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Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program

The inaugural cohort of the Dean's Leadership Fellow was announced!

Kostas Sierros Kostas Sierros , associate professor and associate chair for research in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been named the Dean’s Fellow for Research.

Through this appointment, Sierros will assist Xingbo Liu, associate dean for research, with meaningful initiatives to advance the College’s mission and to provide infrastructure related to strategic research activities. This will include activities such as mentoring faculty on research career issues, providing oversight for research committees, evaluating grant opportunities, and fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary research between the College’s departments and other schools.

Leslie Hopkinson Leslie Hopkinson, associate professor in the Wadsworth Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been named the Dean’s Fellow for Academics.

In this role, Hopkinson will assist Robin Hissam, associate dean of academics and student performance, in the development of meaningful programs to enhance students’ success in their chosen fields of study. She will also provide meaningful contact with academic units outside the classroom, help facilitate connections across various disciplines, and assist in developing co-curricular programming for the College.

Qingqing Huang Qingqing Huang, assistant professor of mining engineering, has been appointed as the Dean’s Fellow for Engagement and Outreach.

Huang will assist Cerasela Zoica Dinu, associate dean for student, faculty and staff engagement, in developing meaningful engagement and outreach programs for the College. She will also serve as a liaison between the College and alumni as needed and will develop active networks with stakeholders, students, faculty, and staff at WVU.

Information about the program


The Dean in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University aims to design viable and reliable programs that develop leaders who can manage the inherent units and enterprise priorities of the College. The philosophy is that a repertoire of leadership skills could be enhanced through defined work with a “coach”, under an active “learning through experiences program” that challenges individuals’ in the academic realm and help them refocus outside of their career comfort zones by offering challenging assignments in different roles.

What the Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program offers

This Program is envisioned to help eliminate the career development pathway of faculty generally confined within the organization’s various silos (i.e., research, teaching, or service) thus building leaders capable to achieve professional and personal growth. Further, the Program is intended to help the individual faculty develop skills essential to a leader by assuming roles and performing activities that provide opportunities for growth. Through targeted and customized leadership and talent development, the Fellow will engage into an intentional effort to build the skills of a leader through development assignments strategies.

Program structure and reward system for the participating individual

The Leadership Program is uniquely curated to engage faculty in the College in complex organizational challenges. This 20-week targeted program (comprised of 10 weeks in the Fall and 10 weeks in the Spring semesters) will focus on the impact that culture, strategic decision-making, and influence, have to advance our organization. Participating faculty will be able to devote up to 10% of their Service assignment to this Program, thus shifting their focus to Program-related activities. As a participant, the Fellow will enhance their leadership abilities through a combination of skill enrichment, targeted action-planning sessions, practical application of concepts and strategies, design of new programs and initiatives and facilitated peer collaboration.

Fellow will benefit from their intensive and focused work with a member of the leadership team (i.e., coach) enabling them to concentrate their efforts on advancing the College mission. Specifically, in:


Fellow will assist the Associate Dean for Research with meaningful initiatives capable to advance the College mission in research and to provide infrastructure related to research-related activities. The Fellows might be involved in mentoring faculty (especially junior faculty) on research career issues, providing oversight for the research committee, evaluating grant opportunities, and presenting the evaluation to the Associate Dean for Research, fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary research between departments and between the College and other schools, and representing the College as needed just to name a few.


Fellow will assist the Associate Dean of Academics and Student Performance in the development of meaningful programs to enhance students’ success in their chosen fields of study. The Fellow will be able to provide meaningful contact with academic units outside the classroom and help facilitate connections to those disciplines. The Fellows might be involved in developing co-curricular programming, building networks that enhance student-faculty relationships and mentoring, and facilitating student academic engagement, retention, and degree completion, as well as representing the College as needed.

Engagement/ Outreach

Fellow will assist the Associate Dean for Student, Faculty and Staff Engagement in developing meaningful engagement and outreach programs, planning events for the College stakeholders, serve as a liaison between the College and the alumni as needed, as well as develop active networks with stakeholders and other entities at West Virginia University (i.e., foundation, other Colleges, etc.).

In addition, the Fellows will be highly encouraged to explore professional development opportunities outside of the College and the University (e.g., leadership training programs); these opportunities are to be considered for sponsoring by the Dean’s office upon appropriate evaluation.

Fellows will be expected to develop, support, implement, and assess activities, events, and programing. Through this intense integration, the participating faculty will gain the opportunity to directly assist the Associate Deans and the Office of the Dean to ensure that their institution is successful in its mission.

The Fellowship rewards focused faculty commitment to this Program will enable Fellows to build on their passion for becoming agents of change and their discipline or interest area. The College will benefit by gaining reliable faculty members whose time is substantially dedicated to the Program to help advance the goals of the individual components of the Dean’s office and the overall College mission and its strategic directions. Having sustained engagement with the faculty Fellow over the course of the Fellowship will facilitate the development of meaningful relationships, events, and activities. Additionally, faculty Fellow alumni will be encouraged to continue to engage with the Program and to recruit additional faculty mentors. The academic units will benefit by allowing faculty to pursue their passion and to enhance their interaction with Dean’s leadership team.

Learning objectives

  • Gain insight into the organization characteristics and operations principles.
  • Develop an understanding of the leadership challenges facing the College Leadership Team and the College as well as develop meaningful ways for addressing those challenges for institution’s growth.
  • Identify essential soft skills, methods to strengthen those skills, and develop a personal leadership strategic plan to practice those skills in everyday interactions in the Leadership Team.

For more information on applying, view the Dean Leadership Program application information (to view this document, you will need to click the link and then at the prompt login with your WVU credentials).