MACON – Mercer’s College of Professional Advancement on Oct. 17 held its latest recognition ceremony for Robins Air Force Base 78th Air Base Wing personnel who received the University’s Certificate in Leadership Development.
The 78th Air Base Wing is the host unit at Robins Air Force Base consisting of 2,700 personnel, uniformed and civilian, assigned to mission support, civil engineering and medical groups, a communications directorate, an operations support squadron, a comptroller squadron and 13 wing staff agencies.
Mercer’s Executive Leadership Program, recognized by the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) with the 2019 ACHE South Distinguished Program Award, was designed by Dr. Lynn Clemons, associate professor of organizational leadership and chair of leadership studies.
The program’s collaboration with Robins Air Force Base grew out of the interest of the base commander, and the six-week certificate program was customized with the assistance of Maj. William Rosado, Lt. Col. Jonathan Townsend and Maj. Paul Griffith of the 78th Air Base Wing.
The program featured interactive sessions focused on enhancing leadership skills and knowledge and included components on communication, conflict resolution and managing generational differences in the work force, among other topics. Classes were held twice each week on Mercer’s Macon campus.
“It is a collaborative effort between Mercer and Robins,” said Nancy Farage, coordinator of leadership training in Mercer’s College of Professional Advancement. “The participants are individuals who currently are in leadership positions or moving into leadership roles and who are eager to gain additional capacity for self-awareness and leadership.”
The sixth cohort of participants consisted of 15 leaders with varying job titles and duties at Robins.
“These are individuals who have been recognized by the base as having the potential to do greater things for the base and the community,” Farage said. “We aim to help them develop their own leadership philosophy.”
Staff Sgt. LaDarrion Holloway, an aviation resource manager, said the program helped prepare him for a new position at the base.
“I was recently selected for a new rank, so my role is changing, my position is changing,” he said. “I will be taking a bigger leadership role within my office and within my unit, so this gives me some more motivation and tools to be able to better articulate in regard to the vision and mission of my office.”
At the recent ceremony, Holloway, along with the other cohort members, were presented their certificates for completing the program and welcomed by Dr. Penny Elkins, senior vice president for enrollment management at Mercer, Col. Katrina C. Stephens, vice commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, and Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of the College of Professional Advancement.
“As I sat through this class, I was able to think about some of my past and present experiences at work and consider how I can implement these techniques,” Holloway said. “I will use the materials we learned in class in my shop to know how to better address needs. When you’re leading it’s not always about getting the mission done; there are a great deal of outside forces that you have to deal with. This class will help in all of those ways.”
About Robins Air Force Base
Robins Air Force Base is home to multiple missions under multiple commands all working together to support America’s defense. Major units include Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, 116th Air Control Wing, 461st Air Control Wing, 78th Air Base Wing, 5th Combat Communications Group and 638th Supply Chain Management Group. There are also a number of Defense Logistics Agency and AF Life Cycle Management Center activities here, as well as a number of smaller units and organizations which are important to the base, Air Force and Department of Defense.
About the College of Professional Advancement
Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement is committed to serving post-traditional learners. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary experiences that integrate theory and practice. In addition to providing general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer, the College of Professional Advancement offers degree programs in areas including technology, public safety, public and human services, leadership and administration, health care and liberal arts. Programs are offered on Mercer’s campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as Regional Academic Centers in Douglas County and Henry County, and online. To learn more, visit professionaladvancement.mercer.edu.