2018 Faculty Excellence Award: Executing SPEAR

2018 Faculty Excellence Award: Executing SPEAR

2018 Faculty Excellence Award:  Executing SPEAR

Louise Underdahl, PhD, MPA, MSLS

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. 

John Donne, Meditation XVII, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, 1624

Receiving the University of Phoenix 2018 Faculty Excellence Award brought to mind John Donne's timeless meditation:  "No man is an island."   Individual faculty excellence is powered by the University's vision, complemented by a robust support infrastructure.  The August 28, 2018 Faculty Leadership Broadcast (Provost, 2018) presented a clear and compelling vision for serving our students, defined as SPEAR:

Simple     Personalized     Empowering     Always on     Relevant

Executing SPEAR requires a robust support infrastructure, as illustrated by the following examples:

Simple:  Under P. J. Purchase's enlightened leadership, University Library resources encompass talented and dedicated staff complemented by diverse services such as "Ask a Librarian" and "Request a Specific Document" to simplify and streamline research.  The "Ask a Librarian" service is staffed by a team of professional librarians who provide detailed responses, including specific database suggestions and research techniques, usually within a few hours.

Personalized:  Residencies include opportunities for students to meet and interact with School of Advanced Studies leadership. In a recent first year residency, three Associate Deans of Instruction chatted with the class for over an hour, answering inquiries, sharing strategies for success, and clarifying the context of the doctoral journey.  For one student it was "beyond exhilaration" to personally meet representatives of University leadership.

Empowering:  University commitment to continuous quality improvement drives changes to policy, procedure, and practice.  The Faculty Workshop Team comprises skilled professionals dedicated to conceptualizing, formulating, implementing, and monitoring faculty training and development curricula, ensuring faculty access to accurate and up-to-date content.

Always on:  When unanticipated situations requiring immediate intervention arise, the SAS Faculty Assist team is available 24/7.  These knowledgeable and responsive individuals triage questions and expedite resolution.  A chi square issue directed to the research methodologists was resolved in less than 24 hours, exceeding both student and faculty expectations.

Relevant:  Dr. John Sperling's vision created an accessible university for working adults, replacing the rigidity of traditional educational institutions with course schedules designed for working adults and relevant coursework to help them make an impact in their jobs (University of Phoenix, 2018).  Since 1976, the University of Phoenix has delivered an education relevant to the needs and aspirations of working adults (University of Phoenix, 2018).

In conclusion, faculty excellence is made possible by the University's robust support infrastructure. Dr. Sperling's vision lives!


Office of the Provost, John Woods, Ph.D. (2018, August 28). Faculty leadership broadcast.  Universit of Phoenix Communications. 
University of Phoenix. (2018). About us: Our roots.  Retrieved from https://www.phoenix.edu/about_us/our-roots.html

About the Author

Louise Underdahl



Journal of Leadership Studies-Symposium Piece-Relational Leadership: Perspectives of Key Constructs on Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Equity in Higher Education

Psychology Today
Blog Posts Published


American Psychological Association Conference-Utilizing Clinical Hypnotherapeutic Intervention with CBT to Treat Pandemic-Aug. 13-2021 Symptomology

ILA Conference Geneva Switzerland 2021
Presenter -Topic-"The Stress Arc in Leadership and 3 Powerful Disciplines for Mitigating Major Stress Impacts in a New Era"-Upcoming
Presenter -Topic-“Improving Higher Education’s Role in Diversity and Social Equity through Relational Leadership in the New Era”-Upcoming
Presenter-Topic-"Healthcare Leadership-Using Virtuous Leadership in Chaos to Reimagine Beneficial Practices of Employee Cognitive Psychology"-Upcoming
2021-Knowledge Without Boundaries National Summit-College of Doctoral Studies Research Conference-University of Phoenix-Panel Discussion-"Exploring Emergent Trends in Leadership and Education"-Based on published symposia article from the Journal of Leadership Studies- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jls.21734


Louise Underdahl
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