NACA® National Leadership Symposium

2021 National Leadership Symposium Virtual Edition

National Leadership Symposium

Disruption by Design: Co-Creating Our Approach to Leadership Education

Monday, July 12 – Wednesday, July 14, 2021
12pm-5pm ET
Registration Cost= $225.00
Graduate student rate = $99 (regardless of membership or institution)

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Leadership educators are often challenged in creating intentional learning environments that help students navigate and adapt to an ever-changing world. More often than not, professionals rely on previously developed programs with limited consideration on how programs are created, who the audience is, and why these programs exist.

In recent years, leadership education has become an important aspect of engaging college students and yet, diverse voices and perspectives have been largely left out in shaping the pedagogy we use today. As the world continues to navigate through both a pandemic and civil unrest, higher education professionals have found themselves exploring new ways of delivering relevant material to students in the area of leadership and competency development. Our antiquated methods have not only left out the student voice, but diverse voices as well.

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS; 2019), recommends leadership educators focus on a strategy which meets the needs of an evolving student population. This includes the incorporation of varying methodologies  which help all students feel included, connected, and are designed in a way that meets their needs. Engaging students in co-creating their personal leadership journey is an opportunity to empower voices that have been historically silenced in the past. Leadership is a personal approach that is guided by one’s own perspective and worldview.

Engage in dialogue with our three scholars, Dr. Nyasha GuramatunhuCooper, Dr. Vivechkanand Chunoo, and Dr. Anthony Middlebrooks, to explore how our own identities influence our work as leadership educators, whose voices have been excluded from the conversation, and how we leverage the current climate in developing a pedagogy that is culturally and experientially relevant for all students.

Learning Objectives:
Through experiential learning, panel discussions, and small group dialogue, participants will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how one’s own positionality and identities impacts our work as leadership educators.
  • Engage in deep reflection to disrupt normative thought and traditional views of leadership and leadership learning.
  • Leverage design principles to intentionally create inclusive learning opportunities.
  • Develop culturally relevant pedagogy and curricula to better address pervasive social inequities.


Dr. Vivechkanand Chunoo
Assistant Professor and graduate program coordinator in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications Program
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL

Dr. V. Chunoo is an assistant professor and graduate program coordinator in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests involve improving the leadership learning experiences of first-generation college students, undergraduates of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds, and collegians from underserved socioeconomic communities. V teaches undergraduate courses in Leadership Communications and Collaborative Leadership. He is also co-editor of Shifting the Mindset: Socially Just Leadership Education, an upcoming sequel to Changing the Narrative: Socially Just Leadership Education; both of which are volumes in the Contemporary Perspectives in Leadership Learning book series.

Dr. Nyasha M. GuramatunhuCooper
(Pronunciation Guide: Ñah-shah Goo-rah-mah-toon-whoCooper)
Associate Professor of Leadership Studies
Our Lady of the Lake University, TX

Dr. Nyasha M. GuramatunhuCooper is an award-winning leadership educator, scholar, and facilitator whose work reflects a commitment to querying leadership as a culturally and socially mediated practice. Nyasha is committed to advancing leadership discourse and leadership education by a) promoting scholarly informed practice of leadership, b) querying leaders and leadership from global and cultural perspectives, and c) using interdisciplinary connections and application to promote and prioritize diversity and inclusion in leadership teaching and learning. Practicing in what she has termed the "Fourth Great Age: An Age of Knowledge About People, Places, Things, and Events," Nyasha works with individuals and organizations to facilitate leadership development rooted in the pursuit of intercultural competence and global mindset. With a passion for facilitating individual and organizational leadership development, Nyasha participates in various communities as a frequent speaker and facilitator as the founder of Girton Road Consulting, LLC.

Nyasha serves as Associate Professor of Leadership Studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and most recently served as Assistant and Associate Professor of Leadership Studies at Kennesaw State University. Recognized for excellence in teaching, research, and service Nyasha has been honored as a recipient of the University College Distinguished Faculty Award, the University College Excellence in Teaching Award, the Department of Leadership and Integrative Studies Kiesler Service Award, and the Kennesaw State University Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award. Nyasha is an active member of the International Leadership Association (ILA) and the Association for Leadership Educators (ALE), and has served as facilitator faculty for ILA's Leadership Education Academy (LEA). Nyasha serves on the board of the Association of Leadership Educators and was recognized as the recipient of the 2020 Peter Northouse Distinguished Teaching Award.

Anthony Middlebrooks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of the Siegfried Leadership Initiative for Horn Entrepreneurship
University of Delaware, DE

Tony Middlebrooks, Ph.D. designs learning experiences at the intersection of leadership, innovation, creativity and design as Associate Professor and Director of the Siegfried Leadership Initiative for Horn Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware. He has taught aspiring leaders from youth through executive level, including creating more than 40 different courses for all collegiate levels. Dr. Middlebrooks is lead author of Discovering Leadership: Designing Your Success, has published numerous articles and book chapters, and has delivered hundreds of presentations. He is co-author of Public Sector Leadership, co-creator of the Idea Fan Deck and Design Thinking Cards, and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Leadership Studies.

Dr. Middlebrooks is also core faculty and co-developed the Organizational and Community Leadership program within the Biden School of Public Policy at UD; co-developed the doctoral program in leadership as a professor at Cardinal Stritch University, and spent ten years prior in non-profit leadership positions. 
He presently teaches leadership theory and practice, decision-making, creativity, design thinking and innovation, and entrepreneurship. He has received both the University of Delaware Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Advising Awards, and regularly helps faculty develop their teaching.

A firm believer that leadership and creativity benefit every individual at every level in every field, Dr. Middlebrooks consults and facilitates workshops for a wide variety of organizations and audiences.  His current scholarly interests focus on methods of leadership education and the integration of leadership, creativity, and design thinking.  Dr. Middlebrooks has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Hosted and Facilitated by:
Dr. Craig Slack, Director, NCLP, University of Maryland, MD
Dr. Dani Hiar, NLS Co-Chair, Central Michigan University, MI
Christie Navarro, NLS Co-Chair, University of California, Davis, CA
Ana Maia, NLS Logistics Liaison, University of Tampa, FL

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