BB&T Center for Leadership Development

The BB&T Center for Leadership Development “advocates and facilitates the incorporation of leadership development as an important dimension of intellectual attention, inquiry and activity at East Carolina University and in higher education.” Founding Center Director, Dr. Jim Bearden, is retiring in December 2016 having served the University for more than 50 years. Dr. Dorothy Muller, Director of the Office for Faculty Excellence, will serve as interim director, beginning January 1, 2017. The center director works with a 12-member board to provide opportunities for leadership development at ECU. Important initiatives of the center include the Chancellor’s Leadership Academy, the Leadership Enhancement Fund Grant Program and the BB&T Faculty Leadership Fellows Program and the Active Learning and Leadership Development Program, which are partnerships with the OFE.

The Leadership Enhancement Grant Program is being revised and is limited at the present time to four college/school approved programs.

The BB&T Faculty Leadership Fellows Program (download Spring 2017 call for applications). Since Spring 2013, the Office for Faculty Excellence has partnered with the BB&T Center for Leadership Development to provide a semester-long program for faculty through a grant. This grant sponsors 12 leadership fellows who  meet weekly to consider ways faculty can develop leadership abilities of their students as they teach in their disciplines. The frame of reference for the work is Leadership Reconsidered: Engaging Higher Education in Social Change, a publication provided to all new ECU faculty. Fellows read and discuss this and other leadership literature, compile and evaluate ideas and strategies for incorporating leadership into college instruction, and implement ideas and strategies into their teaching. In spring 2014 three faculty leadership fellow mentors provided additional support to the program.

Leadership Fellows must be full-time faculty without administrative assignments. They must commit to meet two hours weekly in small groups and monthly with the entire group. They agree to engage in reading, compiling, evaluating, and developing strategies and procedures for leadership development and to begin incorporation of selected strategies into their teaching with the goal of assessing for any resulting increased capacity for leadership among their students. Upon completion of the program, fellows receive a stipend to support continuation of their leadership development activities. They are also invited to provide a program about their work for other faculty through the Office for Faculty Excellence.

The call for spring fellows goes out in the middle of fall semester and an information session is provided. The spring cohort begins in early January. Fellows are invited to continue participation in the fellows program after their initial semesters. Current and previous cohorts of fellows are invited to meet once in the fall and again in the spring. Work from the group is shared with the university. Questions about the program and the application process can be directed to Dorothy Muller, Director of the Office for Faculty Excellence (; 328-2367).

The frame of reference for the Faculty Leadership Fellows Program – from Leadership Reconsidered: Engaging Higher Education in Social Change:

“The capacity to lead is rooted in virtually any individual and in every community . . . each faculty member, administrator, and staff member is modeling some form of leadership . . . students will implicitly generate their notions and conceptions of leadership from interactions inside the classroom . . . A leader, in other words, can be anyone . . . an important ‘leadership development’ challenge for higher education is to empower students, by helping them develop those special talents and attitudes that will enable them to become effective social change agents.” See pages v, vi, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 19, 20, 21, 31.

The BB&T Active Learning and Leadership Incentive Grant Program (download Spring 2017 flyer). This program, which was initiated in Spring 2015, is offered in fall and/or spring semester with approximately 15 participants. The grants of $1,000 per faculty member are to support participation in a special project to study the relationship between active learning and the development of leadership capacity abilities as described in Leadership Reconsidered.

Qualities of Transformative Leadership

 Collaboration - ability to work in group setting
 "effective groups empower individuals"

 Self-knowledge - aware of own beliefs, strengths, 

 Shared purpose - ability to work with others to
 identify and/or pursue a common goal

 Authenticity/integrity - key to building trust

 Disagreement with respect - ability to recognize and
 appreciate individual differences and employ civility
 in interaction

 Commitment - passion, intensity, and persistence

 Division of labor - ability to work with others, divide
 labor, accept responsibility and be productive

 Empathy/understanding of others and the requisite
 ability to listen

 Learning environment - ability to embrace community
 that is respective and supportive of self and others

 Competency - knowledge, skills, and technical
 expertise required for successful completion of the

Active learning has received widespread acclaim as an engaging and effective strategy in collegiate education. In “Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research” (Journal of Engineering Education, July 2004, 223-331), Michael Prince reviews the literature of active learning and discusses the different kinds of active learning from problem-based learning to cooperative and collaborative learning. While the term is very broadly defined, there is some general consensus that “Active learning is . . . any instructional method that engages students in the learning process. In short, active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities and think about what they are doing.” Core elements listed in the various types of “active learning” include “cooperative incentives rather than competition to promote learning,” “significant amounts of self-directed learning on the part of students,” and ”emphasis on student interactions rather than on learning as a solitary activity.”  Active learning descriptions identify many of the behaviors associated with leadership development reported in Leadership Reconsidered: Engaging Higher Education in Social Change (Astin and Astin, WK Kellogg Foundation) and other work on leadership development. The purpose of this grant is to record and analyze the active learning activities used in 15 courses and the leadership qualities those activities promote or have the potential to promote.

Participating faculty identify active learning strategies used in their selected course, identify leadership qualities developed, document those teacher strategies (teachable moments and structured activities that enhance learning of content and development of leadership qualities), and analyze the relationship of the active learning strategies on the development of leadership qualities or their potential to develop those qualities. Journaling and video recording are used in documentation and analysis. The goal is to study the interconnectedness of active learning and leadership qualities development, the concept of every student as a leader,  and the role of leadership abilities in learning. The major benefits of this study will likely be to increase the awareness among students and/or faculty of

  • what leadership qualities are,
  • how they are important to learning in the classroom
  • how they can be applied in life, and
  • ways to embed them in all courses, but especially in courses using active learning.