UAMS Student Leadership Academy

The Shift: Leading through Understanding and Service


Welcome to the UAMS Student Leadership Academy website!  For both experienced or emerging leaders, the Academy will examine leadership in a very different way.  Over the course of the weekend we will show you a shift in leadership theory that focuses on two things:  Understanding and service.

Through real understanding we can appreciate and better ourselves, our team members, and our patients.  Not the old “I’m ok, you’re ok” approach, but really taking a hard honest look at our differences.   Our similarities.  And only then examining the question:   How do I lead my team from here?   That is understanding.

Service is our role as a leader – serving our team, our patients, our community.  Not the kind of service where we sweep in and “save” the broken; but the kind of service that is based on assets, not deficits.  And the kind that teaches us a thing or two (or ten) about who they are, who we are, and what we can learn from each other.

DATES:  April 4 – 6, 2014
Friday              6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Saturday         8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday            8:00 am – 2:00 pm
To view a working agenda, click here.

Guest speakers include:

A native of Tennessee, Melissa Gruver has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Christian Studies from Union University and a master’s degree in Education/Student Affairs Administration from Baylor University.  Melissa worked in the Academy for Leader Development & Civic Engagement and the Waco Episcopal Student Center at Baylor University and as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Texas Christian University. She currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Civic Engagement and Leadership Development at Purdue University.   Melissa has experience developing academic and co-curricular service-learning opportunities through her work with student service organizations, faculty and community partners; immersion experiences; leadership seminars; and curriculum design. Melissa is committed to an assets-based approach to community engagement and social change.

Through hands-on exercises, fun group activities, and personal reflection, learn:

  • How to lead with a focus on diversity, service, and cohesive team-centered care.
  • What role your personal identity plays into your leadership style and the impact it has in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, gender, socioeconomic class, nationality, disability, spirituality, and religion.
  • How to appreciate and serve diverse team members and patients.
  • Team-based conflict resolution.
  • The theory of asset-based service by implementing an Academy service project with your classmates.

All activities will be held at theHamlen Board Room & Concourse of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute on the Little Rock campus.  Students must attend the entire weekend. In addition, students must commit to participating in a group service project. Additional educational opportunities focusing on leadership skills will also be provided following the academy.

For questions regarding the academy, please contact Leslie Hitt at or 479-713-8104.

How To Apply
The SLA is an interprofessional academy and students from all UAMS programs are encouraged to bring their unique perspectives to the academy. Students who plan on graduating May 2015 or later and have a minimum GPA of 2.85** are eligible to apply. The application deadline is February 28  at noon. Students accepted to the SLA will be notified by March 7. Please submit the following:
1.  Online application
2. One recommendation from a UAMS faculty or staff member. The recommendation form is available here.

**For M1’s in the College of Medicine, must have passing grade in all modules completed.

For questions regarding the application process, please contact Kristen Sterba, Ph.D. at or 501-526-7396.

UAMS Student Leadership Academy Steering Committee

Leslie Hitt, Northwest Arkansas Campus
Lydia McDonald, Ed.D., College of Public Health
Tom Pilgreen, Ph.D., College of Health Professions
Kristen Sterba, Ph.D., Graduate School