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College of Social Work

Owens Selected for Prestigious Emerging Leaders Program

May 4, 2020
Chris Woodley • 

Developing skills and building a professional network is crucial for anyone in higher education seeking advancement in their career. Assistant Professor Shaun Owens will have the opportunity to enhance his skills and expand his network after he was one of 25 applicants selected last month for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities 2020 Emerging Leaders Program cohort.

“I initially learned about the program from a close colleague,” Owens says. “After doing some research, I realized that a number of college chancellors, presidents and other leaders in higher education have completed professional development programs through the Association of State Colleges and Universities. It is one of the premier professional development programs in the country.”

The Emerging Leaders Program is offered to faculty leaders and mid-career staff professionals who have shown leadership potential and a desire to advance to mid-level administrative positions. The program offers participants an opportunity to engage in a national dialogue with higher education leaders and experts, while completing a leadership self-assessment, developing a plan designed to help participants achieve their leadership goals, and implementing a project or initiative during the 2020-2021 academic year.

“The leadership training offered is unparalleled to any other program for someone who is relatively early in their career,” Owens says. “Therefore, it couldn't be a more perfect time to be selected to this leadership program, where I will have the opportunity to learn from and network with some of the top leadership officials from colleges and universities nationwide. People who have previously participated in Association of State Colleges and Universities training programs have gone on to become university presidents, chancellors, and vice presidents, so I’m honored to be welcomed into their network.” 

Owens one-year research project will focus on the efforts of the University of South Carolina to maximize its potential impact on statewide economic development and innovation. This includes best practices to facilitate collaboration across university entrepreneurship and innovation entities, and strategies to encourage the acceleration of student and faculty research and engagement of outside entities. Owens will share his conclusions with university leadership at the end of the fellowship, which will be used to advance the university’s strategic plan and propel system-wide initiatives to increase local and global economic impact.

“I not only chose this project because of my passion for entrepreneurship and innovation but also because this aligns well with the university’s strategic plan (Focus Carolina 2023), which prioritizes the acceleration of entrepreneurship and innovation as one of its focuses,” Owens says. “Per the strategic plan, the University of South Carolina is committed to increasing the number of new businesses, commercial ventures, corporate partnership, technology commercialization and start-ups. The university is also dedicated to growing the number of students who engage in entrepreneurship programming offered through the McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise and its many interdisciplinary partners.”

The Emerging Leaders Program was scheduled to begin with in-person meetings this month, but the group will meet online due to the coronavirus. Owens and the rest of the participants hope to meet in Washington for additional training in January 2021.

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