What inspires you?
Aside from my family, People. The human spirit. I am always inspired by the grit and tenacity of a person’s ability to navigate obstacles and overcome challenges to achieve their goals and live their dreams.
What makes a great leader?
First and foremost, leaders are visionaries. They see and forecast challenges and opportunities from all angles. They see opportunities for success and groom people for that success. Leaders are also people whom other people want to follow. Having a leadership title does not automatically make someone a leader.
Influential leaders are responsible. They take credit for mistakes and give credit to the team for success. They are good decision-makers and problem-solvers. They are observant and self-aware. They have exceptional interpersonal skills. They are approachable, eager to teach (and learn), flexible, collegial, inspirational, and compassionate.
As you can tell, I wholeheartedly buy into the tenets of Servant Leadership. A great leader is someone who knows when to serve, when to lead, and when to do both at the same time.
Leaders strive for excellence. No one is perfect, so it is unrealistic to think that every leader will achieve perfection in every endeavor. However, I do believe in the saying, “Always shoot for the moon because if you miss, you will still be among the stars.”
Tell us about a time you felt truly proud of your work. What did you accomplish?
A time that I felt particularly proud of my work was back in the summer of 2020. I had a very visceral and mentally reflective reaction to the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent social unrest. By then, I had already been facilitating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-related (DEI) workshops for many years. I began to question all of my previous DEI work and wondered if it was all worth it. I wondered if facilitating workshops on DEI-related topics was the most effective way to impact humanity. Basically, I was questioning if I was doing enough.
One thing that I have always believed to be true is that people (humanity) flourish when we are united, as opposed to being divided or isolated. I began to envision ways to bring people together to just talk and connect. As a result of this reflection, I started weekly Water Cooler Chats with my team to provide space to talk about what was going on in our country and to process how it was affecting us personally and our work. We had many great courageous conversations, and from that experience, I convened a team of colleagues and developed a university-wide panel discussion entitled, How to Facilitate Courageous Conversations in the Classroom. This panel discussion was offered in a live webinar format in the daytime and the evening. The recording was then archived so it could be accessed asynchronously.
Faculty and staff interest in participating in courageous conversations was very evident to me just by looking at the panel discussion attendance numbers. Those numbers showed me that people were interested in talking about controversial topics respectfully and in a safe space. This led to the creation of a DE&I-focused professional development opportunity entitled, BRITE IDEAS: Broad Resources to Inspire Talent and Excellence In Diversity and Equity for Academic Scholars.
In the fall of 2020, CTE launched the BRITE IDEAS training opportunity for faculty. In the fall of 2021, this training opportunity opened to include university staff. BRITE IDEAS is a diversity, equity, and inclusion workshop series that was developed in response to the rapidly shifting social, political, health, and economic landscape that faculty, staff, and students faced over the past few years. With their active participation over the course of seven weeks, faculty and staff are equipped with tools to help students achieve success during an unprecedented period of possible trauma, stress, and change. Faculty and staff who successfully meet the program competencies receive the designation of CTE Change Champion. These faculty and staff members then have an opportunity to partner with CTE to facilitate future training opportunities and serve on the President’s Mentoring Council. To date, 86 faculty and staff have participated in BRITE IDEAS and 70 (and counting) have been designated CTE Change Champions.
Outside of the BRITE IDEAS curriculum and all of the other training that we do, CTE has also developed over fifteen (15) additional workshops that support faculty and staff engagement with diverse student populations.
Tell us about your most difficult challenge and how you overcame it.
What many people don’t know about me is that I am a mixed media artist in my spare time. What comes with that is the gift to create artwork that is multifaceted with a variety of parts and embellishments. What I am finding is that I have the propensity to approach my work and personal life in the same way.
I often struggle with pacing myself and taking on too many responsibilities at once; embellishing (multitasking) to the point of burnout. The beauty of it is that I have a great team that I work with at Wilmington University who eagerly support new initiatives and my ideas, while also reminding me what is realistic in any given timeframe. In my personal life, I have family and friends who do the same thing. They support me, while also keeping me grounded and serving as my accountability partners.
Provide some information about your CTE and DEI accomplishments.
As a key resource within the Office of Academic Affairs at Wilmington University, the Center for Teaching Excellence provides a variety of professional development opportunities for all faculty. CTE is committed to actively promoting high-quality academics & faculty-centered services that enhance: excellence in teaching & learning, the relevancy of the curriculum, and individual attention to students. The role of CTE is to equip practicing professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to transition successfully into the role of an educator.
As director of CTE, my role is to “…provide vision and oversight for all forms of faculty development, including determining appropriate support, resources, programming, and training opportunities to facilitate faculty professional growth.” My charge is to work with my team, as well as “…faculty and other institutional leaders to collaboratively assess needs, develop programming, and evaluate strategies to enhance the knowledge and skills of faculty in achieving their goals related to teaching.” These words were taken directly from my formal job description. As you can see from the first sentence, being a visionary is what I am called to do.
I lead a staff of 7 who are committed to the mission of Wilmington University, our faculty, and our students. Outside of professional development, we engage in a variety of duties that support our faculty, including coordinating adjunct faculty payroll and assisting in the hiring and onboarding of our faculty. I feel extremely privileged to be able to work in areas that allow me to utilize my strengths.
Aside from my work in CTE, I have previously served as an Academic Chair, Founder and President of the WilmU Toastmasters Club, and a Faculty Mentor for Wilmington University’s Women’s Basketball team. In spring 2022, I was appointed by Dr. LaVerne Harmon (Wilmington University President) to be the NCAA Athletics Diversity & Inclusion Designee (ADID) for Wilmington University Athletics.
Dr. Adrienne Bey is a native of Delaware and is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. from the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy, with a concentration in Human Development and Family Sciences. She further holds a Master of Social Work Degree from Delaware State University and is a licensed mental health clinician in Clinical Social Work (LCSW), a Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate (CCDP-D), a Human Services Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP), a Human Resources Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), a clinical supervisor, and a diversity training certified leader. She holds a diploma in Biblical Counseling, and professional certifications in: Leadership, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) Assessment, PREPARE/ENRICH Pre-Marital Assessment, Parent Education, Nonprofit Management, Faith-Based Community & Economic Development, Conflict Resolution, and Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Dr. Bey currently holds the academic rank of Professor and is the Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, at Wilmington University. She is also the NCAA Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee (ADID) for Wilmington University. She previously served as the Chair of the M.S. degree program in the Administration of Human Services, and before that appointment, she served as an adjunct faculty member with the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Master’s Degree program, all at Wilmington University. Dr. Bey has previously held an adjunct faculty appointment with Walden University, where she served as a dissertation chair and taught online graduate courses in the M.S. degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Psychology.
Dr. Bey is the principal consultant for the ABS Empowerment Group, LLC, which provides the following services: diversity, equity, and inclusion consultation; clinical supervision and mental health technical assistance; organizational and strategic planning consultation; faith-based nonprofit program development services; motivational seminars; and parent education workshops. Through these endeavors, Dr. Bey has partnered with a variety of organizations to facilitate training and workshops across the Tri-State area and beyond.
Dr. Bey specializes in Cultural Competency Training, Clinical Counseling, Parent Education, Nonprofit Management, Program Development, and Executive Coaching.
Dr. Bey is a 30-year Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She resides in Middletown, DE, with her husband and parents, and she has 2 young adult daughters who are doing great things.