Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Breaking The M.O.L.D. Initiative Launches with In-Depth Discussion of Leadership in Academia

September 07, 2022 American Studies | English | School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies | The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Communication

Image of Breaking the M.O.L.D. co-PIs

The initiative seeks to prepare underrepresented arts and humanities faculty for institutional leadership.

By UMBC Staff  

“Breaking the M.O.L.D.,” the new initiative supported by a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, jump-started programming with its opening event August 15-16 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), bringing together cohorts from three partner institutions: the University of Maryland at College Park (UMD CP), Morgan State University (MSU) and UMBC. 

Guest speakers President Valerie Sheares Ashby (UMBC), Provost Hongtao Yu (MSU), Provost Jennifer King Rice (UMD CP) and Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Stephanie Shonekan (UMD CP) presented opening remarks focusing on leadership in academia and beyond. The initiative’s principal investigators (PIs) and leaders-in-residence (LIRs) led panels, participated in a HumetricsHSS values sorting activity and facilitated frank conversations on challenges universities face today, prompting discussions about creative solutions for a brighter future from scholars in the arts, humanities and related fields.

Programming for the Breaking the M.O.L.D. initiative will include joint cohort meetings throughout the 2022–2023 academic year at partner universities, where participants will learn about each institution’s unique administrative systems. Participants will also meet on their individual campuses to learn more about their own organizations, and to examine how the perspectives of leaders from humanities and the arts can make a unique difference at colleges and universities.

UMD’s first cohort includes: Gershun Avilez, professor of English and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Arts and Humanities; James Butler III, associate professor of behavioral and community health; Crystal U. Davis, assistant professor of dance, performance and scholarship; Yi Ting Huang, associate professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences; Sahar Khamis, associate professor of communication; Nancy Mirabal, associate professor of American studies; and Catherine Knight Steele, associate professor of communication. 

They will work with the UMD Breaking the M.O.L.D. co-principal investigators Psyche Williams-Forson, professor and chair of American studies; and Bonnie Thornton Dill, professor in the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and former dean of the College of Arts and Humanities; as well as with faculty leaders-in-residence Marisa Parham, professor of English; and Ruth Enid Zambrana, Distinguished University Professor in The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

Photo (left to right): Breaking the M.O.L.D. (Mellon/Maryland Opportunities for Leadership Development) co-principal investigators Charlene Chester (Assistant Dean of the James H. Gilliam Jr. College of Liberal Arts, Morgan State University), Patricia Williams-Dockery (Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Morgan State University), Patrice McDermott (Vice-Provost for Faculty Affairs, UMBC), Kimberly Moffitt (Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, UMBC), Psyche Williams-Forson (Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies, UMD College Park), Bonnie Thornton Dill (Professor, The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UMD College Park).