by Rian Satterwhite
18 March 2021
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I am so excited to share that this August, the ILA will offer the first virtual Leadership Education Academy (LEA). I hope that you will consider joining us!
In 2020 we made the decision to cancel the planned academy. The decision to not hold an in-person academy was easy given the pandemic. The decision to not hold a virtual academy in its place was less clear. LEA took years to design and assemble. We felt that we owed it to ourselves, and to you, to take our time redesigning it as a virtual event. Since then, the facilitator team has been hard at work adapting the LEA experience to an exciting new virtual format.
We thought hard about how to utilize the online format to provide you the tools, experience, and depth associated with the LEA experience. As I think we’ve all found over the past year, this time of virtual everything affords us the opportunity to think differently. The LEA team has landed on a two-week format that will blend asynchronous content with six half-day synchronous sessions (Monday, Wednesday, Friday each week). This will allow us to integrate more practice and application in the experience than normally possible with only three-and-a-half days together face-to-face, while keeping the contact time about the same.
I hope you will consider joining us August 2nd – 13th, 2021.
Over the coming months, facilitators for this year’s academy will be writing to introduce themselves and share a bit about their experience and the new virtual format. Some facilitators are new, and some are experienced LEAers. All bring a set of rich experiences to the table. I am privileged to be serving as co-chair in such amazing company.
First, a little about me. I serve as Director of the Office of Service Learning and Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I also teach graduate leadership courses for Claremont Lincoln University. Over the course of my career in higher education, I have accumulated experience in undergraduate and graduate co-curricular and curricular offerings and online and face-to-face formats.
At UNLV, I have the privilege of supporting a dynamic group of professional staff, graduate students, and student employees all engaged in delivering what might be considered the four legs of our chair: (1) leadership development, (2) service & democratic engagement, (3) scholarship programs, and (4) academic service-learning across the institution. Our mission is to create curricular and co-curricular experiences for participants to discover self, learn in community, and influence systems while pursuing social justice.
Rewinding to 2003, I first attended an ILA conference as an undergraduate student under the caring and generous wing of a mentor, Nancy Huber. Even then, I knew I had found a home. Since that time, I have served as chair of the Leadership Education member community, co-founded and currently co-chair the Sustainability Leadership member community, and helped launch LEA.
Integrating systems and ecological literacy in leadership praxis is perhaps the best way to describe my scholarship. This work includes a chapter in the ILA Building Leadership Bridges volume Leadership 2050 (Emerald 2015) and co-editing the 2018 book, Innovation in Environmental Leadership: Critical Perspectives, which treats the natural environment seriously as a foundational context for leadership theory and practice. Most recently, I served as lead author for priority five of the National Leadership Education Research Agenda 2020-2025.
I’m a father of two, an avid hiker, and serve on the boards of Compassionate Las Vegas and the Alliance for Nevada Nonprofits. If you need tips about what Las Vegas offers beyond the casinos, I can help you out! It is a fascinating place.
So that’s a little about me. At LEA 2021, you can expect to find me talking about systems literacy, criticality, and sustainability leadership as fundamental considerations for any leadership education program. LEA does a great job of covering the leadership theories most commonly taught and utilized, but we also create space for and actively encourage critical interrogation of ‘the story most often told.’ How can we center social and environmental justice in our work? How can we include more marginalized identities and voices in our leadership education and development? Why are these voices marginalized in the first place, and what are the consequences of this marginalization for our learners? How can we use what is so immensely useful from the theories most commonly used but do so in a way that acknowledges their limitations? How do we create educational spaces where learners are empowered to critically engage with and develop, rather than simply consume, leadership praxis? These lenses are what I commit to bringing to LEA.
I look forward to learning with and from all who are able to attend.
Director, Office of Service Learning and Leadership
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Claremont Lincoln University
Co-convener of the ILA Sustainability Leadership Member Community
2021 Leadership Education Academy Co-chair
Rian Satterwhite, M.A., M.Ed., serves as Director of the Office of Service Learning and Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where they offer academic and cocurricular programs that help students develop critical leadership practices grounded in community, systems thinking, and the pursuit of social justice. He has served as Chair of Leadership Education and Co-convener of the Sustainability Leadership Member Community within the International Leadership Association, and co-chair of the 2018 & 2019 National Leadership Symposiums. Rian also teaches for Claremont Lincoln University in the M.A. Organizational Leadership program.