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Celebrating May 2017 Graduates

SSLS celebrated its 3 newest graduates this May! Congratulations again to Dr. Hall, Dr. Keesee, and Dr. Noland! As of May, the Strategic Leadership Ph.D. program now has 19 alumni!

Dara Hall, Ph.D. 

India Harris


Concentration: K-12 Educational Leadership

Dissertation Title: The Power of Feedback: An Indicator of Mentor Effectiveness during Student Teaching

Dissertation Committee:

Karen A. Ford, DSW (chair)           Strategic Leadership

Adam J. Vanhove, Ph.D.               Strategic Leadership

Michelle Hughes, Ph.D.                 College of Education, JMU

Abbott Keesee, Ph.D.

Abbott Keesee

Concentration: K-12 Educational Leadership

Dissertation Title: Buying Equal Student Achievement Opportunities

Dissertation Committee:

Adam Vanhove, Ph.D. (chair)         Strategic Leadership

Karen A. Ford, DSW                     Strategic Leadership

Roger Collins, Ph.D.                     College of Education, JMU     

Aaron Noland, Ph.D.

Aaron Noland

Concentration: Nonprofit and Community Leadership

Dissertation Title: Clicks, likes, and shares: Using the theory of planned behavior, self-efficacy, and impression management to predict digital activism activities

Dissertation Committee:

Karen A. Ford, DSW (chair)        Strategic Leadership

Margaret F. Sloan, Ph.D.            Strategic Leadership

Corey Hickerson, Ph.D.              School of Communication Studies, JMU

SSLS Welcomes New Students for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

SSLS is delighted to introduce our newest cohort of students for the 2016-2017 Academic Year! Check out their profiles to learn more about their educational and professional backgrounds. As with each new academic year, all current students and alumni will be invited to our New Student Orientation (date TBD) to have a chance to connect with our newest students, so be on the lookout for your e-invitation. 

Nonprofit and Community Leadership

Mohammad Abu Libdeh

Mohammad Abu Libdeh

Additional degrees: 

M.B.A Indiana University of Pennsylvania, B. Eng. Civil Engineering; Birzeit University. 

Current employment: 

Doctoral Assistant, JMU 

Organizational Science and Leadership

jim krauss

Jim Krauss

Research Interests:

Attributes of successful governing boards; corporate culture of teamwork; motivation within middle management

Additional Degrees:

Master of Health Services Administration, George Washington University; Bachelor of Arts in General Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University

Current Employment:

President, Sentara RMH Medical Center; Adjunct Faculty, Department of Health Care Administration, Mary Baldwin College

Truong Vu

Truong Vu Minh

Additional degrees: 

B.S., Business Administration - Organization and Innovation Management, Colorado State University; M.B.A., Troy University 

Current employment: 

Doctoral Assistant, School of Strategic Leadership Studies, JMU


Michael Speight

Additional degrees: 

B.A., Economics, University of Maryland, College Park; M.B.A/M.S.A, Ohio University

Current employment: 

Director of Development, James Madison University

Hunter Swanson

Hunter Swanson

Additional degrees: 

B.A., History, Longwood University; M.S., Community and College Counseling, Longwood University

Current employment: 

Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Services, James Madison University

SSLS by Numbers for 2016-2017 Academic Year

Student Presentations


Alyse Lehrke

Organizational Science and Leadership


Lehrke, Alyse. "Leading Work-Life Innovation: The impact of leader-follower interaction on follower perceptions of work-life practices in a virtual work context." First Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium (IPLS). Elysium Resort, Rhodes, Greece. 2016 May.

Paul Mabrey

Paul Mabrey, III

Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership

Mabrey, Paul, III. “Measuring the Change: Rhetorical Criticism as a Method of Accountability for Postsecondary Education Policymaking." The Graduate School Showcase of Scholarship and Creative Activities. James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. 2016 April. 

Andy Miller

Andy Miller

Organizational Science and Leadership

Miller, Andrew. "Social Media, Empathy, Narcissism in Leading Sustainable Organizations." Jaipuria Institute of Management International Conference on The Role of Social Media for Organizational Sustainability. Delhi, India. 2016 February.

Sam Nickels

Dr. Nickels

Nonprofit and Community Leadership


Nickels, Samuel. “Does the media create Stigma? A study from El Salvador.” Mental Health of America Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. 2016 June. 

Alumni News

Laura Trull TGS

Dr. Laura Hunt Trull was honored at the The Graduate School Awards Reception for being awarded the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences, Business, Health and Behavioral Studies category. Dr. Trull graduated from SSLS as a student of the Nonprofit and Community Leadership Concentration. Dr. Ford served as her academic advisor and dissertation chair. 


Donovan Branche, Ph.D.

Nonprofit and Community Leadership, 2014

Dr. Branche presented her dissertation findings at the Western Social Science Association's Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada in April 14. Dr. Branche graduated from SSLS in December 2014 from the Nonprofit and Community Leadership Concentration. Her dissertation was entitled Transformational Leadership and Resilience, African-American Female Nonprofit Leaders: A Mixed Methods Study. Dr. Ford served as her advisor and dissertation chair. 


Stephen Lambert, Ph.D.

Nonprofit and Community Leaderhship, 2014

Dr. Lambert will be presenting in May at the DRIVE Conference held in Seattle, Washington. The DRIVE conference is a gathering of innovative IT/data professionals from education, commercial industry, and nonprofit organizations. CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) will be sponsoring Dr. Lambert. His presentations are titled: “From Zero to Success in 50: Map Your Race to Predictive Prospecting” and “SPSS Statistics 2.0: Predictive Fundraising Analytics.”

Dr. Lambert will also be presenting in two sessions at the Data Analytics Symposium of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) International Prospect Development Conference in Nashville, TN to be held in July. 

Jody Fagan

Jody Fagan, Ph.D.

Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership, 2014

Dr. Fagan (Postsecondary, December 2014) was accepted to the competitive Leading Change Institute (LCI) Class of 2016! Congratulations, Dr. Fagan! LCI  is the  successor to the Frye Leadership Institute, and exists to engage leaders who seek to further develop their skills for the benefit of higher education. 


Nick Langridge, Ph.D.

Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership, 2014

Dr. Langridge's fundraising leadership at JMU was the subject of The Chronicle of Philanthropy's first installment of On the Rise. On the Rise is a new series which focuses on major achievements and leadership efforts in higher education and fundraising. The article about Dr. Langridge entitled "37-Year-Old Rises Fast to Lead Fundraising at His Alma Mater" is availble here.



Nonprofit and Community Leadership

  • Theresa Reimbold
  • Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley
  • Geary Cox, II

Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership

  • Natasha DuMerville
  • Paul Morgan

K-12 Educational Leadership

  • Abbott Keesee
  • Chris Rehm
LEAD 891 Externship Sites
Summer 2016 Course Offerings

LEAD 710 Advocacy and Volunteerism, Dr. Ford

LEAD 752 Organizational Transactions and Change Leadership, Dr. Vanhove

LEAD 760 Proseminar in Principles of Nonprofit Organizations, Dr. Sloan

LEAD 890 Advanced Leadership Dynamics, Dr. Ford

LEAD 891 Externship

LEAD 900 Dissertation

MBA 620 Accounting for Decision Making and Control

MBA 617 Accounting for Decision Making and Control

Fall 2016 Course Offerings

LEAD 700 Introduction to Leadership Studies and Ethics

LEAD 703 Special Topics in Leadership Studies, Dr. Pyle and Dr. Hawk

LEAD 752 Strategic Organizational Design, Dr. Vanhove

LEAD 761 Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector, Dr. Sloan

PSYC/LEAD 770 Assessment and Public Policy, Dr. Erwin

LEAD 800 Research Practicum, Dr. Sloan, Dr. Erwin

LEAD 890 Advanced Leadership Dynamics, Dr. Ford

LEAD 891 Externship

LEAD 900 Dissertation

Job Opportunities

President, Susquehanna University

Job to be posted at https://jobs.susqu.edu/ in early May

Assistant/Associate Director of Leadership Development and Programs, Longwood University (http://www.longwood.edu/assets/hr/FA029_Assistant_Associate_Director_of_Leadership_Development_Programs_2_16.pdf)

Academic Keys (for Jobs in Higher Education)

Achievements and News

Lisa Akers

Lisa Akers
Nonprofit and Community Leadership

Lisa was named a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND), a prestigious accomplishment which signifies having tenure in the dietetics profession, living the Academy's values, and commitment to continuing professional development, leadership, writing, speaking, policy and advocacy or research. Congratulations Lisa!

Roxy Allen

Roxy Allen
Nonprofit and Community Leadership

Roxy co-hosted "Leading into the Common Good: An Anabaptist Perspective," conference which was held at Eastern Mennonite University April 7-9! Check out this article to learn more about the conference which focused on the meaning of Anabaptist leadership in today's context:http://emu.edu/now/news/2016/04/three-day-conference-focuses-on-anabaptists-and-leadership-for-the-common-good/


Kim Hartzler-Weakley
Nonprofit and Community Leadership
Kim received $390 from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County to design and implement a three-hour workshop to train adults to provide knowledgeable and approachable support for youth to think about their futures and make healthy sexuality and relationship choices.

Nick Swayne

Nick Swayne
Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership

Nick has secured the following grants in March and April of this year:

  • $5,000 from Newport News Shipbuilding for support of the FIRST LEGO League
  • $2,000 from Showbest Fixture Corp. to support robotics programs in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Student Publications

Sam Nickels

Dr. Nickels

Nonprofit and Community Leadership

Nickels, Samuel. Arvaiza, N.A.F., & Valle, M. S. R. (2016) “A qualitative exploration of a family self-help mental health program in El Salvador.” International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 10:26, DOI 10.1186/s13033-016-0058-6.

Paul Mabrey

Paul Mabrey, III

Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership

Mabrey, Paul, III. (In press). The CEDA-Miller Center War Powers Debates: A Case for Intercollegiate Debate’s Civic Roles. Speech and Debate as Education for Citizenship. Penn State Press.

Liu, J. C., Mabrey, P., Rufo, J.R., & Miller, Ellie. (In press) “Synchronous ‘Elevator Pitch’: Teaching Digital Communication Literacy with Peer Consultation and Self-Assessment.” Unplugging From the Classroom. 

Faculty Publications


Dr. Sloan

Nonprofit and Community Leadership Leadership

Sloan, M. F., Charles, C. and Kim, M. (2016), Nonprofit Leader Perceptions of Operating Reserves and Their Substitutes. Nonprofit Management and Leadership. doi: 10.1002/nml.21207

A Vanhove

Dr. Vanhove

Organizational Science and Leadership

DeSimone, J. A., Harms, P. D., Vanhove, A. J., & Herian, M. N.  (2016). Development and validation of the five-by-five resilience scale. Assessment. Early view: DOI:10.1177/1073191115625803

Vanhove, A. J., Herian, M.N., Perez, A. U. L., Harms, P. D., & Lester, P. B. (2016). Can resilience be developed at work? A meta-analytic review of resilience-building program effectiveness. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. Early view: DOI: 10.1111/joop.12123

Vanhove, A. J. (2016). Answer: They’re everywhere and we know quite a bit about them. Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 9, 188-193.

Call for Papers, Conferences, and other Opportunities

Don't Forget! SSLS will be an institutional sponsor at ARNOVA this year in D.C.! Opportunities are available for students and alumni to volunteer at our exhibit table.

Volunteer information

Volunteer duties include

  • staffing the registration counter
  • directing attendees around the hotel
  • assisting with room set-up and sessions

Volunteers will work 4 hour shifts. Each 4 hour shift entitles you to attend a day's worth of sessions at no cost. Volunteers can work multiple shifts and may receive conference admission for multiple days. 

Recruitment begins in August! Visit the arnova.org conference page for more details. 

Don't Forget To Keep In Touch!

Attention Alums!

Please keep us informed on any professional and academic news that you may have! We are even happy to share exciting happenings that may be occuring in your personal lives (marriage, children, relocation, etc.). The entire SSLS community is curious about what you are up to these days, so please stay connected with the school! Email any news or updates to Brooke (rhodesbm@jmu.edu). 

Also, Brooke and Lori Pyle are creating student and alumni surveys together. The goal is to collect information so SSLS may make informed decisions when developing the SSLS Alumni Association and a mentorship program that will foster current SSLS student and alumni connections. Be on the lookout for the survey sometime in June. If you have any ideas you would like to contribute now, feel free to contact Brooke or Lori (pylelk@jmu.edu). 

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