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Academic Leadership Development Institute

Coordinated by the Council, the Academic Leadership Development Institute is a learning community of early career, underrepresented minority faculty and staff who are on track for professional advancement.

The Academic Leadership Development Institute, coordinated by the Council, provides a series of highly-interactive sessions and small group seminars led by faculty and administrators from across Kentucky and other states. The goal is to create a learning community of early career, underrepresented minority faculty and staff who are on track for professional advancement.

This year’s cohort consists of 17 professionals – six from Kentucky’s four-year institutions and 11 from institutions in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Institutional leaders nominated candidates for the yearlong initiative based on their leadership ability, interest in advancement, and dedication to higher education. Participants cannot have previous administrative experience.



Steve Bien-Aime 

Northern Kentucky University
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication College of Informatics

Steve Bien-Aime is an assistant professor at Northern Kentucky University. Bien-Aime teaches journalism in the College of Informatics' Department of Communication. His research interests include race and gender portrayals in sports and news media. His work has been published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Newspaper Research Journal, International Journal of Sport Communication and Journal of Information Policy. Prior to receiving his doctorate, Bien-Aime worked as a copy editor at The News Journal in Delaware and The Baltimore Sun and served in a variety of functions at in Los Angeles, departing as deputy NFL editor.


Jeremy Calico

Hopkinsville Community College
Director of Academic Programs Facilitation College/Student Services

Jeremy Calico is the director of academic programs facilitation/student services at Hopkinsville Community College. Calico has worked in higher education for 13 years, with experience in secondary education, non-profit, for- profit and federally funded programs. He enjoys education, and looks forward to leading the next generation into higher education and beyond. He loves to travel, and has been to Tokyo, Indonesia, and parts of South America. 


Natalie Cooper

Madisonville Community College
Division Chair/Professor, Social Sciences

Natalie Cooper has worked at Madisonville Community College for 27 years in students and academic affairs. She is a professor in the social sciences department and serves as division chair. Cooper also serves as the program coordinator for the Human Services Program, and on several other boards in the human services arena.


Y. Kae Cooper

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
Associate Professor, Computer Information Technology

Y. Kae Cooper, is a tenured associate professor at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. She also develops, designs, and teaches business and CIT courses Learn On Demand and Workforce Solutions. Cooper has served as the President of the National Council of Negro Women, on the boards of CASA and Silverleaf, and in many of community service positions. Currently, she is a member of the Fort Knox Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Board Chair for the Legacy Foundation, and a facilitator for the Mind You Own Small Business Entrepreneurship Academy. She is currently working on a doctoral degree in education leadership at Northern Kentucky University with an instructional design cognate from Morehead State University. 


Indigo Cornelison

Jefferson Community and Technical College
Director of Student Engagement Office of Student Engagement

Indigo Carnelison is the director of student engagement at Jefferson Community and Technical College. She received her Master of Education from the University of Louisville and a Bachelor of Science in accounting at the University of Kentucky.


Ramon Cuellar

Hazard Community and Technical College
Assistant Professor, Chemistry Natural Sciences

Ramon Cuellar is an assistant professor at Hazard Community and Technical College, with experience in teaching chemistry courses for 28 years. He loves teaching and is always looking for better ways to improve himself.


Sharmy Davis

Owensboro Community and Technical College
Success Coach, Office of Student Affairs

Sharmy Davis is the student success coach for Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Fine Arts students at Owensboro Community and Technical College. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland- Baltimore County, where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts degree in history. Davis obtained a masters degree in public administration from Eastern Kentucky University and a Master in Business Administration degree from Midway University. She began her career with Owensboro Community and Technical College in 2019, and previously worked for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.


Charidy Dobbins

West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Instructor, Nursing Division

Charidy Dobbins is an instructor in the nursing program at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Murray State University and a Master of Science in nursing education from McKendree University. She is married and enjoys learning, reading, traveling, and volunteering.


Bella Ezumah

Murray State University
Associate Professor/Director of Graduate Program Journalism and Mass Communication Department Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business

Bellarmine (Bella) Ezumah is an associate professor and director of the graduate program Murray State University. She teaches mass media theory, international communications, mass media effects, and media in contemporary society, and new technologies. In addition, she has directed over 60 theses and other empirical research with undergraduate and graduate students. Ezumah has published 27 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings (combined) and has presented her work at over 30 conferences. She has earned several awards, including the 2014 Emerging Scholar by the Murray State Alumni Association. Ezumah is also a recipient of several grants, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study educational technology adoption in Nigeria and Ghana and the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program grant to develop a journalism and mass communication curriculum/program in Uganda.


Michelle Jones

Western Kentucky University
Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics Ogden College of Science and Engineering

Michelle Jones is an associate professor of mathematics at Western Kentucky University.  Jones holds two degrees from Western Kentucky University: a Bachelor of General Studies with an emphasis in mathematics and a Master of Science in Mathematics. With 21 years of experience at the university, she has previously served as the assistant dean of University College and the interim director of the Office of Diversity Programs. In recognition for her work with students, she received the Susan Crabtree Award for Student Advocacy.


Lavonia Lewis

Henderson Community College
Early Alert Manager/Success Coach, Office of Student Services

Lavonia Lewis is the Early Alert Manager/Success Coach at Henderson Community College. Prior to her work in higher education, Lewis worked in the private sector at Vectren Energy Delivery. She is a graduate of Oakland City University, where she obtained a Masters of Business Administration and Doctorate of Education. Lewis is also involved with Habitat for Humanity where she serves as co-chair for the Advocate Committee, and also serves on the Home Ownership Committee. She is also active with the Alzheimer's Association.


Donia Massey

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
Business Services and Procurement

Donia Massey works in business services and procurement at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. She holds a degree from Western Kentucky University, and has while her job duties are in business and procurement, Massey has vast experience working with students. Outside of work, Massey is very involved in the activities of her three children.


Adarrell Owsley

Gateway Community and Technical College
Assistant Professor, Division of Arts and Sciences 

Adarrell Owsley teaches developmental reading and writing co-requisite courses at Gateway Community and Technical College. With a Masters of Education from Indiana Wesleyan University, Owsley is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership/policy studies from Eastern Kentucky University. He has worked as a middle and high school English and reading teacher in the Fayette County Public Schools System. Prior to his career in education, Owsley spent 15 years in print journalism as a writer and editor. 


Rafael Perez Figueroa

University of Kentucky
Professor, College of Public Health Assistant  

Rafael E. Perez-Figueroa is an assistant professor of health, behavior, and society at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Specializing in theoretical research, he studies health disparities among historically and contemporary underserved populations. His scholarly work focuses on public health issues related to HIV/AIDS prevention and care, healthcare utilization, substance use and abuse, harm reduction, and mental health. Perez-Figueroa's work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, and Prevention Science, among other high-impact journals. He is a research fellow on Hispanic Drug Abuse from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a faculty fellow of the New York University Postdoctoral and Transition Program for Academic Diversity. In 2017, his NLM/NIH funded work "Amigos y Amantes" with the Prevention Collaborative received the Health Innovation Award on Health Literacy and Health Education from the Center for Health Innovation at Adelphi University.


Jamie Phipps

Morehead State University
Enrollment Counselor, Office of Enrollment Services

Jamie Phipps serves as an enrollment counselor at Morehead State University. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Morehead State with a minor in chemical dependency counseling. In May 2020, she will graduate with a masters degree in school counseling. Phipps has a passion for diversity, inclusion and helping students achieve their goals.


Emma Sterrett-Hong

University of Louisville
Associate Professor/Director, Kent School of Social Work  

Emma Sterrett-Hong is an associate professor and director of the Couple and Family Therapy program in the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. Her research interests include the role of inter- generational relationships to promote health and well-being among marginalized youth and young adults, and implementation of youth and family psychosocial interventions in usual care settings. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist.


Ty Sturdivant

Bluegrass Community and Technical College
Business Administration Coordinator, Business & Computer Information Systems/Business Administration

Ty Sturdivant is an business administration coordinator, teaching business and management courses at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Sturdivant holds several leadership positions, including faculty senator, chair and a founding member of the Black Faculty Alliance and coordinator of Academics, Diversity and Inclusion. He has been the faculty advisor of several student groups, including Phi Theta Kappa honorary society and Phi Beta Lambda. Sturdivant has an MBA from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Eastern Kentucky University. 

Last Updated 4/21/2020