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In this Issue...
Mark Your Calendar!

Monday August 20th

New Student Orientation and Welcome Dinner

Lakeview Hall

Tuesday August 21st-Thursday August 23rd

Stats Bootcamp

8/21-22 @ Lakeview Hall

8/23 @ Miller Hall

Monday August 27th

First day of classes

Thursday February 21st and Friday February 22nd

2019 Regional Leadership Scholarship Conference

Hotel Madison Shenandoah Valley Conference Center

SSLS News & Happenings

Dr. Sloan Receives 4-VA Grant for 2019 Leadership Scholarship Conference
4-VA Spring 2018 Grant Awards

Dr. Sloan received a grant of $10,000 from 4-VA at JMU! Grant funds will be used to support the first ever Regional Leadership Conference, hosted by the School of Strategic Leadership Studies! The conference will be held Thursday February 21st and Friday February 22nd at Hotel Madison Shenandoah Valley Conference Center. Save the dates and stay tuned for more details throughout the summer! The Call for Proposals will be released late summer-early fall to JMU, parternering 4-VA institutions, and other regional academic programs with a leadership, higher education, nonprofit, or organizational science/industrial-organizational psychology emphasis. Confirmed partners for the conference to date are George Mason University, Old Domnion University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

2018 Leadership Research Forum Recap


Dr. Ford and student attendees at the opening poster session of the 2018 Leadership Research Forum

The 2018 Leadership Research Forum was held on Friday February 23rd this year at Lakeview Hall. Occurring on an annual basis since 2014, The Research Forum primarily showcased the dissertation research of SSLS alumni in past years. This year's event opened with a poster session giving current students the opportunity to share completed or nearly completed research projects with the SSLS community. 

Thank you to our students that particiapted in the poster session this year! Our poster presenters included:

Kyle McCarrell (Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership)

"Factors within the Community College Survey of Student Engagement"

Adam J. Vanhove, Ph.D. (Assitant Professor, Organizational Science and Leadership), Tiffany Brutus (Organizational Science and Leadership), and Kristin A. Sowden (Organizational Science and Leadership)

"Psychosocial Health Prevention Programs in Military Organizations: A Quantitative Review of the Evaluative Rigor Evidence"

Adam J. Vanhove, Ph.D., Andrew D. Miller (Organizational Science and Leadership), and Peter Harms (University of Alabama)

"Unemployed and Turking: Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a Viable Source for Unemployment Research?"

Adam Vanhove, Ph.D. and Adam Lindberg (Organizational Science and Leadership)

"Free Agent Spending and Team Success in Major League Baseball:  Implications for Talent Management “Make” versus “Buy” Decisions"

Margaret F. Sloan, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Nonprofit and Community Leadership), Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley (Nonprofit and Community Leadership), Lindsay Miller-King (Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership), and Lisa Akers, Ph.D. (Nonprofit and Community Leadership)

"Testing the Influence of Public Motivation Theory and Transformational Leadership on Nonprofit Employee Satisfaction: A Structural Equation Analysis"

Hunter Swanson (Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership)

"Predictors of Alumni Giving in the First Year Post- Graduation"

ssls alumni at research forum

Left to right Alumni Dissertation presenters Dr. Terry Fernsler, Dr. Heather Strine-Patterson, and Dr. Chris Rehm answer questions during a Q&A panel

Recent Strategic Leadership alumni returned to share their dissertation research with the SSLS community. Each program graduate presented their dissertation research and findings individually. Two Question and Answer sessions facilitated further discussion between dissertation presenters and attendees.

Thank you again to our Alumni Dissertation presenters that returned to share their dissertation and experiences with the SSLS Community! This year's dissertation presenters included:

Roxy Allen Kioko, Ph.D. (Nonprofit and Community Leadership, 2017)

“Beyond Beneficiaries of Corporate Philanthropy: The Practice of Corporate Social Responsibility in Nonprofit Firms”

Terry Fernsler, Ph.D.  (Nonprofit and Community Leadership, 2017)

“Developmental Evaluation:  Complexity Leadership Theory in Practice A Mixed Methods Study”

Heather Strine-Patterson, Ph.D. (Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership, 2017)

“The Impact of Student Leadership Engagement on Meaning in Life and Work during College”

Christopher Rehm, Ph.D. (K-12 Educational Leadership, 2017)

“Leader Self‐Efficacy in Youth Leader Development: A Mixed Methods Study”

Abbott Keesee, Ph.D. (K-12 Educational Leadership, 2017)

“Buying Equal Student Achievement Opportunities”

Seven New Students to Join SSLS Fall 2018

Meet our newest cohort! Seven new students will be joining SSLS this fall. Be sure to give them a warm welcome at this year's New Student Orientation and Welcome Dinner which will be held Monday August 20th at Lakeview Hall.

Kurt Davies

Kurt Davies

Kiah DeVona

Kiah DeVona

Brooke Z. Graham

Brooke Z. Graham

Cover Heishman

Cover Heishman

Joe Loyacano

Joe Loyacano

Whitney Tate

Whitney Tate

Morgan Veyna

Morgan Veyna

May 2018 Graduate

Kim Hartzler-Weakley, Ph.D.

Kim Hartzler-Weakley, Ph.D.

Dissertation Title: Examining the impact of transformational and transactional leadership style on work attitudes, motivation, and work outcomes in nonprofit organizations

Dissertation Committee:

Margaret F. Sloan, Ph.D. (chair)           Strategic Leadership

Karen A. Ford, DSW                            Strategic Leadership

Adam J. Vanhove, Ph.D.                      Strategic Leadership

Alumni News

Dara M. Hall, Ph.D.
Dara Hall Ph.D.

Dr. Dara Hall’s dissertation, “The Power of Feedback: An Indicator of Mentor Effectiveness during Student Teaching,” was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Dissertation in Teacher Education Award! Dr. Hall presented her dissertation research at the 2018 Association of Teacher Educators Annual Meeting in February of 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. 

Aaron Noland, Ph.D.

Aaron Noland, Ph.D.

Dr. Noland's article Social Media Activists: Analyzing the Relationship between Online Activism and Offline Attitudes and Behaviors was published in The Journal of Social Media and Society in December 2017!

Noland, A. (2017). Social Media Activists: Analyzing the Relationship between Online Activism and Offline Attitudes and Behaviors. The Journal of Social Media in Society, 6(2), 26-55. Retrieved from

Sam Nickels, Ph.D.

Sam Nickels, Ph.D.

Dr. Nickels was appointed Executive Director of Our Community Place February 1st of this year! Our Community Place is a Harrisonburg nonprofit committed to providing meals, support, and resources to members of the community facing difficult life circumstances. Learn more about Our Community Place and how you can help:

Over the last year, Dr. Nickels consulted on 8 legal cases and provided oral testimony on 3 as a "country conditions expert" on mental health systems in Central America to help prevent mentally incompetent persons from being deported by the U.S. government based on asylum and convention on torture laws.

In March, Dr. Nickels led a professionals learning tour of El Salvador's mental health system for immigration lawyers, clinical psychologists and social workers.

Terry S. Fernsler, Ph.D.
Terry Fernsler, Ph.D.

Dr. Terry Fernsler (recent graduate of our Nonprofit Concentration) presented his paper entitled "Nonprofit Leadership in Complex Adaptive Systems: Preparing for Leadership in Mult-Sectoral Networks and Emergent Systems" at Pennsylvania Sociological Society's 1st Annual Pennsylvania Leadership Studies Conference in April! The paper explores leadership characteristics in an applied complex adaptive social setting.  Utilizing a qualitative instrument developed for the study, leadership characteristics were identified using Complexity Leadership Theory as a basis.  These characteristics help practitioners understand the challenges of leading in complex systems and help them operate more effectively in uncertain and ambiguous conditions. 

 Fernsler, T. (2018, April). Nonprofit Leadership in Complex Adaptive Systems: Preparing for Leadership in Mult-Sectoral Networks and Emergent Systems. Paper presented at Pennsylvania Sociological Society's 1st Annual Pennsylvania Leadership Studies Conference, Dixon University Center, Harrisburg PA.

Paul Mabrey, III, Ph.D.

Paul Mabrey, III, Ph.D.


Richards, K. & Mabrey III, P.E. (2018) “College Debate Community Climate: Data form the 2014 and 2015 College Policy Debate Survey.” Speaker & Gavel, 44-52.

Brigham, M.P. & Mabrey III, P.E. (2018) “’Homeland Security: Fighting Terrorism Since 1492’: A public Chrono-Controversy.” Decolonizing Native American Rhetoric: Communicating Self-Determination. Peter Lang Publishing. 

Conference Presentations:

Conis, A., Clay, M., & Mabrey III, P.E. (2018, April). “Debate across the curriculum as engaged learning: A Communication Center case study with exceptional education.” National Association of Communication Centers Conference, Harrisonburg, VA. 

Mabrey III, P.E. (2018, April). “Strategies for Forming & Publishing Communication Research: Perspectives from Authors and Editors.” National Association of Communication Centers Conference, Harrisonburg, VA. 

Mabrey, III, P.E. (2018, April) Argument Education in Higher Education: Preliminary Validity and Reliability Evidence for an Argumentation Assessment Instrument. Presentation at the Southern States Communication Association, Nashville, TN. * Top Faculty Paper for Argumentation & Forensics

Burnett, A., Mabrey III, P.E., & Mitchell, T. (2017, October) Digital Literacy in the 21st Century: Learning outcomes, competencies, and skills. Presentation at the Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference, Harrisonburg, VA.

Hornsby, G. & Mabrey III, P.E. (2017, October) Flipping the Group Project Presentation. Presentation at the Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference, Harrisonburg, VA.


Hosted 150+ faculty and students from across the U.S. for the National Association of Communication Centers annual conference April 20-21, 2018 at James Madison University. The theme for the conference was “Communication as Engagement.”

Faculty News

Dr. Ford
Dr. Karen Ford

SSLS Program Director Dr. Karen Ford is the recipient of Howard University's 2018 lnabel Burns Lindsay Social Work Education Leadership Award! She is the 7th person to receive this award that honors Howard University social work graduates who exemplify the educational leadership of its founding dean. Through her scholarship, Dr. Ford has highlighted the historically important contributions of African American leaders like Dr. Janie Porter Barrett and has been a champion of juvenile justice and contributed to the understanding of the importance of race in public policy through her teaching and activism. In addition to her scholarly and professional work, Dr. Ford is receiving this award for being a distinguished alumna of Howard University, "second to none in promoting the Black Perspective." 

JMU's College of Business recently selected Dr. Ford as a Foundation Faculty Fellow for exemplifying the values of the College of Business: integrity, intellectual growth, community, engagement, innovation/collaboration. This appointment is active for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years. 

Congratulations, Dr. Ford on your recent accomplishments and recognitions! 

Dr. Sloan

Margaret Sloan, Ph.D.

Dr. Sloan was awarded a scholarly research grant as Principal Investigator from ASAE The Center for Association Leadership for her research project "Willingness to Donate: Are membership dues a substitute for donations?" Dr. Cleopatra Charles (Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration Newark) is the Co-Investigator of the project. “The research will address questions about the relationship between donations and membership dues, and how advocacy efforts might be increased among associations. Both topics will provide valuable information for our community, and we look forward to sharing the results,” said ASAE Executive Vice President and ASAE Foundation President Susan Robertson, CAE.

Dr. Sloan Promoted to Full Professor for 2018-19 Academic Year

Margaret Sloan, Ph.D.

Many congratulations to Dr. Margaret Sloan on her promotion to Full Professor of Leadership Studies!

Since joining SSLS in 2012, Dr. Sloan has instructed Nonprofit and Community Leadership courses and the first course in the SSLS currciulum- LEAD 700: Introduction to Leadership Studies and Ethics. Dr. Sloan has also served SSLS as the Advisor to the Nonprofit Concentration, and has chaired and served on numerous dissertation committees. Since coming to JMU, Dr. Sloan has presented at over eleven regional and national conferences and has had thirteen publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Sloan is also an active member of 4 professional organizations, and serves the community through providing consultation services to local nonprofit organizations. 

Dr. Sloan's teaching philosophy of "creating a positive dialogue with students through coursework and research" shines through in her classroom instruction, and the support she provides to students in and out of the classroom. She is a vital and integral part of SSLS and our department certainly would not be the same without her presence and efforts!

Congratulations again on your well-deserved promotion, Dr. Sloan! We look forward to seeing all you will achieve in the future as a scholar-practitioner of leadership studies! 

Dr. Selznick
Benjamin Selznick, Ph.D.

Conference Acceptances:

Mayhew, M.J., Selznick, B.S., Zhang, L., Bock, C., Dilmetz, D. (2018): How do student innovation capacities develop differently based on national educational systems – a comparison between US and Germany. Conference on “Higher Education in Modern Ecosystems: Efficiency, Society and Policies”. Augsburg, Germany, March 12th-14th 2018.

Conference Presentations:

Selznick, B.S. & Gravett, E. (2018): Appreciating Religious Diversity and Worldview Identity Development in the Undergraduate Context. Presented at 2018 JMU Diversity Conference. Harrisonburg, VA, March 14th 2018.

Selznick, B.S. & Morin, S. (2018). Research Use in Higher Education: Charting a Path. Presented at AERA conference. New York City, NY, April 13-17, 2018.

Selznick, B.S. & Mayhew, M.J. (2018). Cultivating Innovation Capacities Among Undergraduate Seniors: An Empirical Approach. Presented at AERA conference. New York City, NY, April 13-17, 2018.


Mayhew, M.J. & Selznick, B.S. (2018). Why double-majors might beat you out of a job. The Conversation.

Selznick, B.S. & Schafer, D. (2017). Online Higher Education and Axel Honneth’s Social Freedom. Contemporary Issues in Higher Education, 40(1), 6-20.

Research Mentions in the News:

  • Dr. Ben Selznick and Dr. Matthew J. Mayhew of The Ohio State University were quoted in the article "Colleges Have Spent Big Money on Innovation Centers. Do They Work?" published March 30, 2018 in Chronicle of Higher Education. Read the full article by Julian Wyllie here.
  • Education Dive's online article "Are campus innovation centers serving all students?" by Jarrett Carter published April 2, 2018 referenced The Chronicle of Higher Education article quoting Selznick & Mayhew.
  • Business Insider and Higher Ed Jobs Republished Dr. Mayhew and Dr. Seznick's article "Why double-majors might beat you out of a job," originally published on
  • Dr. Selznick discusses his collaborative research led by Dr. Matthew Mayhew of The Ohio State University and Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach of North Carolina State University exploring how and why political worldviews of students change throughout their college experience in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Madison Magazine. Read the article Indoctrination or Insight? (written by Jan Gillis).

Dr. Vanhove

Adam J. Vanhove, Ph.D.

Recently presented at SIOP: 

Thornton, G. C. III, Rupp, D. E., Gibbons, A. M., & Vanhove, A. J. (2018). Same-gender and same-race bias in assessment center ratings: A rating error approach. In P. Ingold and B. J. Hoffman (Chairs), The AC, you, and me: Insights from an interpersonal perspective. Symposium conducted at the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Chicago, IL. 

Vanhove, A. J., & **Lindberg, A. E. (2018, April). Free agent spending and team success: Implications for “make” versus “buy” decisions. Poster presented at the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Chicago, IL.

**In Collaboration with Organizational Science and Leadership student Adam Lindberg (also mentioned in Student News)

Accepted for presentation at the upcoming Academy of Management conference:

Vanhove, A. J., **Miller, A. D., & Harms, P. D. (2018, August). Unemployed and turking: Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a viable source for unemployment research? Presentation presented at the Academy of Management, Chicago, IL.

**In Collaboration with Organizational Science and Leadership student Andy Miller (also mentioned in Student News)

Accepted for Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication:

Vanhove, A. J., **Brutus, T., & **Sowden, K. A. (in press). Psychological health prevention programs in military organizations: A quantitative review of the evaluative rigor evidence. Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being.

 **In Collaboration with Organizational Science and Leadership Students Tiffany Brutus and Kristin Sowden (also mentioned in Student News)

Collaborative Faculty Research Projects
ISTR logo

Dr. Sloan and Dr. Ford will be presenting "Spanish Civil Society: Influences and Advancement" at the 13th International Conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) in July! The conference is hosted by the Philanthropic Studies Department of VU University Amsterdam. The study will explore how Spanish nonprofit leaders view civil society.



Nonprofit and Community Leadership

  • Theresa Reimbold
  • Geary Cox, II

Postsecondary Analysis and Leadership

  • Natasha DuMerville
  • Paul Morgan
  • Cathy Snyder
  • Jonathan Stewart
  • Lindsay King
  • Wendy Lushbaugh

K-12 Educational Leadership

  • Greg Harris
LEAD 891 Externship Organization Sites
Alyse Lehrke (Organizational Science) Organizational Effectiveness Strategies
Matt Lovesky (Postsecondary) College Promise Campaign
Kyle McCarrell (Postsecondary) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Nick Swayne (Postsecondary) Carnegie Mellon University
Zach Yoder (Postsecondary) Office of Data Analytics, University of Colorado Boulder
Adam Lindberg (Organizational Science) Plaid Consulting 
Summer 2018 Course Offerings

LEAD 703 Multivariate Statistics, Dr. Vanhove

LEAD 754 Organizational Accountability, Dr. Vanhove

LEAD 762 Organizational Board Governance, Dr. Sloan

LEAD 890 Advance Leadership Dynamics, Dr. Ford

LEAD 891 Externship, Dr. Ford

LEAD 900 Dissertation, Ford, Selznick, Sloan, and Vanhove

Fall 2018 Course Offerings

LEAD 700 Introduction to Leadership Studies and Ethics, Dr. Vanhove

LEAD 705 Advanced Research Methods in Leadership Studies, Dr. Sloan

LEAD 740 Foundations of Postsecondary Education, Dr. Selznick

LEAD 751 Organizational Behavior and Leadership, Dr. Vanhove

LEAD 763 Philanthropy and Resource Development, Dr. Sloan

LEAD 900 Dissertation

Student News

JMU X-Labs, Nick Swayne in New York Times

Nick Swayne Fueled JMU X-Labs

JMU X-Labs was mentioned in The New York Times article "Pop-Ups Offer Classes on Today’s Hot Topics" (Abbye Ellin, April 5, 2018) for its STEM focused pop-up classes among other institutions offering pop-up courses such as Stanford, St. Michael's College, and Bennington College. The Drone Quidditch Pop-Up was mentioned, specifically, quoting Nick Swayne on the purpose of the course:

“It’s designed to expose them to lightweight drones and the opportunity to take the full drone class where they learn how to use drones to solve real-world problems... We will also have small model rockets available for students to try. These rockets are used extensively by our geology department to increase student interest in atmospheric studies.”

In addition to being a doctoral student in our program, Nick serves as the Executive Director of 4-VA and the founding director of JMU's X-Labs.


2018 Graduate Showcase

Three SSLS students had posters accepted to the JMU Graduate School's 2018 Graduate Showcase:

  • Kyle McCarrell (Postsecondary Concentration), “Factors within the Community College Survey of Student Engagement” 
  • Andrew D. Miller (Organizational Science), “Unemployed and Turking: Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a Viable Source for Unemployment Research?”
  • Truong "Raymond" Vu (Organizational Science), “The Impact of Income and Education to the Perception of Democracy in Vietnam"

Kyle McCarrell's work was selected as one of the top posters of the 2018 Graduate Showcase. Congratulations Kyle!

Andrew Miller at JMU Graduate Showcase

Andrew Miller pictured with Laura Ryman (Director of Student Support, The Graduate School)

Truong Raymond Vu at Graduate Showcase

Truong "Raymond" Vu (right) speaking with another Grad Showcase attendee

Kyle McCarrell and Benjamin Selznick, Ph.D.

Kyle McCarrell (left) pictured with Academic Advisor and Project Supervisor Dr. Benjamin Selznick (right)

Student Presentations

Alyse Lehrke

Alyse Lehrke

Alyse Lerhke presented at The 33rd Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP 2018) in April. Alyse was a presenter in the panel "Creating Space at Work for Women Leaders: An Organizational Learning Perspective" which focused on strategies to help organizations reframe approaches to work practices and leadership development to encourage a diverse and sustainable workforce. 

Alyse was also awarded a Regional Travel Grant by The Graduate School for her presentation at SIOP 2018!

Adam Lindberg

Adam Lindberg

Dr. Vanhove and Adam Lindberg's poster "Free Agent Spending and Team Success: Implications for “Make” Versus “Buy” Decisions" was accepted for presentation at SIOP 2018. The poster examined the relationship between talent buying and organizational performance with Major League Baseball free agent acquisition data from 2006 to 2015. Findings indicate greater talent buying had no short-term effects but positive long-term effects, and organizational performance negatively predicted short-term turnover but positively predicted long-term turnover and talent buying.

In April, Adam served as a panelist in JMU Health Center's Men in Power Panel tomorrow. The panel aimed to raise awareness around Sexual Assault through discussion on the important roles men play in preventing interpersonal violence, initiating bystander intervention, and supporting all survivors. 

Andrew Miller

Andy Miller

Dr. Vanhove and Andy Miller have been accepted for presentation at the upcoming Academy of Management conference:

Vanhove, A. J., Miller, A. D., & Harms, P. D. (2018, August). Unemployed and turking: Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a viable source for unemployment research? Presentation presented at the Academy of Management, Chicago, IL.

Tiffany Brutus

Tiffany Brutus

Kristin Sowden

Kristin Sowden

In collaboration with Dr. Vanhove, Tiffany Brutus and Kristin Sowden had a paper Accepted for a Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication:

Vanhove, A. J., Brutus, T., & Sowden, K. A. (in press). Psychological health prevention programs in military organizations: A quantitative review of the evaluative rigor evidence. Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being.

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