Campus News

Nine named to first class of Women’s Leadership Fellows

Valerie Babb

Nine UGA faculty members will hone their leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities confronting research universities as members of the inaugural class of the university’s Women’s Leadership Fellows Program.

The cohort includes representatives from seven schools and colleges as well as the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
As Women’s Leadership Fellows, the faculty members will attend a monthly meeting where they will learn from senior administrators on campus as well as visiting speakers from academia, business and other fields. The program also will feature a concluding weekend retreat in June for more in-depth learning.

“The inaugural class of Women’s Leadership Fellows have already accomplished so much in their careers, and they are poised to make an even greater impact on the University of Georgia,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

The 2015-2016 Women’s Leadership Fellows are:

• Valerie Babb, director of the Institute for African American Studies and Franklin Professor of English. Her research focuses on African-American literature and culture, trans-Atlantic studies, and constructions of race and gender. Her honors include serving as a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, receiving the W. M. Keck Foundation Fellowship in American Studies and delivering the Distinguished W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture at Humboldt University in Germany.

• Marsha Davis, associate dean of outreach and engagement for the College of Public Health and professor of health promotion and behavior. She works with UGA faculty, public service and outreach units, state and district public health offices and communities throughout Georgia to improve the public’s health. Her research focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of community-based health promotion programs. Davis was UGA’s 2014 recipient of the Engaged Scholar Award.

• Ellen Evans, director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health and professor of exercise science in the College of Education. Her research involves effective and sustainable physical activity/exercise interventions, with an emphasis on women’s health and aging. She is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Service Award and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and The Obesity Society.

• Susan C. Fagan, assistant dean of the College of Pharmacy’s Augusta campus and Distinguished Research Professor. Her research focuses on therapeutic strategies for the treatment of stroke. Fagan’s contributions to her field have been recognized by her appointment as faculty member to national clinical research training programs and grant review panels at the National Institutes of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Research Institute.

• Jean Martin-Williams, director of the Lilly Fellows Program through the Center for Teaching and Learning and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on horn performance and pedagogy. Her discography includes recordings with the Atlanta Symphony, the New York Chamber Symphony and the New York Pops. She served on the university committee that established the First-Year Odyssey Seminar Program.

• Laura Meadows, director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Her career in public service has included work on issues such as planning, housing, infrastructure, community development and economic growth. Prior to joining the university, she served in various positions in state and federal government, including as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

• Peggy Ozias-Akins, director of the Institute for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. At her lab at the Coastal Plain Research Station on UGA’s Tifton campus, her research focuses on female reproduction in grasses and molecular breeding of peanuts. She was awarded a 2015 Creative Research Medal and the college’s 2015 D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor Award. 

• Marisa Anne Pagnattaro, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the Terry College of Business and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Legal Studies. Her research focuses on international trade, including the protection of trade secrets and ethical practices related to workers. Pagnattaro also has received the Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and is the former editor-in-chief of the American Business Law Journal. 

• Usha Rodrigues, associate dean for faculty development in the School of Law and M.E. Kilpatrick Chair of Corporate Finance and Securities Law. Her research focuses on corporate law, securities regulation and business ethics. Rodrigues’ work has appeared in the Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, Fordham, Emory, Florida, Kentucky and Washington and Lee law reviews as well as online forums for Vanderbilt, UCLA, Texas and Harvard Business law reviews and in the peer-reviewed Journal of Corporate Finance.

“The university is pleased to welcome the members of the inaugural class of Women’s Leadership Fellows,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “This program is an important way to cultivate talent throughout UGA’s colleges and departments located across the state. It will offer valuable professional development and networking opportunities to the participants while strengthening the leadership capacity of the institution.”

The Women’s Leadership Fellows were chosen from nominations from deans and other senior administrators as well as from self-nominations. The program is administered by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and coordinated by Meg Amstutz, associate provost for academic programs. 

The Women’s Leadership Fellows Program is a part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, which was launched in spring 2015 by the president and provost. In addition to creating new opportunities for leadership development, the initiative is addressing recruitment, retention and hiring as well as work-life balance.