REGIONAL BOARD MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:
Dr. Steven Frye
Can you share how and why did you become a member of ACHE?
My initial encounters with ACHE came through my position in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Tennessee Tech University. Current ACHE President-Elect, Dr. Susan Elkins, encouraged involvement in the organization at the State, Regional, and national levels. I attended my first ACHE regional and national conferences in 2011 and 2012. The one thing that always stood out to me was the welcoming nature of the organization and the supportive environment that felt like family.
Tell us the story of your leadership path from being a member to serving on the Board of Directors for your region.
I have always believed that if you are going to be part of an organization, you should try to be involved in some way. My initial involvement was primarily through leading conference sessions, and the participation level has always been outstanding. My colleague Jonathan Taylor and I were asked to deliver one of those presentations as a Keynote at the annual conference in Memphis. My path to leadership started with attending regional meetings at the National Conferences and working with the Conference Planning Committee. This led to me being asked to serve on the ACHE South board as a Member-At-Large, and eventually being elected as Secretary at the meeting in Gatlinburg in 2019. Due to COVID interruptions, I now serve as Chair.
What is the greatest leadership lesson you’ve learned from your experience with ACHE?
I believe that leadership is primarily about relationships and enabling people to utilize their abilities and gifts in ways that benefit them and the association. ACHE has reinforced the concept that at its base, effective leadership starts with caring about the people and the organization. I have witnessed genuine passion for the ACHE South leadership. One shining example is Marilyn Read. Her consistent concern for the organization, and willingness to do what needs to be done makes me want to care even more. The fact that she would probably not like being singled out like this only confirms the leadership she embodies.
How has being a part of ACHE enhanced your professional competencies and career progression?
Professional involvement is, of course, an important component of my role as a faculty member and School Director, so my involvement has helped with tenure and eventual promotion to Full Professor. Watching how the ACHE family interacts and supports one another has hopefully helped me to become a better teacher and leader. Listening to others discuss the struggles of meeting the needs of adults in college/university settings has encouraged me in my endeavors to emphasize the needs of adult learners at a highly “traditional” university.
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers about your experience with ACHE?
ACHE is a wonderful organization in which to grow as a professional, a leader, and most importantly, as a person. There is always “room for one more” to try out their wings in service to the organization. I want to encourage others to take a chance – this is a place for your blend of abilities and passions.