many changes in relation to the pandemic and Smith thinks it will be beneficial to see what others have done and what changes they made during this time.
“… I’ve got a feeling… (with everything that has gone on in the spring) where (we saw) a lot of things that people hadn’t encountered before.., it will be interesting to hear other people’s perspective, how they handled situations and things they learned from it,” Smith said.
Despite facing an uncertain future with the COVID-19 threat, Smith is looking forward to interacting with others across the nation.
“Actually, I haven’t seen the full details yet,” Smith said. “I’m looking at it more from a broader sense at this point and just knowing that they’re going to have a number of people that they’re (going to) share… successful things that they’ve done and things that they’ve encountered. So.., it’ll be just fun to go through and have an opportunity to participate with some other folks across the nation that have different perspectives on things.”
The Executive Leadership Academy, cosponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Academic Leadership Institute, prepares provosts and vice presidents to be successful presidents.
According to the Executive Leadership Academy website, “By completing the program, participants will have acquired considerable knowledge, skills, and experiences that are germane to the portfolio of responsibilities and activities central to the work of a president or other senior-level leader.”
According to Smith, he is looking to amplify and build on the skills he already has and possibly learn new skills at the Executive Leadership Academy.
“I never say never to anything and I think anything that’s going to enhance my skills and make me stronger in the position I am plus be a support to our existing president will be helpful,” Smith said.