Campus Life

Texas A&M Selects Four Emerging Faculty Leaders For SEC Academic Fellowships

Professors Carlos Blanton, Clare Gill, Shanna Hagan-Burke and Sarah Witherspoon have been named Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program fellows.
By Brandon V. Webb, Texas A&M University Office of the Provost September 6, 2019

The pool of talent with the potential to become future department heads, deans, provosts and presidents runs deep at Texas A&M University.

Each year the Southeastern Conference (SEC) offers its 14 member schools a unique opportunity to foster that talent through fellowships that help prepare up-and-coming faculty leaders for further positions and careers in executive service. The SEC’s Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP) launched in 2007, and Texas A&M has appointed four fellows each year since joining the SEC in 2012.

Program alumni have advanced to serve the university as deans, a vice provost and in other executive roles. This year’s fellowship class includes three department heads and an executive associate dean.

“The SEC Academic Leadership Development Program offers participants a unique environment to continue developing leadership skills in partnership with other emerging and talented leaders from across the SEC,” said Blanca Lupiani, a 2012 SEC ALDP fellow and Texas A&M dean of faculties and associate provost said. “We are excited about the future for our ALDP Fellows and congratulate them for earning this opportunity.”

Texas A&M’s 2019 – 2020 ALDP Fellows

Carlos Blanton, Professor and Head, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Blanton joined the Texas A&M University faculty in 2001. He has published three books and won the Texas State Historical Association’s Tullis Award for Best Book in Texas History. He has published eight journal articles, three book chapters and led study abroad programs in Italy and Spain. He is a member of the Humanities Texas advisory board and is active in numerous history associations. Dr. Blanton holds a Ph.D. from Rice University.

Clare Gill, Professor of Animal Science and Executive Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. Gill joined Texas A&M University in 2001. She studies beef cattle genomics and has contributed to more than $14.6 million in research grants and contracts, including $3.8 million in grants awarded to her research program. Dr. Gill received the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Research and a Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Research Excellence. She is an elected member of the executive committee for the International Society for Animal Genetics and a 2019 nominee for president of the society. Dr. Gill earned her Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Shanna Hagan-Burke, Professor and Head, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development

Dr. Hagan-Burke joined the Texas A&M University faculty in 2005. She studies functional analyses of challenging behavior, early literacy and positive behavioral interventions and supports. Her research has been awarded more than $5.6 million in competitive external grants. She was a member of the Texas Education Agency’s Response to Intervention Guidance Committee and has assisted with state-level behavioral support initiatives in Alabama, Georgia and Hawaii. Dr. Hagan-Burke received the 2015 Eppright Professorship for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence. She holds a P.D. from the University of Oregon.

Sarah Witherspoon, Professor and Head, Department of Mathematics, College of Science

Dr. Witherspoon joined Texas A&M University in 2004. Her algebra research program has been continuously funded by either the National Science Foundation or the National Security Agency for nearly two decades. She is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and recipient of the Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. She serves on the editorial board for Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society and the editorial board for Communications in Algebra. Dr. Witherspoon earned her P.D. from the University of Chicago.

Texas A&M’s four fellows and their counterparts from across the SEC will form the 12th ALDP cohort. Nearly 50 Fellows from across the SEC comprised the 2018 – 2019 cohort.

Texas A&M fellows are nominated by deans, vice presidents and associate provosts and represent tenured faculty and leaders in governance, professional societies or national and regional roles critical to the academy. Early career administrators, such as department heads and associate/assistant deans in their first terms, are often tapped for their potential to contribute significantly in leadership roles throughout their careers.

Fellows participate in a year-long series of workshops and professional development at Texas A&M and attend two SEC-wide workshops aimed at increasing collaboration and building relationships between emerging leaders in academia. Vanderbilt University will host the fall 2019 workshop Oct. 14 – 16, and the University of Florida will host the spring 2020 workshop Feb. 19 – 21.

The comprehensive list of Texas A&M ALDP fellows is available on the Texas A&M Dean of Faculties website.

Media contact: Brandon V. Webb, Texas A&M Office of Provost Communications, (979) 845-4016,

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