Middle Tennessee State University’s Brelinda Johnson and Daniel Green are among the 21 faculty and staff members from Tennessee colleges and universities selected to participate in the 2021-22 class of the Maxine Smith Fellows program.
The Maxine Smith Fellows program provides professional development, training and advancement opportunities for participants from traditionally underrepresented groups at Tennessee’s locally governed public universities as well as the community and technical colleges governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. Members meet monthly, starting this month.
In addition to the professional development of class members, the program stimulates increased collaboration among institutions, development of a statewide network for participants and overall increase in the diversity of ideas, thoughts and experiences within senior leadership ranks at Tennessee public higher education institutions.
College and university presidents nominate eligible faculty and staff from their campus for consideration for the program.
“Maxine Smith Fellows alumni have advanced to senior leadership positions, including seven fellows who have gone on to serve as presidents at colleges and universities in Tennessee and other states,” said Wendy J. Thompson, the program’s administrator and TBR vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness. “Many of them have said the Maxine Smith Fellows experience contributed to their success.
“One essential component of the program’s success is the continued support and engagement of college and university presidents, as well as other higher education leaders from across the state of Tennessee.”
Johnson said being a Maxine Smith Fellow “is a great opportunity. I am excited to gain more knowledge about higher education administration, collaborate with other higher education professionals and be guided by experienced professionals to increase my professional abilities.”
Green said the program “offers substantive and valuable career advancement opportunities. I’m honored to be selected for the program, especially considering its namesake, Maxine Smith, and its commitment to furthering her ideals of equal opportunity.
“I’m really excited about the facilitators who will be leading us this year. The individuals who have been chosen represent a diverse mix of backgrounds and experience, and I plan to learn as much from them as from the facilitated sessions.”
Barbara Scales, a former MTSU administrator now at Motlow State Community College, also was named a fellow. She is former director of the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students.
The fellows program is named in honor of the late Maxine A. Smith, who headed the Memphis Branch of the NAACP for 33 years and was a TBR member from 1994-2006. This year’s class is the program’s 15th group.
—Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)