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CWU Wildcat Leaders

Mateo Arteaga


CWU Educational Outreach Services


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• Education & School Administration
• Migrant Population & TRIO program-EOC
• Outreach
• State and Federal Policies

General Position Description

Mateo Arteaga is currently the Director of the CWU Educational Outreach Services. His main task with the help of a great staff is to oversee two migrant programs, the ‘College Assistance Migrant Program’ and the ‘High-school Equivalency Program’, but also directs  the TRIO-Educational Opportunity Center-EOC.  All these programs provide help to low-income , first generation potential college students and or  migrant students in several kind of ways – in getting a GED, in applying for college, for financial aid, for scholarships etc. and finally they also support migrant students in their first year in College with the CAMP program. The offices of the programs are situated in Ellensburg as well as in Yakima so that Mateo Arteaga is present at both locations to take care that all these outreach services can be offered successfully to as much TRIO and migrants students as possible.

Belief Statement of Leadership

To me leadership means encouraging by setting the example for other people. I really believe that it is about giving others the opportunity for growth - perhaps growing into leadership positions themselves someday. Most people that come to our offices, for example, started off as students. I want to give others the chance to stretch, to develop, to recognize their potentials and to learn how to give back to their community.

While working my way up, having different kind of supervisors, I saw some things that I didn’t like and I told myself that I will never do that to people. That’s the standard that I’ve set for myself.

I like to lead by example. An important part of good leadership, to me, is to model for people. It begins with simple things like having respect, determination, saying thank you, having confidence in the abilities of others, trusting them and letting them feel appreciated. But it also means showing full commitment on your own all the time. In EOS we are responsible for activities that are done in the evenings and on the weekends. And I always tell my staff that if I’m in town, I’m going to help out. I am always reachable. I’m willing to roll up all my sleeves and get the job done– no matter what time of day it is. 

Another essential aspect is being reliable. So often you go meet with somebody who promises “I’ll take care of it later.” and then you never hear back from them. To me it’s really important, if you say “I’m going to follow up on this”, you really should keep to this promise. And this is intimately connected with another fundamental element: as a leader you have to have an interest in other people and in what they say. You have to be someone who listens, someone who is conscious about what the people’s needs are and at the end provides the help that is required.

My understanding of leadership was affected essentially by my family background. Both of my parents were leaders in their own way. My father came from Mexico and worked out in the fields and held several –supervisor positions, as I grew up. My mom worked in the community. They conveyed to me the idea that we need to be up front and help people out. They have always encouraged me to go as far as I could. And I think that’s what is always encouraging me to be the best that I can do.

I hope that I set an example for other people to follow. I care for people that are suffering in this country. And I’ll be really specific: the people without papers. When you’re having dinner with your family tonight, think about the person that picked the fruit, tomato and the lettuce. So many people look down on farm workers/Mexicans, which is really sad. And so I hope, with my work as a leader I along with others we can make a contribution to change this attitude.  To a “Si se puede” yes we can!

Mariam Bocchetti

Miriam Bocchetti


College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP)


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• Migrant population and seasonal farm working dependents
• Outreach
• Compliance

General Position Description

Miriam Bocchetti is currently the program director of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) which provides a variety of services (e.g. financial and academic support) to freshman students from migrant and seasonal farmworking backgrounds. Her role is to supervise and manage the program. She ensures that the program is in compliance with the federal grant, that they are collaborating with other relevant agencies and departments on and off campus. Furthermore, she interacts with other CAMP programs within the state and represents the program at national conferences and trainings.

Belief Statement of Leadership

To me the ideal leadership operation is a group of individuals who share a collective vision and the will to move forward with that vision. As a leader I aim to unify a group of people as well as inspire, encourage and be supportive of what everyone has to say. Everyone has a different perspective and it’s important to be inclusive.

Fulfilling my leadership role means representing, advocating and being the voice for a group of people that may or may not be willing or in the mindset to speak on their own. But at the same time I try to encourage students to develop self-confidence by letting them know:  ”You have a voice!”, “You should be using it!” I am not here to do things for them; my job is to encourage them to accomplish tasks independently.

I had to learn these things myself and now I want to pass that on. I am also a migrant; I am half Mexican and half Italian-American. My mother and her family worked out in the fields in South Texas. She always used to say, “You have no idea what it’s like to be thirsty unless you’re out in that really hot weather, picking fruit and walking so much…”. So I always had a good appreciation for this population, years before I even started working with them. I had an idea of what the migrant lifestyle looked like. It makes me feel good that I have that commonality with the students I work with. I can let them know that I come from that lifestyle, just a generation removed. My background in this way plays an important role in my leadership position.

Another important experience that formed me to the leader I am today stems from my professional career itself. Being a young, female of color is kind of a challenge, when working in higher education where most of the people you encounter are a more homogenous group-older, white males. When I first started my job here I was the youngest at the table and I had the tendency to think I wouldn’t know enough to keep up. But then I learned just because I was younger didn’t mean that I couldn’t contribute to the conversation or couldn’t participate in discussions about students and student services. I realized that I actually knew a lot and that I had a lot to offer – my perspective had the same value. Through this experience I learned a lot about myself and the things I want to accomplish by being a leader.  I want to provide our students with the help they need to evolve, both personally and professionally. I enjoy so much watching their development, from coming in as scared freshman and then leaving as confident seniors, ready to launch careers.

Keith Champagne

Associate Dean for Student Development


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• Higher Education Administration in Public Policy
• Leadership
• Diversity & Inclusivity
• Sports Management & Intercollegiate Athletics
• Student Learning & Student Development

General Position Description

Keith Champagne is currently the Associate Dean for Student Development. This area of responsibility is part of the organizational division ‘Student Success’ which has a ‘Dean of Student Success’ and three Associate Deans. He oversees the Health and Counseling Clinic, the Student Union Building, the Student Recreation Center, the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement as well as the Veteran Center.He also works with a men’s organization on campus called E.M.P.I.R.E. which stands for Extraordinary Men Pursuing Intellectual Readiness Through Education.

Belief Statement of Leadership

I think leadership is about getting people to reach organizational goals, to reach organizational objectives. To be successful in that, mostly a collaboration of a group of people is required. Different contributions of different people are needed. And so leadership means motivating people, so that they look at the goal as a common one – a goal, they want to work for.

As leaders we are placed in a position or a situation, where we have to get results “through” other human beings. That requires compassionate leadership in the ability to inspire others and have them develop ownership and a vision of a goal or a mission that you are trying to move forward.

The most important key to accomplish that is communications – clear communications. You have to be able to verbally express yourself and on the other side to actively listen to others. Especially in an academic setting leadership is a lot about the art of communication and persuasion. These tools are indispensable for performing your task of inspiring and encouraging others.

Thinking about me working as a leader I would say I’m compassionate, I’m tenacious and I’m assertive. Sometimes those could be advantages or those could be disadvantages. So you have to be able to always realize, when these characteristics are needed and when it is time to more taking them back.

Besides that you should never forget that the core of leading always is about people. I care about people and I have the ability to adapt to a changing environment or a changing world and then figure out how we can move forward from there.

The aspect that affected me most as a leader is the experience of being a black man in a historically predominantly white organization. I experienced that sometimes people may still harbor biases and stereotypes about black men in general and the society. And this taught me to be acutely aware of people’s biases that they may bring to me or an interaction with me. It instilled in me the ability to be calm, cool and collected as you try to engage in problem-solving and as you communicate with other persons. I learned to be careful how I lead. And that definitely influenced me as a leader in general.

Often it was a challenge to assert yourself in a predominantly white organization, but it was always gainfully. Something important I try to accomplish as a leader is to motivate and encourage other black people in making careers that way, too. There a so few black men in leadership positions – even in the athletic field I was working in. I’m looking at that through critical race theory and cognitive theory to get an understanding of why there’s underrepresentation, for example, when for black men athletics is such a part of the culture and such a part of who we are. So I want to make a contribution to increase the percentage of black leaders by being an example, showing that it is possible.

Cynthia Coe

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Director of the Women’s and Gender’s Studies Program


Areas of Interest/Expertise

• Feminist Philosophy
• 20th Century Continental Philosophy
• 20th Century European Philosophy
• Critical Race Theory

General Position Description

Dr. Cynthia Coe is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy. She’s engaged in teaching and research and service. Additionally she is Director of the Women’s and Gender’s Studies Program.

Belief Statement of Leadership

I think as a leader what I’m trying to do is get people to think more clearly and critically about their own lives. I would like people to think about where they are, what they believe, what they value, how they behave in the society that they are part of, and critically reflect on whether that’s who they want to be and whether the society they live in is the society they want to live in. That is, to ethically evaluate themselves and people around them. Sometimes the result is changing one’s own behavior and sometimes it means becoming part of a larger movement, kind of a collective action.

At the same time responsibility suggests that we be responsive human beings with respect to people’s needs and thinking about how that relationship can be productive, constructive and helpful for both. I try to make that happen when I’m in a class with forty people. introducing students to the history of philosophy, or feminist critique.  Ideas are transformative, but that transformation, that challenge to who we already are, can be enormously painful, difficult, and unsettling.  It is also, hopefully, simultaneously exhilarating.  Socrates famously compares himself to a midwife, helping people give birth to new ideas. That's a good, humble view of leadership.

I’m sure that my understanding of leadership is influenced by the fact that I have lived in various parts of the world. I draw on this experience to remember that what is normal for one person isn’t necessarily what is best and we shouldn’t get stuck in one way of thinking. For me that’s an important element of leadership. We have to remember that our own perspective is limited, and we should try to push beyond those habits of dogmatic thinking.

Patricia Cutright

Dean of Library Services


Areas of Interest/Expertise

• Library Administration & Management
• Library Technology
• Library Cooperation
• Native American Literature

General Position Description

Patricia Cutright is currently the Dean of Library Services at CWU. She is the chief operating officer for all three libraries – the Brook’s Library (main library) and the two branch libraries located at the University Centers in Des Moines and Lynnwood. By leading these libraries she ensures that they can provide the best support for the students and faculty in their academic and research needs.

Belief Statement of Leadership

My sense of leadership contains two main aspects. One is operating by example. The other one is making the people you work with recognize their potentiality in themselves by the feedback they receive from me. Key attribute to do that demands a good listener. If people don’t feel like they are being listened to, that you’re hearing what they’re saying, if they don’t feel like they can openly communicate, collaborate and contribute, you’re probably not going to be a very effective leader, because people will not feel appreciated. And that’s I think is the crux of good leadership, that those who you are working with feel appreciated for what they are doing. I need to recognize and they need to recognize that their contribution is extremely valuable and not only to me but to the community at large. I think one of the most important and most salient contents in leadership is that people recognize what they contribute is important and that it is appreciated.

My awareness of this fundamental element of leadership rose by the experiences during my career. I have been very lucky, because I have seen continual progress through my career in being recognized. There have been many difficult and tough steps I had to take. But I have met the challenges, and anytime it has turned out to be an extremely fulfilling time. For example the opportunity to create some legislation in the state of Oregon by representing successfully the ideas and needs of libraries to get legislative funds. That was a really fulfilling endeavor, because it stretched me as a librarian and it made me feel comfortable and confident that I could sit down with state legislators and sell them on the potentials of libraries. With these kinds of challenges and responsibilities I grew. The success and the recognition for that success took me further every time. So I experienced the meaning of recognition and esteem many times on my own which influenced my understanding of leadership essentially.

When I think about characteristics and skills that help me be a leader, I think – as ironic as it maybe sounds – it’s my rather reserved and quiet demeanor. Besides that I have the ability to pull people together and to get them to work collaboratively so that we have a positive outcome at the end. It’s my role as a leader to bring my team together, to develop with them the goals we want to reach and the way how we can get there. Very seldom it is a prescriptive thing, but even then I try to incorporate their expertise and their ideas as much as possible.


Amy Hoover, Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Aviation

Professor of Aviation


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• Flying (especially mountain flying) and Flight Training
• Research on cognitive processing related to cockpit multasking
• Geology and Ecology
• Outdoors
• Educational Leadership

General Position Description

Amy Hoover is currently the Chair of the Department of Aviation and a Professor of Aviation.  As Department Chair she advocates for the Department; for students, faculty and programs. One of her main responsibilities is assuring that programs are giving students what they need with respect to curricular and career training requirements, and to support them in their academic and extracurricular pursuits.  

A major challenge is helping students in the Professional Pilot degree secure funding to offset the high cost of the program.  Furthermore, she is collaborates outside the department through multi-disciplinary cooperative initiatives with people and institutions across the university and with industry, government, and non-profit organizations. In her position as a Professor she also teaches classes in Aviation, including instruction in CWU’s flight simulators.

Belief Statement of Leadership

To me a good leader is someone who can recognize and support the strengths and gifts in others to help empower and motivate them.  I want to make a difference in young people’s lives, to help and guide them, and help them meet their aspirations.

My style of leadership is not the “grab the flag and run out in front” kind; it’s more about getting underneath and supporting people and organizations from the bottom.  If I can get behind people and find out what motivates them it well help them go where they want to go.
In the Department we have a lot of very gifted and talented faculty and staff.  They are each really good at what they do so I usually don’t dictate how I think they should do it.  I may offer them a project and then support them in it; they  know I’m there, I’m rooting for them, I’ll help them, but I’m going to let them do it the way that works for them.

I have been involved in leadership through my whole career – practically and theoretically, (I did my PhD in educational leadership). I have served in various leadership roles before, but not only in the academic field. Before I got into flying I was a leader by guiding for eco-tourism, whitewater river trips, whale watching, back country and wilderness tours all over the world.

An important awareness I got from these leadership positions is not being so pedantic that it always has to be perfect. Often you don’t have enough time for that. And so I learned to kind of pull out what the essence of the task needs to be and then move forward.

Furthermore I saw how important it is to really listen to people – not just what they are saying verbally, but being able to read their body language, their non-verbal communication and get at the core what is it that they are really trying to say or do.
But also a dramatic experience in my life influenced me as a leader. When I was working in the outdoors – being highly active athletically – I was very badly injured.  I had multiple surgeries and I literally couldn’t get out of bed for months. That was an eye-opener that taught me a lot about myself and about other people. I learned about valuing people and recognizing that every single person has something to contribute, in whatever condition he or she might be. So today I try to help others find out what their contribution could be and help them motivate themselves. Then they are going to be a leader in some capacity and that’s what brings me satisfaction. In addition, that difficult time of my life helped me to build patience, which is often a necessary trait to have as a leader.


Connie Lambert

Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies


Areas of Interest/Expertise

• Special Education
• Early Childhood Special Education
• Inclusion of students with disabilities in K-12 classrooms
• Inclusive strategies for students with disabilities

General Position Description

Dr. Connie Lambert is currently the Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies.  Oversees budget and personnel decisions as well as daily operations.

Belief Statement of Leadership

Leadership to me is responsibility to the people and the programs of which I have oversight. It is also mentoring – both, Faculty and Department Chairs – concerning university policies and best practices; working with them to problem solve and come up with a solution that they feel comfortable with implementing. We problem-solve, but try very hard not to tell them what to do. The only time that I will say “Here is what you have to do” is if what we’ve previously implemented has not worked, and the problem needs to be solved.  My basic philosophy is working with people and providing the leadership that’s needed in order to get the best out of the programs and get the best out of the faculty and the students.

I hope I project a sense of fairness, that I don’t have a personal agenda, and that I work for the good for the whole.  I hope that a sense of fairness is evident by the way that I treat people, that I don’t come across as being biased. My style is collaborative, talking to people and saying “What do you want to get done? Let’s see how we can do that.”
With respect to the characteristics and skills that help me be a leader there are a few things that I think are really important: I’m prompt in my responses, I’m organized and a linear thinker, and I’m time-bound in the sense that I will start on time, I will end on time and I need deadlines. Additionally I’m consistent and reliable, look at things objectively, and if there are policies and procedures that we need to follow, I’ll follow them. If we don’t like the policy then we can work on changing it, but in the meantime, we follow the policy.

Concerning what I try to accomplish as a leader, I would like the people that I work with to be able to depend on me.  I would like to think that they know I’m approachable, my door is always open, people can stop by, they can e-mail me, and I will respond to them.

Marilyn Levine, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice-President for Academic and Student Life


Areas of Interest/Expertise

Strategic Planning and Implementation
• Diverse Budget Management
• Program and Curricular Development
• Faculty and Student Recruitment, Development and Retention
• Diversity, Global and Interdisciplinary Leadership
• Community Engagement and Partnerships

General Position Description

Marilyn Levine is currently the Provost and Vice-President for Academic and Student Life. This means she is the chief academic officer at the university. She is not only responsible for programs, assessment of programs, professional development for faculty, making sure all the accreditations and external agencies are fine. But she is also responsible for the Student Union Building, Housing, University Life and Residence. She has 16 direct reports, 8 Deans, one Director of continuing education, two Assistant Vice Presidents and an Associate Provost.

Belief Statement of Leadership

I view leadership as the ability to transform others into leaders. To me a leader is one who works empowers others in a moral environment, such that the vision of what they want to accomplish is to lead others to become leaders in that moral environment.
My other value statement is “I do not believe that ends justify the means”. For me -- how you lead is equal to where you are leading. It’s not just where you’re going. It’s how you get there.I had no career plan, working towards leadership positions. Through my life I have always been asked to be in such roles, even as a very little girl.

One reason why people have tended to want me to be the leader of various groups probably was my organizational capacity. Another reason probably is because I can understand people; I can harmonize relationships, understand the other person’s point of view and usually find a connection. I have been so fortunate to know so many different people and cultures all over the world. And what it has taught me in terms of my own leadership is, no matter what the situation is, no matter what the judgment proposition about the people or person you are facing, there always is a commonality. There should be a connection that you can make. And if you take the personalization out of it and you actually look at the issue, you can aspire to consider the issue dispassionately.

An experience that shaped my sense of empathy for others was being teased by others when I was a little girl. It has taught me what it is to be on both sides of the power equation. And so I think it has made me maybe a bit more sensitive to try to listen to the other point of view.

A skill, which is very helpful in my work as a leader, too, is that I’m a historian. Historians see things in a long-term perspective thrive on details, facts, and patterns. Interpretation and problem solving are key skills for historians.
Through my whole life I have had two criteria for accepting a leadership position. One – I believe that I have to be of real service to the entity. And second – I believe that I need to have fun. If I’m not convinced, if I cannot firmly believe in what I am doing, I don’t do it because I genuinely enjoy people, I love engaging with people and I really delight in being of help. In terms of my broadest aspirations of service, I live to help create world peace. And to me education is the highest aspiration to peace. That really is what animates me. My whole belief in leadership and my whole belief in education is to lead us to a better world, a more ethical world, a world where people respect each other for who they are, what they are and to empower diverse perspectives in the best sense.

Stella Moreno, Ph.D.

Program Director 

Center for Latino & Latin American Studies

Professor of Spanish


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• Literature, especially poetry
• Cinema
• World Languages, especially Spanish, English and French
• Latino and Latin American Studies
• Literary Translation

General Position Description:

Stella Moreno is currently a Professor of Spanish and teaches Spanish language as well as courses in Spanish and Latin American literature and cinema. At the same time, she is the Program Director of the Center for Latino & Latin American Studies (CLLAS). In this position, she promotes this interdisciplinary program focusing in the studies on Latin America and Latinos in the USA to get more awareness for these academic studies across campus and beyond.  She and her CLLAS students and affiliate faculty organize diverse cultural events to enhance the presence of Latino students and to invigorate the Latino and Latin American Studies Minor (LLAS) Program on campus.

Belief Statement of Leadership:

I would define leadership as having the confidence and knowledge to guide other people in a direction that makes them grow spiritually and intellectually. In my position as a teacher, I want my students feel a comfort about themselves that they take with them, perhaps even into programs for masters degrees and PhDs. I encourage my students by saying, “Believe in yourself! You are capable! You can do it!”  If I see skills in a student, I will let him or her know it right away.

Creating confidence involves showing them role models, by inviting successful young academics or people related to the students in some way, perhaps of a similar background, etc. We don’t need to go to Hollywood to find great minds and personalities. The extraordinary often lie in the ordinary. The kid coming from a family that couldn’t provide intellectual support, but who nonetheless, has made it to the top in the academic world is the role model my students should see.

The biggest influence on my becoming a leader was my father. He was a politician, smart, out-going, a man for whom there were no obstacles, and who appreciated the arts, the humanities, the sciences and overall, the imaginative mind. When my siblings and I were young, he taught us to try anything on our own first, before he would help us. He taught us to have the courage to be creative, whatever the task. “You can do it; never say no!” That instilled in me a lot of confidence in who I am, in the process to do and to challenge. It helped me in feeling the abilities that all human beings have and game the encouragement to develop the special skills that we are born with.  The perseverance of the creative mind does not have boundaries. That is the attitude my father taught me.

I try to inspire my students and friends to read and acquire knowledge that will help them grow as human beings spiritually and intellectually. By doing that, I am recreating lessons given to me at home and by the friends, professors and colleagues across all latitudes who have enriched my life with their kindness and wisdom.  William Segal expressed my feelings when he wrote that he wanted "to make all life more poetical, more sane, more living, loving. To experience the truth of all things, this moment.” As director of CWU Center for Latino and Latin American Studies Program (CLLAS), I want to awaken, in our university community, an awareness of the diverse history and cultures of Latinos in the USA and Latin Americans.

Marji Morgan

Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• British Social and Cultural History
• Food Studies
• Liberal Arts Education

General Position Description


Marji Morgan is currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. As the chief academic and fiscal officer of the college she provides vision, leadership and support for continuous improvement in all matters affecting the college. Her responsibilities include academic program planning, budget development and oversight, curriculum development and delivery, hiring and personnel actions, faculty/staff development, planning and development for facilities and equipment, departmental operations, responsiveness to students, fundraising and outreach.

Belief Statement of Leadership

I define leadership in terms of two ‘A-words’: attitude and ability. When it comes to ‘attitude’ it seems to me that a successful leader would have to have a passion for making a difference that improves the world around him or her. You have to be that sort of person that is not satisfied with the way the world is around you - whatever world it is. I can provide this attitude, because I had supportive parents and family generally. They made me know that there isn’t anything I couldn’t do. And that level of confidence or positive view of the world in my relation to it has helped me think, that I actually could make a difference.
Talking about ‘ability’, I think you have to have the ability to create an environment of focus, direction and confidence, even in the midst of a chaos, so that other people look to you.
An essential background that formed me as a leader certainly is the fact that I’m an oldest child. Responsibility was placed on me. And also teachers and fellow students tended to thrust me into leadership roles as far back as I can remember. And at some point, I began to think of myself as a leader and to seek leadership opportunities in my workplace and community.
An important characteristic that help me be a leader, is that I’m good at facilitating compromise and consensus. Since we were kids my brother thought of me as the family diplomat.
Besides that I don’t lose my cool, even when others around me do. I try all the time to “Don’t lose your cool. Do it later, when you’re alone on your bike or on the track or whatever...”
Equally important is the ability to cope with the sometimes loneliness and alienation of being a good leader. Often times you have to make decisions that are alienating, but you think are the best. And you must be able to handle that.
Finally one of the keys is getting the right balance between direction and collaboration. It’s very difficult, because people who are naturally leaders or who end up being leaders tend to be director types. But if you are too much a director, you will come across as an autocrat and you won’t get buy-in from people. If you are too much a collaborator nothing gets done. You can’t make a decision and there is not enough direction for people to be able to move forward.
Intimately connected with it is the requirement of keeping in mind that everything you do as a leader is about people. To me as a leader your main success is about other people’s success and helping them to achieve what they are trying to achieve. My job is to make the environment as supportive as possible for them and help them be good leaders. I’m not the only leader in the college. I’m the Dean, but there are Department Chairs, there are program directors and student leaders as well.


Michael Ogden

Michael Ogden, Ph.D.

Director of Film and Video Studies Program

Professor of Film and Video Studies


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• Film and Video Production
• Cinema Technology
• Technology Assessment
• Media's role in & impact on indigenous societies

General Position Description

Michael Ogden is currently the Director of the Film and Video Studies program and also a professor in the Communication Department. In his administrative position as program director he maintains the integrity of the program, supervises the curriculum offerings and advances the major. As a professor he teaches primarily production courses including single and multi-camera production, production management, directing, history of documentary and indigenous film.

Belief Statement of Leadership

Defining leadership can sometimes be difficult, because leadership is very nuanced. It is a spectrum of leadership styles and types, each of which is effective for different situations. But if I were to make a generic statement of leadership, it would be: leaders are servants. I consider my job to push the program and my faculty to excellence. I am not talking about an aggressive push to excellence. It is an encouragement and admonition, a desire that everybody is working towards a common goal and that they are moving in that direction. If you are successful in doing that, leadership is easy, because then you just stand back and let your people do what they do best. You are just there to help, to facilitate, to solve problems and to encourage.

Of course sometimes being a leader means that you are not always a friend, because you also have to do tough things that are uncomfortable for others. But you should be in a position where you can do that gently with an eye towards advancing the individual, helping them to grow beyond a difficult point, to push them forward and to praise them when they succeed.

Effective listening plays an essential role in your work as a leader. It means not just listening to what is being said, but also understanding what is behind the words. This skill is indispensable for making the right decisions, even if you are not given the privilege of a large amount of time to make a decision.

At the same time, responsibility for making decisions means to be willing to reconsider and not to be afraid to admit that you misunderstood something. Nobody wants a rigid leader who is always right even when they are wrong. You want a person who is flexible, understanding, sensitive and still a strong decision maker and advocate. Some of the most dynamic and powerful people I have met have been also equally humble and self-effacing, because although they are in a leadership position they don’t feel that they know all about what it means to be a leader. As a leader you have to learn constantly and you have to be comfortable with change. We live in a society that’s constantly changing. And it’s appropriate to be cognizant of the change, understand the direction of the change and be able to move those under your charge in the direction of that change so as not to fall behind.

This isn’t to say that we abandon tradition. I’ve learned how to walk with a foot in both worlds. My heritage as an American Indian and the advice I get from my elders has an important influence on me and how I view leadership. My grandfather for instance would always provide me advice in the form of a coyote story, an allegory. It was his way of giving me advice without telling me what to do. And that’s a unique leadership style that strongly influenced me and informs my leadership style.

Joanne Perez

Program Manager

Center for Leadership and Community Engagement


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• Leadership & Community Engagement
• Student Development
• Accounting

General Position Description

Joanne Perez is currently the Program Manager in the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement (CLCE). She oversees leadership development programs and events that are sponsored by the center. Many of these programs are developed and implemented by student staff; however, she provides the feedback, support, and assistance in order for students to be successful with program implementation.

Belief Statement of Leadership
People think leadership and management are one in the same, but our students in the center are learning that leadership is not about telling people what to do, but about guiding them to reach a common goal.

An important key to goal attainment is trusting others and having good communication. When CLCE was short staffed, I learned to delegate and rely on individuals to take a more active role in program development and facilitation. I believe it is important to empower others to allow them to be creative, and give them the chance to work independently.  The end result provides leadership development opportunities, for our center staff, and for others.

An outstanding characteristic of leadership that I value is respect. As a child, I was taught to respect others, and learned that in order to get respect; it had to first be given. This is something that has stayed with me and has helped to shape me into the person I am today.

I have been blessed with some really wonderful people in my years here at CWU, and have had the opportunity to be mentored by a few of them. This mentorship has taught me about leadership and the attributes of being a good leader. One thing that I have learned is that a good leader leads by example, never expecting followers to do something that I, myself, would not do. 

Having been in several leadership situations throughout my life, I believe that I have learned from each circumstance.  When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to hold leadership positions in various clubs. As a college student, I learned what it takes to work successfully with others. In my position now, I have had many experiences in which I have seen others grow as leaders. As a mother, I find this leadership role most rewarding, which, in turn, has taught me how to be effective when leading.

Stephanie Stein, Ph.D.

Department Chair

Professor of Psychology


Areas of Interest/Expertise
• School Psychology
• Child and Adolescent Behavior Disorders
• Curriculum-Based Measurement
• Assessment in Schools
• Lifespan Development

General Position Description

Stephanie Stein is currently the chair of the psychology department, as well as a professor of psychology. Her responsibilities as department  chair include planning department course offerings for the year, assigning courses to faculty, addressing faculty and student concerns, handling student appeals, overseeing the department budgets, preparing a variety of institutional reports (i.e. assessment, strategic planning, etc.), leading department meetings, representing the department in college-level meetings, and other duties as needed or assigned. As a professor she usually teaches one face-to-face class a year (abnormal psychology) and a couple of online classes in developmental psychology.

Belief Statement of Leadership

First of all, I don’t consider myself a leader, even though I am the department chair. I’ve never sought out a leadership position, but I agreed to serve as chair at the request of the department faculty.  I have, however, experienced ineffective leadership styles in others that have helped shape my views regarding leadership. For example, I’ve known leaders who are attached to power and distrust the ability of their subordinates to make competent decisions, resulting in excessive micro-management. I’ve never liked or respected those leadership styles so I’ve consciously made a point to avoid subjecting others to these traits.

Though I never aspired to be department chair, it turns out that I’m reasonably well-suited for the role. Probably one of my more useful leadership characteristics is my tendency to be rationale and matter-of-fact, as well as calm under pressure. I’m also open minded and tolerant of different view-points. Clearly my training in psychology and skills in interacting with people are helpful in my role as department chair. There are a surprising number of people who struggle with personal issues or interpersonal conflicts and need some patient and clear guidance in these areas. Though I don’t enjoy confrontations, I also don’t shy away from having those “difficult conversations” that are often necessary in any organization.

In regards to productivity, I believe strong organizational skills and a willingness to complete tedious, but essential administrative tasks are important components of leadership.  For example, I’ve been told that I run a great meeting. I start meetings on time, I have an agenda, I keep discussions on track, and I end meetings on time. This seems so minor in the scope of things, but faculty are surprisingly thankful for it.

One of my primary goals as a leader is to do the tasks that need to be done so that others can do their jobs without unnecessary roadblocks or obstacles. I think one of the reasons my faculty peers consider me a leader is because I trust them to make their own decisions rather than micro-managing their lives. I believe that the vast majority of people, both children and adults, know what they need to be happy and successful. They don’t need me to tell them what to do every moment of the day or what to believe. Instead, they need me to get out of their way. I’m most comfortable keeping a low profile behind the scenes so that others can take the stage. If I get to the point where I am vested in being a leader, then I know it’s time for me to step down.

Sarah Swager, Ph.D.

Dean of Student Success


Areas of Interest/Expertise

• Student Support
• Academic and Research Commons
• Issues of Women in Higher Education
• Accreditation

General Position Description

Sarah Swager is currently the Dean of Student Success. In this role she provides student support services on either academic or personal level through three Associate Deans: the Associate Dean for Student Development, the Associate Dean for campus living and the Associate Dean for Student Achievement. She is responsible for overseeing things like campus recreation, health and counseling services and tutoring and testing services.

Belief Statement of Leadership

I think leadership is taking the gifts that you have as an individual and finding ways to use those gifts to move a project or a group forward. Not everyone has the same gifts and not everybody’s leadership is the same, but I think it does involve taking what gifts you have and moving a project or group forward with them.

Growing up in a large family I have learned from early on that not everybody has to be good at everything. Everybody is different, everybody does have different gifts and these are valuable traits that should be used to reach a common goal.

One of the contributions I can make to this, for example, is my gift for calm. Even when there is something very difficult and very inflammatory happening – whether it’s something that somebody is saying or doing that causes an environmental problem or if it is a natural disaster – I am able to take this highly-charged situation and remain calm. And I think that’s a very important characteristic in being a leader.

Another helpful aspect is my ability to communicate effectively. I don’t think effective leaders can emerge from someone who is not articulate. It requires a certain amount of communication expertise, both in written and spoken words.

I have been in the higher education field for a very long time and I think some of the things that have helped me to become a better leader have been moments of adversity, where I have seen other people rise to the challenge in really productive and appropriate ways and I have learned from that. I think from some of those experiences in watching others who have been very successful, I’ve learned a lot about courage and conviction and those are things that I would like to sort of espouse in myself.

In my role as a leader I try to provide the best support and help that is needed for getting my staff to accomplish those items that are asked of us. So, if my superiors are telling me there is something that needs to get done it is my job as a leader to make sure that it gets done as effective and successful as possible. That does not mean that I blindly lead that way, but it means that I make sure that the people that I’m working with, whether they are above or below me understand the challenges and understand the potential consequences of different decisions. And then I believe it’s my job to enact the decisions that I felt to be prudent going forward. Sometimes that involves action on my part, sometimes that requests action on the part of other people – whichever expertise and talent is needed.