Sharon Shannon, the Office of Online Learning Student Support Services and State Authorization Coordinator, was selected to participate in the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute (WSLI).
Launched in 2017, WSLI is an annual program that offers a select group of current University of Georgia employees the opportunity to explore their own leadership identities, develop their careers, and support one another on issues that women leaders face in higher education administration.
The program is administered through University Human Resources’ Training and Development with the support of executive sponsor Jennifer L. Frum, Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. Allie Cox, Director of Training and Development, and Emily Saunders, Senior Manager of Training and Development, coordinate the institute.
Every year, UGA employees who have leadership responsibilities and an interest in women’s leadership development are nominated to participate in WSLI. The nominations can be made by deans, vice presidents, or other senior administrators. Along with nominations, the one nominated must submit a personal statement and a current resume.
Due to the pandemic, this year's WSLI cohort was postponed which caused the first meeting of this year's WSLI cohort to be in April 2021 with monthly meetings through November 2021. “So far I have only been able to participate in the kick-off session which was amazing,” said Shannon.
This year's cohort consists of nine women across campus. “In addition to having an opportunity to meet with people in President Jere W. Morehead’s cabinet and President Morehead himself, I have the opportunity to connect with leaders across different parts of campus,” said Shannon.
Shannon was excited and honored to be selected for this year’s WSLI cohort. The criteria for being a part of the WSLI include someone who has leadership responsibilities and who works on campus. The broadness of the WSLI allowed for many to apply.
“The competition was pretty stiff, there are people who are in much higher positions than me who were not selected for this program and the pool of applicants was very big,” said Shannon. “Being selected was humbling but also a confidence booster.”
This opportunity was more than just a learning experience for Shannon. When writing her personal statement of interest, Shannon highlighted that she wanted this opportunity to pay her experience in the program forward.
“A big part of my desire to be in this program; aside from building professional and personal relationships, is to hopefully be in a position to help cultivate other leaders and provide access to the people, professional development, and resources I am receiving from this program,” said Shannon.
Shannon hopes to help online students by partnering with other departments on campus, specifically working with UGA Career Center and the UGA Mentor Program to find ways for online students to engage, participate and connect with faculty, staff and peers. “Being online, I think this opportunity opens up the resources that are available to me which I can make available for my students,” said Shannon.