I believe in collaborative leadership that appreciates the knowledge and experiences of all constituents: faculty, staff, students, community partners, and alumni. I am a strategic thinker and pragmatic problem-solver. I have a great deal of experience in both formal and informal leadership roles, developing strong relationships across the institution and around the country. I always look to create win-win-win scenarios that move the organization forward, towards its highest values and aspirations.
Director, Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS)
As Director of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS) at Bowling Green State University (2016-2023), I transformed an internally-focused research institute into a public humanities center with national scope. Signature initiatives include:
- Creating and hosting the BG Ideas Podcast, which features conversations with BGSU faculty, visiting speakers, students, and alumni whose research, creative work, or activism seeks to address important social issues. The podcast was featured in Volt magazine on a list of “11 Must-Listen Higher Ed Podcasts, June 24, 2020). Now in its eighth season, BG Ideas is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.
- Leading a yearlong strategic planning process to engage with stakeholders and constituents, increase awareness and access, create new programs, and revise programs for greater alignment and efficiency.
- Revising the Executive Board structure to broaden representation and build relationships across campus and into the community, including the creation of board seats for leaders of community organizations.
- Contributing to three successful National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant applications, worth more than $500,000.
- Developing fund-raising opportunities and donor programs to support new and ongoing initiatives. Through fundraising, sponsorships, cost-sharing, grants, and in-kind donations, I have brought in up to $15,000 per year to supplement our annual operating budget.
- Creating a competitive Team-Teaching program to support innovative, interdisciplinary curricula that prepares students for 21st-century life.
- Inaugurating a student internship program to connect academic coursework to professional contexts, with meaningful mentorship and career planning support. Over six years, I have mentored more than 36 undergraduate students from at least 15 different majors/programs) working in internship tracks such as: Graphic Design, Public Relations and Social Media, Research & Curriculum Development, Video and Audio Production, and Project Management and Event Planning.
In addition, I have significant experience with administrative tasks that include:
- Overseeing all aspects of Institute operations, including budgeting, programming, event planning, supervising employees, shared governance, and more.
- Writing governance and policy documents, market research, and other reports.
- Leading strategic planning.
- Creating marketing and public relations materials.
- Participating in a statewide consortium convened by Ohio Humanities to bring together university-based public humanities centers and institutes.
Publications about Higher Education Leadership
I believe in putting ideas into practice, and in sharing lessons from leadership challenges with other administrators. I regularly collaborate with fellow higher education leaders to write and present on effective campus leadership practices. Examples of this include:
- Mary-Jon Ludy, Jolie Sheffer, and Jerry Schnepp, “Leadership doesn’t have to be lonely: Creating cross-institutional community” (MS #1550), Academic Chairpersons Conference Proceedings, New Orleans, February 9, 2023.
- Jolie Sheffer, Lisa Hanasono, et. al, “Puzzle Pieces: The importance of shared governance.” Liberal Education, Winter 2022, pp. 21-29.
- Mary-Jon Ludy, Elise M. Radina, and Jolie A. Sheffer, “Recognizing Our Humanity: How the Pandemic Helped Us Value Each Other.” AAC&U Liberal Education (online), February 16, 2023.
- Jerry Schnepp, W. John Koolage, M. Elise Radina, and Jolie A. Sheffer, “Deltas, Not Pipelines: A More Organic Way to Develop Academic Leaders.” AAC&U Liberal Education (online), October 20, 2022.
- Jolie A. Sheffer, Ana Brown, Lisa K. Hanasono, Mary-Jon Ludy, Jennifer Q. McCary, Sheri Wells-Jensen, and M. Elise Radina, “A Moonshot for Diversity and Accessibility.” AAC&U Liberal Education (online), July 21, 2022.
Honors & Awards
In July 2022, I participated in the HERS Summer Leadership Institute, the premier leadership development program for women in higher education, in Philadelphia.
In 2022, I was awarded the Faculty Mentor Award from Bowling Green State University’s Faculty Senate.
In 2019 I was awarded the David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service for my work with ICS. This award recognizes outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement at 42 Ohio member institutions of Campus Compact.
In 2018-19, I served as a fellow in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Academic Leadership Development Program.