UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Having the opportunity to work alongside and witness administrators interacting with multiple University constituencies and learning more about the processes they undertake to guide their decision-making are among the reasons that Carrie Jackson, Penn State professor of German and linguistics, decided to apply for Penn State’s Administrative Fellows Program.
The Administrative Fellows Program enables participants to strengthen their administrative talents and qualifications by working with a Penn State leader in a mentoring relationship. Fellows increase their understanding of the contexts within which decisions are made and of the work done in units across the University.
Jackson was one of three selected as an Administrative Fellow for the 2021-22 academic year.
“I was quite surprised and honored [to be selected],” she said. “I know it’s a very competitive program, so it was a nice acknowledgment of my 16 years at Penn State so far and in my potential to take on greater leadership roles in the future.”
Jackson’s mentor for the year is Executive Vice President and Provost Nicolas P. Jones. Given her passion for undergraduate and graduate training, Jackson is especially looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the University’s chief academic officer and gain a better perspective of how decisions affecting undergraduate and graduate education are made at the highest levels.
“I think some of my biggest takeaways will be developing a better understanding of just how big and complex Penn State is and developing a greater appreciation for these complexities,” she said. “How do administrators make decisions and what factors do they consider when making them? How do they communicate decisions to different constituents? How do they listen to differing opinions and then make tough decisions where they cannot possibly satisfy everyone's demands? This is a great opportunity for thinking about how to develop my own leadership skills and my own style of leadership.”
Jackson also is looking forward to the opportunity to meet colleagues outside her departmental “bubble” and learn more about the plethora of initiatives and programs being undertaken throughout the University.
“The knowledge I gain from the program will be invaluable going forward because it provides a broader perspective on Penn State and how the University works,” Jackson said. “I am constantly thinking about ways I can use these new interactions and this new knowledge to improve educational and research initiatives in my own college [the College of the Liberal Arts] in the future.”