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Education Professor Learns from Leaders at HERS Institute

Arpana G. Inman, professor of counseling psychology and chair of Lehigh’s department of education and human services, joined 67 women leaders from across the United States in the 2017 Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Institute this summer.

HERS is a nonprofit that provides leadership and management development for women in higher education. The 12-day residential leadership development program took place in July at Bryn Mawr College.

“Frequently, people are put into leadership roles with little guidance or training,” said Inman, who joined Lehigh in 2002 and has chaired the department since 2013.

“A leadership training such as that offered at HERS is all encompassing and provided me with an excellent understanding of the landscape of higher education as well as specific issues to consider in leadership roles. More importantly, it afforded me an opportunity to get to know Lehigh through the eyes of key chief officers and issues salient to being a leader at Lehigh.”

HERS has served the higher education community since 1972, preparing more than 5,000 women faculty, staff and administrators for leadership roles. At each of HERS's Institute locations—University of Denver, Bryn Mawr College and Wellesley College—participants gain the knowledge and skills needed to lead change on their campus and positively affect higher education.

Participants selected for this year’s cohort represented institutions across the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education, a framework for classifying colleges and universities in the U.S. The HERS Institute seeks a diverse group of women leaders to share and learn from their multiple perspectives under the guidance of women faculty from higher education, national organizations, government and foundations.

Institute sessions included Inclusive Excellence and Identity; Managing and Leading Change: Your Role in Reinventing Higher Education; Reframing Organizational Cultures; Fundraising, Philanthropy and Leadership; and Communications and Negotiation.

“Each component was comprehensive and allowed for a compelling and in-depth discussion and for understanding of leadership development,” Inman said.

“It was inspiring, consummate and a phenomenal experience. Moreover, it gave me an opportunity to develop and connect with an amazing community of empowered female leaders.”

Faculty and guest speakers included HERS Institute alumna Tammy Gocial, associate academic vice president of Maryville University; core faculty member Estela Lopez, senior vice president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System; Karen Dace, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; and HERS Institute alumna Pamela Gunter-Smith, president of York College of Pennsylvania.

“My takeaway is that we need to encourage more women to seek leadership training and take on leadership roles,” said Inman, who is president of the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17), a division of the American Psychological Association (APA) with a membership of more than 2,000 professionals and students.

“I would love to nominate female faculty or staff to the HERS training. Moreover, it would be wonderful to develop a leadership initiative here on Lehigh’s campus and to have Lehigh think critically on issues related to women in leadership.”

Inman has begun conversations with Lehigh’s ADVANCE initiative, which aims to increase the ranks of women in academic science and engineering careers, and with the Office of the Provost. She plans to present at an ADVANCE meeting soon.

Inman earned her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Temple University and was a Nehru-Fulbright Scholar in India at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience. Her scholarly interests include multicultural competencies and social justice in supervision and training, international psychology, South Asian immigrant diasporic identity and mental health disparities.

Recently, Inman received an award for Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association for her work with South Asian immigrant issues.

At Lehigh, she was awarded the College of Education Iacocca Professorship for her ability to support and enhance the mission of global leadership. Her participation in the HERS Institute was sponsored by Gary Sasso, dean of Lehigh’s College of Education.

“You do not need to be in a leadership role to be a leader,” Inman said. “Leadership can be exercised from any position. Leadership is about knowing oneself (self-awareness), about developing an institutional-systemic perspective, about advocacy for others, and bringing your values and passion to your role.

“I would love to see Lehigh take advantage of this opportunity for their faculty and staff to develop more home grown leaders.”

Story by Amy White

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