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Management & Leadership Institute

The Management & Leadership Institute for the Universities of Louisiana (M&LI) is a two-semester program for mid-career faculty and staff who aspire to broadened academic, professional or administrative leadership roles.

Program Description

The Institute will immerse participants in a program designed to maximize their effectiveness in management roles. Participants will gain a deeper understanding for effective leadership in higher education. They will learn how to develop diverse, high-performing teams; manage and implement change; analyze financial, student and market data; and identify and seize opportunities in the increasingly competitive market driven environment of higher education.

Program Structure

Nine two-day sessions will be held over the course of two semesters, with each of the Universities of Louisiana hosting a two-day session. Participants will develop leadership skills and competencies by exploring case studies, presentations, and readings; engaging in group projects identifying, assessing and addressing a system-wide issue; and fulfilling an extended mentoring/job-shadowing component.

Target Participant

The nominee should be one who has potential for increased leadership responsibility and achievement within higher education. Nominations for participation are submitted by campus presidents who recognize a need for an expanded pool of future leaders and want to recognize and encourage the development of designated colleagues to assume increasing leadership responsibility. Nominees must be willing and able to attend and participate in all curriculum sessions and other requisite activities.

Goals for Institute Participants

- Gain familiarity with contemporary challenges facing academic and administrative leaders.
- Deepen understanding of fundamental perspectives and concepts of leadership as they apply in higher education.
- Enhance personal and professional leadership competencies.
- Advance the UL System by leading a system-based group project from conception through completion.
- Increase understanding of important dimensions of higher education administration, including organizational structure and mission, governance, finance and budgeting, legal and regulatory issues, diversity and ethics.


Sharonda Hatter

Grambling State University

Sharonda C. Hatter was born and reared in the small town of Choudrant, Louisiana. She is now a resident of Ruston, Louisiana for the past 25 years. She is married to James Hatter, Jr., and has three daughters, three grandsons, and one granddaughter.

Sharonda C. Hatter graduated Magna cum laude at Grambling State University and Walden University. She obtained a Bachelor of Art in Paralegal Studies and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. She recently obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice from Walden University. She was employed as a paralegal at Gallot Law Office for over 16 years. She also served as the legislative assistant to the former State Representative and Senator Richard J. Gallot, Jr. She also served as Constable for Lincoln Parish Ward 4 from 2017-2020.

Dr. Sharonda Hatter later gained employment at Grambling State University as an Adjunct Professor in the Criminal Justice Department. She is now currently employed as an Assistant Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Grambling State University and adjunct instructor for criminal justice at McCann School of Business & Technology. Dr. Sharonda Hatter also serves on the Title IX Committee at Grambling State University.

Some of Sharonda Hatter’s accomplishments include, but are not limited to, becoming a member of Pi Gamma Mu, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABJ), National Society of Leadership and Success, and Criminal Justice Honor Society (Walden Chapter). She recently became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Sharonda Hatter’s goals, aspirations, and interests are to continue research relating to race/racism in America, police tactics and training, and Injustice/inequality. She is currently writing her very own autobiography

Shalena Johnson

Grambling State University

Shalena Johnson, Ed.D. is the newly appointed Director of Institutional Research at Grambling State University where she previously served as the Coordinator of Assessment since 2015 that entailed the collection and reporting of institutional data to state and federal agencies. Dr. Johnson has been an employee of Grambling State University for 11 years, serving in several roles. Before joining the Institutional Research team, she served as the Budget Analyst and Resource Analyst in the Title III Office.

A proud graduate of GSU where she recently earned her Doctor of Education, Dr. Johnson also received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Art in Teaching with a concentration in Psychology degrees as well.

Dr. Johnson is the founder of a nonprofit organization, C.H.O.S.E.N., LLC, a female empowerment group where she is extremely passionate about working with youth. She is married to Clarence Johnson III and the mother of six beautiful children: Kierra, Keon, Clarence, Dillon, Megan, and Morgan. In her free time, she loves spending time with family and traveling to favorite vacation spots.

Ceeon Smith

Grambling State University

Samuel Speed

Louisiana Tech University

Samuel Speed is the Dean of Student Engagement & Undergraduate Recruitment at Louisiana Tech University, a position he has held since April 2017.   Areas of responsibility include Admissions, Residential Life, Recreation, Office of International Affairs, Student Activities, Student Conduct, Spirit Groups, and Greek Life.  Before this role, Sam served as the Assistant Dean of Student Life.  Prior to this, Sam served in various roles throughout Student Affairs, working in Recreation, Residential Life, Student Conduct, and Information Technology for Student Affairs. In addition, Sam serves as a member of the Athletics Council, Administrative and Planning Council, Emergency Response Team, and a former member of the Faculty Senate.  Sam is also a proud board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Louisiana.


A native of Bossier City, LA, Sam earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Louisiana Tech University, a Master of Public Administration from Grambling State University, and is currently finishing his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Louisiana Tech University.  Sam and his wife, Dr. Coleen Speed, are the parents of three children: Genesis (student at Louisiana Tech), Samariah (student at Xavier University of Louisiana), and Myles (8th grade).

Zach Williams

Louisiana Tech University

Zach Williams is currently the Budget Officer at Louisiana Tech University. Prior to his current role, Zach served in various roles within the Louisiana Tech Comptroller’s Office and Athletic Department. He began his time at Louisiana Tech in April 2009 as the Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations. He transitioned to the University Comptroller’s Office as the University Bursar in June of 2011, fulfilling a number of roles until his promotion to Budget Officer in July 2018.

A native of Woodworth, La., Zach earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Louisiana Tech University and Master’s degree in Sport Management from Georgia Southern University. Zach and his wife Susan are the proud parents of two sons: Bennett and Hudson.

Sawyer Stiller

McNeese State University

Dr. Sawyer Stiller is the Senior Program Coordinator for the College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics (SEM), and serves as the Director of Grants Compliance in the office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs.

As senior program coordinator, Dr. Stiller works with the various departments within the college of SEM to help expedite administrative processes, such as advising of transfer students, processing grade appeals and other student requests, approving petitions and grade changes and many other activities. He also plays a role in recruitment by using marketing software to build flyers and brochures for the various departments, as well as serving on various committees to make sure that the administrative process is streamlined.

As director of grants compliance, Dr. Stiller works with various departments, colleges and other offices around campus to make sure that they are following proper grant procedures. In addition to assisting faculty and departments with the procedures for complying with grant parameters, he monitors and approves purchases and other expenditures using grant-based funds to ensure compliance with the funding agency, as well as the state and federal government.

Dr. Stiller received his doctorate from Logan University in April 2021 in Health Professions Education, he earned a master’s degree in Health and Human Performance with an emphasis in Exercise Physiology, and his bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Sports and Wellness Management for McNeese State University.

Kevin Martin

McNeese State University

Monique Crochet

Nicholls State University

Monique Crochet, a Thibodaux native, graduated from Nicholls State University with a Bachelor of Sciences in 1998 and a Masters in Higher Education Administration in 2000. She has held numerous leadership positions both in her professional career and as a volunteer in her community. Among those positions, she has served as a Career Coordinator, director of Continuing Education and the Alumni Director at Nicholls. Currently, she is Nicholls’ Executive Director of External Affairs. Monique participates in several community boards and professional organizations in which she currently belongs and serves in varying capacities, from member to officer. She loves her University and town and is looking forward to learning and growing from this experience with the Management and Leadership Institute Class of 2021-2022.

Andrew Kearney

Nicholls State University

Andrew Kearney, a native of Stanton, Michigan, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in 2007. While at LSSU, Andrew was a member of the men’s basketball team. He then entered the college basketball coaching profession, which eventually led him to Nicholls State University. Andrew moved over to the Athletics Department staff, where he served in various capacities, namely NCAA compliance, and graduated with his Master’s in Higher Educational Leadership in 2011. Currently, Andrew is the Deputy Athletics Director. His primary role is to assist the Director of Athletics in all manners concerning the department. Andrew serves in other roles on campus, including Deputy Title IX Coordinator, member of the President’s Cabinet, and more.The Kearney family are no strangers to the Nicholls campus. Andrew’s wife, Andie, is a faculty member in the College of Business, and also has a yoga business. Their five-year old son, Lincoln, attended preschool on campus and is often at University events.

Katarina Haymon

Northwestern State University

Ramona Wynder

Northwestern State University

Ms. Ramona Wynder is the Director of Clinical Practice and Partnership and an instructor in the School of Education at Northwestern State University (NSU). Ms. Wynder holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mild/Moderate Teaching and a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from NSU. 

Ms. Wynder is the 2020-2022 Freeport McMoRan Endowed Professor, with a research focus on the recruitment and retention of minority educators. She currently serves as the program coordinator for Call Me MiSTER, an initiative that was started at Clemson University in 2000 to address the critical shortage of teachers from diverse backgrounds.

Before moving to higher education in 2011, Ms. Wynder taught in the P-12 school system for 15 years. She is extremely passionate about teaching and learning and works to ensure that all children have access to quality teachers.

Charity Bryan

Southeastern Louisiana University

Charity Bryan is Professor and Department Head in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University. Prior to her appointment at Southeastern, she served at Kennesaw State University, Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette).

While at LSU, Dr. Bryan served as the inaugural Director of LSU Online and as Associate Dean for Distance Learning and Professional Education for the College of Human Sciences and Education. Dr. Bryan also served as Associate Professor Professional Practice and taught in the LSU School of Kinesiology. From 2006-2013, while at UL Lafayette, she served as Assistant Professor, Department Head, and finally as Associate Professor and Director of the School of Kinesiology. Dr. Bryan served as President of the UL Lafayette Faculty Senate and held the Vesta R. Bourgeois Endowed Professorship at UL Lafayette.

Charity is known for her expertise in children’s physical activity, online learning using new and blended learning models, and professional education. Charity is an active scholar in the areas of physical education pedagogy as well as distance learning and has published 22 national peer-reviewed manuscripts, 8 international presentations, 45 national presentations, over 75 state/regional presentations, and has over $250,000 in grant funding. As lead author, Charity and her colleagues received the 2018 Best Paper Award at the national Distance Learning Administration Conference and she recently received a $25,000 grant from Affordable Learning Georgia to support the use of open educational resources (OERs) in her sport psychology class.

Dr. Bryan received her undergraduate degree in physical education from Samford University, Master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the PhD from Louisiana State University.

Keonta Johnson

Southeastern Louisiana University

Keonta Johnson serves as the Assistant Director of Operations in University Housing at Southeastern Louisiana University. In this capacity, Keonta reviews housing applications and the application process to ensure best practices in the field of student housing. Additionally, she coordinates and supervises the front line office staff to ensure quality customer service and accurate completion of required tasks.

Keonta has worked in various departments on Southeastern’s campus such as The Office of Admissions, The Office of Financial Aid, The Controller’s Office, and The Office of Administration & Finance.

Keonta received both her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Social Work and Master’s degree in Counseling from Southeastern Louisiana University.

David Khey

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr. David N. Khey is an associate professor and Department Head of Criminal Justice at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has focused his research on a few areas in criminology, criminal justice, and forensic science. In particular, he is currently investigating drug policy, control, toxicology, chemistry, and addiction, as well as the changing evidentiary power of forensic science technologies. Born and raised in South Florida during the late 1970s and early 80s, drug policy and enforcement quickly piqued his interest. In this topical area, Dr. Khey has presented research on drug and alcohol use/abuse and provided policy analysis to local and state officials.

Dr. Khey holds advanced degree in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences with a concentration in forensic drug chemistry and doctorate in criminology, law, and society from the University of Florida. He has been trained in drug testing compliance and fidelity, methods of detection of drug testing adulteration, and the neurobiology of addiction. Dr. Khey is also proficient in the development of logic models to ameliorate alcohol and substance misuse and abuse problems at the community level. In this vein, Dr. Khey spent three years assisting several counties in North-Central Florida in obtaining and maintaining state and federal
funding to reduce the consequences of alcohol and substance misuse and abuse before taking an academic position at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has also been an active member on local and regional alcohol and substance misuse and abuse coalitions. He excels in bridging personality differences across law enforcement, social workers, academics, pharmacists, faith
leaders, and laypersons and has aided in bringing strong personalities together and aligning them to tackle common aims.

Kiwana T. McClung

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Kiwana T. McClung is a Baton Rouge, Louisiana native, and Associate Professor in the School of Architecture & Design at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. A graduate of the Masters of Architecture program at Louisiana State University, Kiwana has previously worked on a variety of architectural, renovation, and planning projects as an Architectural Designer with Coleman Partners Architects LLC. in Baton Rouge, LA., with emerymcclure architecture LLC in Lafayette, LA, and as a private contractor. She has served as faculty advisor to the UL chapter of NOMAS, the student organization for National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) since 2013 and serves on several committees at UL Lafayette. In 2016, Kiwana was awarded the ACSA Diversity Achievement Award for her work with UL NOMAS and for her efforts in increasing diversity within a school of architecture and curricula. She was also recently recognized by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as their 2021 Eminent Scholar in Leadership and Service, one of the highest honors awarded by UL. Kiwana has developed courses focused on social justice, equity, and diversity issues in the built environment; these courses are taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Kiwana is heavily involved in service activity and her biggest passion is inspiring and mentoring young student designers, particularly those from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds. Invested in exploring diversity and equity issues in higher education and the Architecture profession, and in developing methods to counter the effects of marginalization and discrimination, Kiwana’s active research endeavors concern the socio-spatial intricacies of our increasingly globalized and multi-cultural societies and how they affect the built environment, architectural education, and the profession.

Currently, Kiwana is engaged in research, scholarly projects, and collaborative design projects that address issues of race, equity, and the Black body in the spaces of south Louisiana. Her upcoming book, Through Mama’s Eyes: Unique Perspectives in Southern Matriarchy (UL Press) is a collection of essays from scholars around the country and a collaborative editorial effort with UL Ernest J. Gaines Center Director Cheylon K. Woods. The Provost Farm Agricultural Heritage Center and Environmental Green Space project is a partnership with the Provost Family in New Iberia, Louisiana that allows for critical investigation and design work by UL School of Architecture and Design students; work addressing equity, food insecurity, and the preservation of community heritage. The Provost family’s struggles with discriminatory loan practices and keeping their inherited farm land is outlined in episode 5 of the 1619 project. Kiwana is also engaged in on-going research concerning the spaces and places included in the Negro Motorists Green Book, a travel guide produced by Victor H. Green from 1937-1967, and intended to help Black and other minorities navigate the built environment during an era of extensive discrimination. Kiwana’s studies of the Green Book seek to reveal the differential experience of navigating the built environment for people of color, by creating virtual environments that highlight Green Book listings around Southern Louisiana, unearth the narratives that surround these structures, and reveal the compassionate ingenuity that gave residents of color safety in an explicitly unsafe time.

Jennifer Stephens

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr. Jennifer Stephens is the associate vice president for Communications and Marketing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Stephens guides strategies and programs for institutional branding, marketing, digital communications, internal and crisis communications, social and news media, trademark licensing and public records requests. She serves as the University’s chief communications officer, and is a member of the University Council.

Stephens has more than two decades of communications and leadership experience in public higher education. She comes to UL Lafayette from Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) in Lawrenceville, Ga., where she was deputy chief of staff to the college’s president. She served previously as GGC’s chief communications officer and as chief government relations officer. Prior to her role at GGC, Stephens was the chief communications officer at Georgia Perimeter College, serving 20,000 students through six metro-Atlanta campuses.

She is active in the American Council on Education (ACE), where she served as Georgia’s state chair for the ACE Women’s Network. During 2015-2016, she participated in the ACE Fellowship Program, a leadership development program that focuses on preparing the next generation of senior leadership for the nation’s colleges and universities. In 2014, she was selected to attend the Harvard University Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.

Stephens has a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education. She holds a master of divinity degree in biblical studies from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and in graphic design, both from Auburn University.

Chris Williams

University of Louisiana Monroe

Laurel Sampognaro

University of Louisiana Monroe

Laurel Sampognaro currently serves as the Director of Student Success in the ULM College of Pharmacy. In this role, she manages the admissions process and oversees the early intervention and remediation programs which affords her the opportunity to work with students throughout their time in the College. Prior to this position, Laurel has worked in other areas of the College including experiential education and the School of Clinical Sciences where she developed an ambulatory care clinical practice site. She is an alumna of ULM earning her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2004 and proud to serve this great institution and its students. She is an active member of several university and college committees as well as professional organizations. In her spare time, she enjoys quilting, embroidery, reading, and cooking.

Whitney Forstall Grandpre

University of New Orleans

Whitney Forstall Grandpré is the Associate Director of Alumni Engagement at The University of New Orleans. In this role, she oversees the daily efforts to drive alumni engagement through membership development, volunteer management, event management. Since starting in 2019, Whitney has largely increased alumni engagement through her very successful Meet Us @… Series, a calendar of (mostly free) events hosted throughout the city that we encourage UNO alumni to “Meet Us @”.

A native New Orleanian and a 2003 graduate of the Xavier University of Louisiana, Whitney received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration. After Hurricane Katrina, she returned to the University to work, first in the Office of Financial Aid as the Customer Service Manager and Electronic Award Coordinator and eventually transferring to work as the Alumni Relations Specialist in the Office of Institutional Advancement. In this position, Whitney was responsible for Alumni Chapter Development, Volunteer Management, Social Media Management, Fundraising, and Communications.

Whitney, along with her coworker developed and new class ring ritual and legend designed to bring back the excitement and the tradition of this rite of passage. In addition to alumni events, Whitney also works closely with the Office of Career Services to develop and implement programs designed to promote relationships between students and alumni through virtual mentoring, resume reviews, and networking events. These events continue to broaden our engagement and reach as they engage different groups of alumni nationwide each semester they are hosted.

Carol Lunn

University of New Orleans

Carol Lunn is the Assistant Vice President for Research & Economic Development at the University of New Orleans. Her department helps the UNO community succeed in creative, innovative, and scholarly research, and in her twenty years at UNO, Carol has built a team that focuses on customer service and compliance. They provide support, training, and mentorship for all research activities, and they generate opportunities for collaboration with external partners in the community at large. 

She and her husband are both first-generation students who met at UNO. Currently, she is working toward a Ph.D. in Planning & Urban Studies, and her dissertation focuses on environmental sustainability in higher education. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, listening to her daughter sing, and playing with the family’s rescue cats and dogs.

Chris Surprenant

University of New Orleans

Chris W. Surprenant is Professor of Ethics, Strategy, and Public Policy at the University of New Orleans, where he is also Director of the UNO University Honors Program and Founding Director of the UNO Urban Entrepreneurship and Policy Institute. His focuses on current issues in ethics and public policy, including the connection between entrepreneurship and human well-being; the importance of free exchange to the proper functioning of a free society, both in academic institutions and the community as a whole; and the role of financial incentives in shaping institutions and influencing public policy. His most recent book, Injustice for All: How Financial Incentives Corrupted and Can Fix the US Criminal Justice System (co-authored with Jason Brennan), argues that meaningful criminal justice reform requires recognizing the existing profit incentives connected to much of our current approach to justice and punishment, and then realigning these incentives so that they better aim at just outcomes.

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