Leaders-in-Residence Program

The Leader-in-Residence program invites local, state, and national leaders who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in their field or research to play an active role in the Frostburg State university community.

Each Spring, a Leader-in-Residence visits to lend their expertise and wisdom in any number of ways, from speaking about personal and professional experiences to helping to establish project partnerships or creatively demonstrate best practices. The Leader-in-Residence program is, by nature, designed to be flexible, allowing the invited visitor to participate in classes and activities in creative ways based on campus and regional needs and interests.

The following are just a few of the leaders and programs featured at Frostburg State University in the past decade.

For more information, contact

Dr. Elesha Ruminski
CCIT Rm 348L

Spring 2023 Leader-in-Residence

Eat. Learn. Teach.: Influencing Community and Strategy Online and On the Ground

Facilitated discussion and cooking demonstration featuring leader-in-residence Theresa Stahl

Eat Learn Teach

Eat. Learn. Teach.” was a discussion and demonstration held on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in the Teaching Kitchen in Chesapeake Hall on FSU's campus. A snack-based cooking demonstration was led by the Kitchen's Chef James DeCarlo and local author and dietician Theresa Yosuico Stahl, who spoke about her recent book (I’m Full: Remindful Eating Tips to Feel Great and Make Peace With Your Plate, 2022) and served as the annual leader-in-residence. The Eat, Learn discussion series began in 2016 to put food at the center of civil conversations about mindful food choices, sustainable food processes, and diverse food partnerships. This was a Choose Civility: Allegany County event co-sponsored by the Leadership Studies program and Wholesome Harvest Co-op that supported the Center for Teaching Spring 2023 Excellence’s Be Well, Learn Well Campaign. The discussion was hosted and facilitated by FSU’s Communication Leadership Lab and students from the CMST 310 Civic Communication class. For more on Stahl's work, visit the Remindful Eating web site.

Spring 2022 Leader-in-Residence

Social Media Civility: Influencing Community and Strategy Online and On the Ground

Panel featuring leader-in-residence Dr. Dorene Caletti

Social Media Civility

Frostburg State University’s Communication Leadership Lab presented "Social Media Civility: Influencing Communication and Strategy Online and On the Ground" on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 6 p.m. in the Atkinson Room (232) of FSU’s Lane University Center. The event was also livestreamed. This year’s leader-in-residence was Dr. Dorene Ciletti, an associate professor, director of marketing and sales program and H.J. Heinz Company Endowed chair at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Ciletti’s experience in marketing, sales and strategy has been instrumental in developing new curricula, facilitating corporate and community-facing initiatives and leading student teams to success in regional and national competitions. Her teaching centers on experiential learning and design thinking, including consulting and collaborating with businesses and community organizations.

Additional local panelists joined the discussion to add their diverse perspectives on how to contribute to constructive and responsive communication that connects and moves people across channels, modalities and purposes.

Panelists included:

  • Mandela Echefu, owner of Wheelz Up Adventures in Cumberland
  • Ian Robinson, vice president and co-chair of the social media committee for NAACP Local Chapter 7007
  • Ashley Swinford, director of marketing and outreach for the Allegany County Library System
  • Ashli Workman, director of tourism for Allegany County

As a part of the FSU Day of Civility, this event was also part of #BobcatsAgainstBias and #ChalkItUpToCivility campus and community campaigns to promote an inclusive campus environment.

Spring 2021 Leaders-in-Residence

Why Not Nonprofit?

Three Local Leaders Discuss the Relevance of Nonprofit Leadership Today

Tuesday, March 30 @ 6 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Event will feature a virtual discussion among Leah Shaffer of the Community Trust Foundation, Julie Westendorff of the Allegany County Arts Council and Jennifer Walsh of the Greater Cumberland Committee.

Leaders will discuss how they became involved and invested in nonprofit leadership, as well as strategies for addressing Zoom fatigue, projecting an engaging presence online, balancing work and life obligations, building a network locally and supporting each other.

Sponsored by the Leadership Studies program and the Department of Management

Leah Shaffer Leah Shaffer, Executive Director of the Community Trust Foundation

Since joining the organization in 2017, Shaffer has successfully doubled its assets, increased name recognition and helped many philanthropic donors enhance the quality of life in their community. Shaffer’s career has always been guided by her underlying passion for youth development and community wellness.

Julie Westendorff Julie Westendorff, Executive Director of the Allegany Arts Council

Westendorff's career includes more than 15 years of corporate event planning and nonprofit management, as well as several years spent traveling with two lawmakers managing logistics around the globe. Westendorff is active in the community and serves on the boards of the Western Maryland Health System Auxiliary and Allegany County Chamber of Commerce.

Jennifer WalshJennifer Walsh, Executive Director of The Greater Cumberland Committee

A fellow in the inaugural 2019-2020 Appalachian Leadership Institute Class, Walsh served as a law clerk for Justice Joseph Baca at the New Mexico Supreme Court and for Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo at the District of Columbia Superior Court. She also worked as a legislative assistant at the U.S. Senate and practices law in Cumberland.


Heather Mizeur's Soul Force Politics

Spring 2020 Leaders-in-Residence

Heather Mizeur's Soul Force PoliticsHeather Mizeur, former Maryland legislator and candidate for governor, was featured as the "leader-in-virtual-residence" for Frostburg State University (FSU)'s annual leadership residency program. Mizeur shared insights on “Cultivating Soulful, Resilient Leadership for Social Change,” a brief presentation that will be followed by a facilitated discussion to help attendees reflect and integrate ideas and practices of resilience. 

Now the CEO of the non-profit organization Soul Force Politics and the host its popular podcast, Mizeur interacted with students, faculty, staff, and community members during an interactive Zoom event. The event was co-sponsored by FSU’s academic programs in Leadership Studies and Women’s Studies and the Offices of Civic Engagement and Student and Community Involvement. The event was facilitated with assistance from  FSU's Communication Leadership Lab.


Choose Civility logoInterfaith Leadership: Leading Across and Beyond Faith

Spring 2019 Leaders-in-Residence

Thursday, April 11, 2019
9:30 – 10:45AM
Lane Center, Rm 111

This second annual Day of Civility event features a panel of local interfaith leaders in a “fishbowl” and full-group facilitated dialogue. Topics of discussion will include:

  • Reflection on interfaith connection within and beyond our community
  • How to create an inclusive and safe environment for people of all faiths as well as for those who no not consider themselves part of a faith congregation or community
  • Perspectives on changing social norms and expectations regarding faith in our community
  • Considering how to address hate and bias locally and nationally
  • Creating common goals across groups and coordinating citizen leadership to reach these goals

This dialogue provided an opportunity for individuals or groups associated with different faiths (or not associated with any faith) to have a safe space to share and learn about interfaith work and how it is a model for civility that helps us celebrate and benefit from our diversity despite the challenges. The following local leaders were featured:

Father Dr. Godswill Agbagwa Father Dr. Godswill Agbagwa serves as Catholic priest chaplain and adjunct professor in FSU's Department of Philosophy. In 2013, Godswill founded a national youth leadership and ethics program that trains future leaders to live beyond ethno-religious bias through structured mentoring and externships.
Rev. Dr. Marsha Bell Rev. Dr. Marsha Bell is a recently retired Lutheran pastor. In her 16 years of ordained ministry, she has stood with Jewish and Muslim faith leaders at gatherings in response to tragedies that occurred on the national and international scene, as well as threatening behavior from hate groups.

RAbbi mark Perman Over the past three years, Rabbi Mark Perman has helped reinstate an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in Cumberland, been part of a refugee resettlement group, led interfaith Passover seders at various churches and  worked on community-strengthening efforts designed to help combat the opioid/heroin epidemic. He is in the process of putting together a local public access TV program at FSU with faculty called “The Interfaith Roundtable.”
Dr. nayano Taylor-Neumann Dr. Nayano Taylor-Neumann participated in activities to support asylum seekers from Afghanistan, became the director of a refugee settlement for a Lutheran agency and wrote a dissertation examining how people who had been rabidly anti-Muslim became their strongest supporters.

Past Leaders-in-Residence Guests

  • Dr. Joy Kroeger-Mappes of the Allegany County Women's Action Coalition, Spring 2018
  • Carmen Jackson of the Allegany County NAACP, Spring 2018
  • Nina Forsythe of Frack-Free Frostburg, Spring 2018
  • Lady Brion, grassroots public policy think tank Leadership of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), Spring 2017
  • Tara Taylor, director of Education and Outreach at the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, "Rural and Urban Values Dialogue," Spring 2017
  • Blaine SiegelEat. Learn. Shift. Dialogue Series, Spring 2016
  • Dr. Annette Holba, associate professor of Rhetoric at Plymouth State University (PSU), “Mindfulness Leadership: How Student Leaders Can Approach Leadership with Intention, Awareness, and Compassion," Spring 2015
  • Dr. Janie Fritz, director of the B. A. and M.A. programs for the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University, “Promoting a Culture of Citizenship in Student Organizations," Spring 2014
  • Dr. Ronald Riggi, Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology and former Director of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College, “Talking Leadership," Spring 2013
  • Jonna Huseman and Larry William, "To Occupy or Not to Occupy: Leadership in the Labor Movement," Spring 2012
  • Dr. Shann Ferch, professor of Leadership Studies with the internationally recognized Ph.D. Program in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spring 2011
  • Liza Featherstone, a journalist based in New York City, Spring 2010
  • Juana Bordas, president of Mestiza Leadership International, Fall 2008
  • Dr. Susan Komives, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, Fall 2004
  • Dr. Jim Cain, Executive Director of the Association for Challenge Course Technology, Fall 2003
  • Dr. Lea E. Williams, educator and author of Servants of the People: The 1960's Legacy of African American Leadership, Spring 2003