Provost Leadership Fellows: 2023-2024
The Provost Leadership Fellows (PLF) program selected five individuals for our second cohort. The PLF offers participants the opportunity to learn and contribute alongside the Provost’s Office Team in work that governs academic affairs at Northern Arizona University (NAU). Participants will develop and enhance their leadership skills by examining the day-to-day working and decision-making processes of academic affairs governance. They will learn about strategic academic affairs areas, develop their knowledge of current and emerging challenges in higher education, assess their own interest in university administration, and become better prepared for administrative roles.
During Fall 2023 semester, all fellows will spend at least 1-2 days fully immersed, shadowing vice and/or associate vice provosts across the following Provost Office Team’s sectors listening, learning and observing:
- Academic operations, policy, resource planning, student support services, and online and personalized learning;
- Curriculum and program planning and development, and graduate education
- Curriculum assessment, academic program review, and General Studies
- Faculty and academic professional policy and practice;
- Global engagement/affairs and international education;
- Statewide operations and programming for adult and non-traditional students, workforce development, and business partnerships.
At the end of Fall 2023, the selected fellows will work as a team to pitch a project idea to advance NAU’s Elevating Excellence. A team of representatives from the Provost Office Team will provide feedback on this project idea prior to implementation. The development and implementation of this program will occur Spring 2024, for a final campus-wide presentation April 2024.
2023-2024 Provost Fellows
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Educational Psychology
Dr. Sara Abercrombie is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education, and a President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow. Her scholarship examines contextual factors that affect learning and motivation, how to support learning application to professional contexts, and how to develop equitable, culturally relevant, and motivating instructional and assessment processes. She teaches courses on the psychology of learning applied to education settings, cognitive and affective processes, applied statistics, and research methods. Her funded research has examined how feedback qualities affect medical students’ learning, how to improve communication between educators and parents of children with disabilities, how adults support gender diverse children in education settings, and Indigenous educator’s professional development and language learning; and she has authored numerous articles for peer reviewed national and international journals. Her work in psychometrics and assessment includes consultation with the American Osteopathic Boards of Surgery and Family Practice, and the Department of Diné Education, Navajo Nation. She enjoys collaborating with colleagues from across the university, and is an affiliate faculty with Women and Gender Studies, and the Center for Science Teaching and Learning. As department chair, is motivated to support the academic excellence of all faculty and students, and she strives to create an environment that is inclusive, supportive and creative, so that all learners thrive.
Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Adaptive Western Landscapes
Dr. Liza Holeski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Adaptive Western Landscapes. Her research in plant evolutionary genetics and plant-animal interactions has received federal funding from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. Dr. Holeski has authored 39 peer-reviewed publications. She is the PI for NAU’s NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates site in environmental science and has mentored more than 45 graduate or undergraduate students in research. Dr. Holeski currently serves as the Senior Editor for reviews at Functional Ecology, and she routinely serves as an external review for national and international science organizations and journals.
Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training
Dr. Tarang Jain is a faculty in the Physical Therapy program at Northern Arizona University (NAU) with decades of successful experience in academia and health care. With background in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, Tarang is deeply committed to education and biomechanical movement analysis/neural control of movement. He has practiced physical therapy for 20 years, served in leadership capacities at both the national and local levels, and mentored students/colleagues for nearly 15 years. Tarang specializes in musculoskeletal care and regularly publishes his research related to identification and treatment of neuromuscular impairments for the purposes of improving rehabilitation outcomes. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Indian Association of Physiotherapy and has served as scientific reviewer for numerous research grant agencies, peer-reviewed journals, and conferences. Driven by positive thinking in the workplace and desire to serve his community, he takes pride in immersing himself to understand/meet the community needs. He is active in the Flagstaff community and is a recent graduate of the ‘Flagstaff Leadership Program’. He continues to be an active contributor to the profession of physical therapy and has been awarded prestigious honor given by the American Physical Therapy Association – ‘Emerging Leader Award’. In addition to his academic expertise and national/international perspective, he brings an array of skills/experience to the fellow’s role – a commitment to student success/access and experiences as past-member of the Academic Standards, Academic Integrity, and University Graduate committees as well as current faculty senate member. He further strives to hone his skills as an academic leader and help with the implementation of university-wide initiatives.
Department of Psychological Sciences
Dr. Ronda Jenson, is a Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, with a joint appointment in the College of Education. She is also the Research Director at the Institute for Human Development (IHD). She has nearly 20 years of experience working within the network of University Centers for Excellence in Disabilities, of which NAU IHD is a member. She came to NAU in 2017 and since that time has been instrumental in obtaining over $11 million dollars in grants and contracts. Her research focuses on ways of improving systems and practices that result in inclusive quality programs for diverse populations, specifically persons with disabilities. With a commitment to participatory approaches to research, her research typically occurs in collaboration with educators, community program leaders, state program leaders, and higher education program leaders.
Department of Philosophy
Dr. Luke Maring is an Associate Professor in NAU’s Philosophy Department. After receiving a PhD in Philosophy from Georgetown, and completing a postdoc at UNC Chapel Hill, he was hired to support the Department’s Philosophy, Politics, and Law degree—an interdisciplinary major that prepares students for careers in law, policy, and public service. His research interests are broad, including publications in political philosophy, applied ethics, moral philosophy, philosophy of sport, the philosophy of punishment, and the philosophy of forgiveness. Luke is currently serving as Department Chair and is eager to learn more about the administrative side of the University as a Provost’s Leadership Fellow.