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MAC ALDP Fellows



Western Michigan University has joined with other colleges and universities in the Mid- American Conference (MAC) to participate in the Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP).

Meet our 2022-23 MAC ALDP Fellows  


The mission of the MAC ALDP is to identify, develop, prepare and advance faculty as academic leaders in the Mid-American Conference universities. The program provides an opportunity for WMU faculty to gain valuable knowledge and experience in academic leadership by working closely with select administrators from other colleges and universities in the MAC. 

Key outcomes of the program include:

  • Articulate the complexity of the structure and operations within an institution and across institutions;
  • Describe the impact of the external influences on the role of leaders in a higher institution. This should include, but is not limited to, federal/state regulations and mandates, accreditation, and community influence;
  • Identify best practices in academic leadership;
  • Assess one’s own leadership potential, including strengths and weaknesses, and identify leadership pathways;
  • Communicate the importance of inclusive excellence.

Up to four outstanding individuals are selected each year to serve as Western Michigan ALDP Fellows under the mentorship of the Associate Vice President for Teaching and Learning. The program has three basic, required elements: (i) a university-level development program led by the associate vice president for the selected WMU fellows, (ii) participation in multiple MAC-wide workshops for all program participants that will include up to two in-person meetings on other MAC campuses (as conditions allow), with the remainder to be held virtually; and (iii) completion of a portfolio that documents and allows for reflection of the experience. The workshops will address topics such as conflict resolution, budgeting, accreditation and accountability.

The goal of this program is to expose faculty who are interested in administration and those who have recently moved into an administrative role as chair or associate dean (within the last three years) to the challenges and rewards of institutional service and to prepare them for potential leadership positions within the academy. Whether or not a Fellow ultimately chooses to pursue an administrative position in the future, the program will, at a minimum, provide them with a better appreciation for and understanding of how universities operate.

Selection Process

  • May 24 application deadline

Academic Deans and the Executive Board of the Faculty Senate are invited to nominate up to two individuals for an ADLP Fellowship. To be eligible, a nominee must be a tenured faculty member. Master Faculty Specialists are eligible. Nominees are expected to possess strong leadership capacities as well as an outstanding record of achievement in their current and past positions, along with an expressed interest in administrative service. 

The nomination must take the form of a letter no more than two pages in length that describes the leadership qualities of the nominee and elaborates upon their contributions to the academic department, unit or division. Each nomination should be accompanied by an application completed by the nominee.

Deans and the Executive Board of the Faculty Senate are responsible for getting the following application material to the candidates they select.

The nominating letter and application should be submitted electronically:

Application Form

The application deadline is May 24, 2024, and decisions will be announced shortly after.

Fellowship Year

Throughout the year, the Fellow will have the opportunity to meet with the other Western Michigan Fellows and the Associate Vice President for Teaching and Learning to discuss relevant professional literature and to design a leadership portfolio to be completed during the spring semester. The portfolio will include several leadership artifacts, including leadership philosophy, CV and leadership goals. The goal of the portfolio is to assist the Fellow to reflect and gain insight on their future leadership goals. The MAC-ALDP Liaisons (who are upper level administrators in other MAC institutions) will provide input on the Fellows’ portfolios.

In addition, all Fellows are required to attend the MAC ALDP Workshops scheduled during the year. These workshops are hosted by MAC institutions and will follow a format designed to maximize interaction among the Fellows. Case studies, group discussions and other group activities will be incorporated into the workshops. All expenses for the workshops are covered by either the MAC or WMU.

Questions regarding the Academic Leadership Development Program should be directed to Dr. Jason Glass, Associate Vice President for Teaching and Learning, at


2022-23 MAC ALDP Fellows

  • After serving as a faculty member for a decade, I began my journey to learn more about academic leadership in 2018 when I was selected for the Academic Leadership Academy (ALA). I am thrilled to be a part of this year's cohort for the MAC ALDP as it will allow me to gain the knowledge and skills I need to continue growing and developing as an academic leader.

Glinda Rawls

Glinda Rawls is an associate professor of Counselor Education and Unit Director. She is a licensed professional counselor and holds a school counseling license in Michigan and has several certifications: National Certified Counselor (NCC), Master Career Counselor (MCC) and Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS). Prior to joining the faculty, she had clinical experiences as a college counselor at Western Michigan University and was a school counseling intern within Kalamazoo Public Schools. She held several leadership positions within the counseling profession. They include president of the Michigan College Counseling Association (2011), secretary of the Michigan Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (2011), president of the Kalamazoo Counseling Association (2008-10) and secretary of the Michigan Career Development Association (2007). Currently, she is serving as an accreditation site team member for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the accrediting body for Counselor Education programs and she serves a national board member for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Her research focuses on college students and multicultural issues in counseling. Her most recent publication was entitled "Bibliotherapy and Group Counseling with African American College Students: A Case Study Approach" and was published in the Journal of Specialists in Group Work.

  • Portrait of Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham

    As a 2022-2023 MAC ALDP Fellow, I want to gain a better understanding of how leaders at other universities are confronting challenges facing higher education. I also hope to discover ways that I can deploy my leadership role to shape and define my institution's priorities.

Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham

Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham is the Director of the School of Communication and an associate professor of English at Western Michigan University. She joined the faculty in 2005 after receiving her Ph.D. in 18th century literature from West Virginia University. She is co-editor of The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England (Palgrave, 2009). Her work has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals, including Eighteenth-Century Studies, Eighteenth-Century Theory and Interpretation, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and Philological Quarterly. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Innovative Course Design Award. From 2014-2019 she was chief negotiator for the WMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors and led the faculty in successful contract negotiations in 2014 and 2017. She currently serves as co-chair for WMU's Organization for Chairs, Heads, and Directors.

  • I am honored to be selected as an ALDP fellow for the coming year. As a lifelong learner, I am keenly interested in developing and enhancing my leadership ability and effectiveness in serving my college, department, faculty, staff and students.

Kelley O'Reilly

Kelley O'Reilly is chair of the Department of Marketing and professor of marketing at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business. Her scholarly interests include sales, service, and online decision-making. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals including Organizational Research Methods, Journal of Product & Brand Management, and International Journal of Qualitative Market Research, among others. Prior to academia, O'Reilly spent more than 20 years in retail and service franchise businesses holding executive positions at Fortune 100 corporations, including senior vice president of strategy and brand development, vice president of sales and marketing and vice president of advertising. O'Reilly is a Certified Franchise Executive with the International Franchise Association and is a champion of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

  • Having lived 25 years in Kalamazoo and participated in the community as a Professor at Western, a performing musician, a consumer of Kalamazoo culture and society, and a single- parent of a future Kalamazoo Promise recipient, I have found myself in a unique position to draw from and contribute those experiences in unofficial leadership roles. The MAC ALDP affords me an opportunity to explore the spectrum of administrative challenges and considerations, so that my visions might find course of action. Having the wisdom of insight — and even a "beginner's skill set" — will undoubtedly empower me to lead empathically and effectively toward more a more inclusive, robust, exciting community at Western.

Lori Sims

Lori Sims has been Professor of Piano for 25 years and has recently been appointed an Assistant Director at the School of Music. She was named the John T. Bernhard Chair at Western Michigan University, one of thirteen campus-wide Chairs in 2003, and she received the Distinguished Professor Award at the College of Fine Arts in 2020. Sims received her degrees in music at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, Yale School of Music and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany.