Engaging Faculty in the Future of the University
Silvia Blemker and Eric Carson are exactly the kinds of faculty members the University would like to retain. An associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Blemker is using advanced imaging and computer modeling to predict functioning of skeletal muscle, with the goal of improving treatments for muscle dysfunction, injury, and disease.
Dr. Carson is an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and a team orthopaedic surgeon for U.Va. Athletics, where he is responsible for the day-to-day care of injuries that can sideline these elite athletes.
It is because of these accomplishments and their work on University committees that Blemker and Carson were invited to participate in the University’s Leadership in Academic Matters (LAM) program. “Investing in the personal and professional growth of our best faculty members is a powerful way to retain them,” said Dr. Sharon Hostler, the McLemore Birdsong Professor of Pediatrics and founder of the program.
Blemker and Carson are part of a group of 30 carefully selected faculty members, one of two faculty cohorts that graduate from LAM each year. The LAM curriculum moves them deliberately through a series of topics ranging from team building to financial decision making, specifically designed to elevate their understanding of academic organizations and prepare them for academic leadership. “The major work of the University is done by faculty members,” explained Margaret Peña Harden, the program’s administrator. “It’s critical that they be well prepared.”
“LAM has been life changing,” Carson said. “It has helped me reflect in new ways about myself and my work. And I’ve been impressed by the people I’ve met through LAM who are so passionate about the University and its future.”
Blemker agreed. “I feel both inspired and replenished by LAM,” Blemker said. “The connections I’m making through LAM will help me be a more effective member of the University community.”