In June 2005, I was selected to participate in the MnSCU 2005-2006 Luoma Leadership Academy, which included two intensive one-week training sessions, in August 2005 and August 2006, and a year-long practicum, with frequent contact with my on-campus mentor Candace Barnack, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and off-campus mentor, Dr. Jack Reynolds, Chair of the Professional Education Department at Bemidji State University.

The Academy training was a remarkable opportunity to draw upon the knowledge, skills, and insights of an interesting and diverse group of MnSCU colleagues. The action-centered training included written exercises, reflection, demonstrations, small group discussions, role playing, and case studies. Great emphasis was placed on the importance of personal reflection - continually clarifying and improving our internal images of the world and seeing how they shape our actions and decisions. I now find myself continuously thinking and re-evaluating how I do, and how I should, contribute to a team's or institution's shared vision and what roles I can and should play to shape the behavior of teams and systems.

Along with the MnSCU Leadership Academy I also enrolled in graduate courses in Higher Education Leadership through Bemidji State University. While additional graduate studies were not required by the Leadership Academy, I decided to further my knowledge in the area of leadership. This experience inspired me, in 2007, to pursue additional graduate credits in Humanities from Hamline University's Graduate School of Education.

In 2009-10, I have been given an opportunity to give back to the Luoma Leadership Academy in two meaningful ways: I have partnered with other MnSCU colleagues to serve as an advisor to two Luoma Leadership Academy action teams, and I also serve as a mentor to two participants in the 2009-10 Luoma Leadership Academy program, including a health division faculty at Lake Superior College and a customized training representative at another MnSCU institution.