The Board Nominations Subcommittee presents three candidates for consideration by the current faculty advisors and circle coordinators to serve as a Faculty/Staff Trustee and Chair-Elect of the Mission Committee. Resumes for the candidates, in addition to candidate statements and photographs, are below. There will be a candidate forum on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT). The election will take place electronically, and voting may be completed between May 3 and May 7, 2021. Details about the election process and the candidate forum will be sent to current faculty advisors and circle coordinators.
Jamie F. Bouldin (Stephen F. Austin State University, 2004)
Current Professional Position
Director, Center for Career and Professional Development, Stephen F. Austin State University
- Circle Advisor, Stephen F. Austin State University 2009 to 2014, 2021 to present
- National Awards Committee Member (2016-2020); Chair (2020-present)
- Accepted Presenter, “More Than a Title: Articulating Co-Cocurricular Experiences in Interviews,” O∆K National Leadership Conference, April 2020
- “Are You Career Ready?” Podcast Guest, Listen Up O∆K Leaders, November 2020
- Presenter, “ODK to Career: Integrating Co-Curricular Experiences into Professional Documents and Interviews,” O∆K National Leadership Conference, June 2018
- Five Star Society Inductee (2016)
- National Advisory Council Member (2012-2016)
- Chair of Convention Programs for National Leadership Conference (2014, 2016)
- Eldridge W. Roark, Jr. Meritorious Service Award (2014)
- Robert L. Morlan and Robert Bishop Outstanding Faculty Officer Award (2013)
When I consider decisions made long ago that have impacted the trajectory of my career, there is none more impactful than my choice to join Omicron Delta Kappa as a student. In 2004, I was the editor of our campus newspaper and had begun working as a part-time student employee within the Office of Student Affairs. The O∆K adviser was my boss, and one day asked me why I wasn’t part of the organization. That conversation has had more impact on my career than nearly any other. Being a member of O∆K and taking advantage of opportunities to serve at the national level for this organization has taught me so much and connected me with so many wonderful individuals over the years. I would deeply appreciate the opportunity to serve on the O∆K Board of Trustees.
I served as advisor from 2009-2014 for the Stephen F. Austin State University Circle, and was accepted to serve on the inaugural National Advisory Council in 2012. While I left my activities programming role several years ago, I have maintained my involvement with the national office, serving as a committee member and committee chair. I recently agreed to resume coordinator duties for the SFA circle, and have appreciated the change to engage with our student leaders once again. My department has also assumed responsibility for several aspects of campus leadership programming, so my O∆K experience continues to serve me well professionally.
My leadership philosophy can be best described as servant leadership. As my resume reflects, I have served on several local non profit boards of directors over the past 12 years, as well as serving on a variety of university committees. I feel that my skills are best utilized when I am able to help others, whether it is on a one-on-one scale when engaging in career coaching in my job, on a campus level by serving on tasks forces or working groups, or more broadly through experiences such as chairing the O∆K National Awards Committee, where we can champion excellence from circles across the country. I appreciate collaborative leadership and how many voices can help bring diverse perspectives to help move an organization forward. O∆K has given me so much over the years, both personally and professionally, and I would genuinely appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Board of Trustees.
When I consider the future of O∆K, I feel the organization has the opportunity to help advance leadership programming among its many campuses. So many excellent programs are created each year by local circles – my experience on the NAC reading Clay Grants each year shows me that our members are innovative, resourceful and creative. While we celebrate and reward these programs through the grants each year, I feel we could be capturing this information to help replicate some of these efforts on other campuses. Creating a guidebook for elements of signature leadership programming could help newer or struggling circles utilize the innovative ideas of other circles to help create programs on their campuses. I feel that utilizing some of the stronger student leaders and stronger circles to help struggling circles could be beneficial as well. The national office team is resourceful and helpful to circles, but often hearing from peers can be very impactful to students. We may achieve more traction by connecting students with other students for assistance and motivation, as well as assisting the national office in their outreach efforts. And, finally, I have been excited to see the efforts of the organization toward equity, diversity and inclusion, and feel this should continue to be championed in all efforts moving forward.
The Society faces tough challenges right now – the pandemic, shifting to virtual programming, competition from other leadership organizations, etc. I have been proud to call myself a member of the Society since 2004, and would be honored to step up to serve the organization on the Board of Trustees to contribute my skills to facing these challenges.
Sheridan W. Henson (Cumberland University, 2008)
Current Professional Position
Executive Director of Academic Support and Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, Cumberland University
In 2008, as a graduate student, Dr. Henson was inducted as a member of the Cumberland Circle at Cumberland University and the following year as a staff member began serving in support of the Circle’s formal ceremonies. Since his induction, Dr. Henson served as a faculty advisor and finally as the Circle Coordinator since 2016. Under his direction, the Cumberland Circle sent its first-ever delegate and advisor to the National Convention in 2018. Prior to Dr. Henson’s role as Circle Coordinator, the Cumberland Circle maintained a standard role as a recognition society on campus; however, under his guidance, the Circle has applied for several Maurice A. Clay Grants and been awarded grants in 2019, 2020, and 2021. These grants have funded leadership programs Dr. Henson and fellow colleagues have designed to bring inclusivity, diversity, and connectivity between students, faculty, and notable public figures.
Additionally, Dr. Henson has organized an annual effort to recognize campus and community leaders as members, honoris causa. Dr. Henson was successful in arranging honorary memberships for notable local leaders and academicians as well as nationally known leaders such as Congressman Jim Copper of Tennessee. Many enduring relationships between leaders and the university were strengthened or encouraged through these special moments.
Dr. Henson utilizes several approaches to advocating for Omicron Delta Kappa. First, since his appointment as Circle Coordinator in 2016, he has encouraged students, faculty, and alumni members of the Cumberland Circle to consider charitable contributions to the local Circle, and has successfully maintained a healthy Circle fund for student use. Dr. Henson also encouraged many Circle alumni to support national efforts such as the “Gift of Membership” option. On a personal level, Dr. Henson prioritizes his dedication and sets the example by participating in annual giving, contributing to National efforts on a monthly basis.
Second, Dr. Henson promotes the need for faculty and student participation in Cumberland Circle functions and ceremonies. Faculty are reconnected to the Circle through these events, and Dr. Henson is eager to recruit and invest the time needed from the faculty to ensure the Circle is an active presence on campus.
Third, he ventured beyond the minimum requirements of a Circle Coordinator and pursued committee service at the national level beginning in 2020. Dr. Henson has the pleasure of serving on the National Awards Committee, the Missions Committee, and the Circle and Membership Standards Subcommittee. Although he is new to this role, Dr. Henson plans to demonstrate to his fellow Cumberland Circle members that service to Omicron Delta Kappa is as diverse and engaging as its membership and doesn’t end upon college graduation.
Interest in serving O∆K on the Board of Trustees
Whenever I advocate for Omicron Delta Kappa on campus, I always begin by explaining to students, faculty, and community leaders that it is the premier society we can offer at our university. Students and faculty alike purposely avoid honorary titles for the sake of ceremony. They desire active organizations that promote personal and professional development. As a member of the Board of Trustees, I can support the society’s focus to uphold our high standards of achievement, encourage circle involvement, and grow the footprint of the national body.
Engagement with O∆K at the circle level
As a Circle Coordinator, I am proudest of my ability to act as the unifying force within the Circle and its relationship with the university leadership and the community. We maintain a reputation of students motivated to serve the wellbeing of all students through quality programming and the demonstration of genuine servant leadership.
Since my induction in 2008, I have transitioned to Faculty Advisor and later Circle Coordinator, managing the induction process, guiding years of student leaders in the formation of strong officer cadres and effective membership teams. We have fostered a reputation as campus leaders who support academic excellence and leadership development.
I have also found great value in maintaining disciplined Circle practices, and during my time of service, our Circle has gone from a mere recognition body to an active group of student leaders who strive to meet the requirements for Circle of Distinction, Superior Circle, and our 2020 Presidential Award of Excellence.
Charitable giving to both the local Circle and to community non-profits has always been a focus for me and my Circle. As Circle Coordinator, I have had the pleasure of encouraging and promoting that need locally, and have seen the value enjoyed by both the giver and the receivers.
I believe effective leaders should begin with a mastery of followership. We show courage when we support through followership the mission and goals of our leaders, we model that behavior to our students, and then we provide opportunities for students to combine humble followership with confident leadership principles. It is grounded in the desire to see all members of the team succeed, thrive, and eventually replace their mentors and guides.
Purpose for running
When I was given the honor of membership, Omicron Delta Kappa gave me an outlet to serve my students outside of the classroom. Membership provides the tools I need to connect students to accomplished leaders and top-notch faculty. I do not think I will ever be able to repay the society for the honor bestowed, but I can offer my time, energy, and love of Omicron Delta Kappa as an active and contributing member of the Board of Trustees.
Goals for the Society’s future
Omicron Delta Kappa must be the first organization faculty and administrators think of when they are looking for answers in leadership development. Graduates need not go unprepared into the workforce. They should always find a place for instruction, motivation, and practical leadership application within the services provided by Omicron Delta Kappa. It is my goal to see our society broaden and strengthen our ability to grow leaders.
Omicron Delta Kappa must also increase our relationships with key university executives and community influencers. Few Circles are able to remain viable without their fervent support. If the society is to push further into the western states and internationally, the faculty/staff trustee must set realistic goals for assisting and supporting the national organization in its plans to create and maintain healthy relationships with these leaders.
With the establishment of the virtual Circle and the admittance of sophomores, now is the time to maximize our visibility online and provide the highest level of convenience and ease of access for qualified applicants. I believe the faculty/staff trustee can effectively support those efforts as outlined by the national office.
Ryan L. Upshaw (University of Mississippi, 2005)
Current Professional Position
Chief Diversity Officer, Jackson Preparatory School
I had the wonderful opportunity to be inducted into the Alpha Phi Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa in 2005 as a rising senior, and I was an active member of the circle from 2005-2006 when I graduated. Fast forward a few years, and I was asked by the then-president to serve as advisor to the circle after their faculty advisor announced his retirement from the university. I served as advisor to the Alpha Phi circle at the University of Mississippi from 2010-2020 when I assumed the role of Chief Diversity Officer at Jackson Preparatory School. During my time as advisor, I worked with the organization to create the O∆K Freshman Leadership Awards to recognize outstanding leadership among first-year students, many of whom became members of the chapter. Additionally, I worked with Lambda Sigma sophomore honor society and our student government’s freshman programs to develop a leadership mixer where members of all three groups could interact and engage.
Along the way, I served on a variety of committees with the society including the National Advisory Council, the Scholarship Review and Selection Committee, the National Awards Committee, the National Nominating Committee and most recently, the DEI Awards subcommittee. I was also asked to chair the Leadership Development Committee. In 2018, I was honored to receive the O∆K Meritorious Service Award.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with Omicron Delta Kappa, and it would be a distinct honor to be elected to serve on the O∆K Board of Trustees.
Omicron Delta Kappa has been a part of my life for quite some time now. As a college student, I had no idea that I would eventually serve as advisor to the very Circle that I was inducted into some years before. Higher education is my passion, although I have taken a brief break from the field, and working with the students in the Alpha Phi Circle truly impacted me. As mentioned in the statement, I served as advisor for ten years before changing career paths. I am confident that I would still be serving in that capacity if I stayed at the university and hope there may be an option to advise a circle when I return to higher education in the near future.
After serving on a variety of O∆K committees, I am seeking an opportunity to continue to serve the society through a position on the Board of Trustees. I believe that my experience serving on various boards including for the Mississippi Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program, the Mississippi Food Network, the UM School of Education and serving as Board President for United Way of Lafayette County have helped me understand the role of a board member as well as provided me important opportunities to lead. As a servant leader, it is important for me to serve those that I work with and provide support where needed. Empowerment is important to me as a leader because I believe it creates the environment to get the best out of employees, volunteers, etc.
My main goals would be for O∆K to continue to expand especially into the HBCU market, explore options to restore dormant circles and seek options for new scholarships. It’s important to keep O∆K alive through chartering new circles and reestablishing former circles. I would also like to be a part of our DEI efforts and showing potential members the benefit of becoming a member of O∆K. I ran into many students at Ole Miss who failed to see the value of college honor societies in general. Increasing benefits like graduate/professional scholarships, possible career mentorship programs and other networking options would be advantageous.
I would be honored to serve as a member of O∆K’s Board of Trustees and would hold this position in high regard and remain committed throughout the term of service.