Master Leaders program strengthens TCU workforce

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Photo by Glen E. Ellman

June 25, 2021

The TCU Master Leaders (MLP) program recently graduated its third cohort. Despite the disruption of COVID-19, the highly selective 11-month leadership development program was still successful in involving faculty and staff from across campus, although – like many other things – slightly different from that planned.

“What struck me about this cohort is their persistence and willingness to engage virtually,” said Mariam MacGregor, director of employee engagement and organizational strategy. “The other thing that stands out is the strength of the relationships that have been built even in virtual delivery.”

She said individuals and teams have found ways to connect during breakout sessions or offline after sessions. It has always provided the connecting element of a shared experience – something that many lacked due to the social isolation of life through a pandemic.

“When this cohort finally met in person on April 7 until graduation in June, the interactions felt intimate and magical,” said MacGregor. “The optimism, energy and commitment to bring about positive change on campus is just as inspiring as the other classes. The Master Leaders program is designed to be personally and professionally transformative, and participation requires a lot of time and emotional investment. Graduates constantly say you get what you put into it. It’s more than something you tick off a to-do list.

Applications for the program are announced and opened in April of each year. The fourth cohort was selected in May and begins on July 21 with an informal meeting. Each MLP cohort brings together a network of individuals committed to enriching TCU’s workplace culture through self-awareness, developing skills for effective and impactful leadership, building capacity to lead and manage others and to investigate organizational influence.

“When people start the program, their titles and positions are dropped. Everyone enters on an equal footing with a seat at the table. Mac Gregor said. “People from all corners of the campus are eligible to apply and participate. The class is intentionally diverse in all respects – role, title, teacher / staff, exempt / non-exempt, race, gender, identity, age, length of service at TCU, etc.

After each cohort, the sessions sometimes change based on feedback, MacGregor said. The evolving culture of TCU’s workplace and the nature of cultivating true leadership on a daily basis are also driving these changes. With over 100 graduates at this stage, two program managers / mentors have been selected. Amanda Duvall (MLP1), Career Consultant at Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences, and Leah Carnahan (MLP2), Deputy Director of Title IX Advocacy and Education, will assist with program management, support participants, guide accountability teams and provide coaching.

“The addition of these roles allows for the development of alumni programs and networking among graduates as we all strive to build an institution with thoughtful and outward-looking leaders at all levels, to the benefit of our workforce and our students, ”said MacGregor.

In addition to Master Leader Program, there are several other cohort programs offered by human resources, including Manager Foundations, a six-week online program and a coaching program for all managers; the Professional leadership rotation, a six-month program focused on professional presence, career development and engagement outside one’s home department; and the RISE certificate, a seven-month program offered in conjunction with TCU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion focused on promoting personal and professional development in diversity, equity and inclusion.


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