Twenty-nine law enforcement officers from across Virginia graduated on Sept. 23 from a Pamplin College of Business program on leadership skills, developed in partnership with the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation. Known as the “Institute for Leadership in Changing Times.” The program is in its 11th year, and the sergeants and lieutenants who will be receiving certificates comprise its 17th graduating class.
“Our program focuses on leadership strategies and techniques that are essential for emerging leaders in the public-safety division of communities and state agencies around the commonwealth,” said Sharon Scott, Pamplin’s associate director of management and professional development. More than 450 participants have completed the program, she said, including nine who currently serve as chiefs of police in Virginia.
The curriculum has evolved over the years to provide an up-to-date educational experience for sergeants, lieutenants, and captains in Virginia. Last year, Scott said, a project management component was added. Participants identify a project relevant to their job responsibilities before arriving in Blacksburg in June for the week-long program. They develop the project over the course of the summer, applying their new leadership knowledge and skills, and implement it in their jobs in the fall. During the program’s concluding two-day session in September, participants present their projects to the class.
“The projects enable the sponsoring departments to see an immediate return on investment from their graduates,” Scott said. “This year, in an effort to build a stronger and larger community of practice, the project information is also being presented to the sponsoring agency’s chief as well as board members of the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation,” she said. “With state agencies continuing to face budgetary constraints, this simple form of sharing practices is helps save research and development time and costs.”
Virginia has “one of the most comprehensive leadership development strategies for public safety in the country, beginning with the foundation course delivered at Virginia Tech through the Pamplin College of Business,” said Jim Atkinson, chairman of the foundation’s board. “We have found Pamplin’s management and professional development staff to be customer-service oriented, quick to respond, and supportive of our needs,” he said.
The 2010 graduation will feature a keynote address by Col. David Miller, director of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets W. Thomas Rice Center for Leadership Development. Participants in the ceremony will include Pamplin dean Richard E. Sorensen, Virginia Tech police chief Wendell Flinchum, Blacksburg police chief Kim Crannis, and Christiansburg police chief Mark Sisson.