Monarch LEADS


This podcast explores experiences of leadership in academe and features guests from across our university's campus.
This podcast was created and produced by faculty members participating in Old Dominion University’s Provost's Leadership Development Series, an initiative designed to develop leadership skills and perspectives among current faculty members. 

It highlights leaders in a variety of roles across the university, from the major administrative units to more specific unit directors.   While we may have different responsibilities, specific goals, and target audiences, we are united in our call to leadership and our desire to serve the ODU community.

Our guests shared their insights about:

  • Their leadership journeys
  • How to establish a vision and buy-in
  • How to build and retain a great team
  • Leading an integrated life

Quality Enhancement Plan Director

Remica Bingham-Risher is the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Director at Old Dominion University (ODU). Currently, she works with faculty to improve student critical reading and information fluency by means of the QEP: PURSUE TRUTH: Read Responsibly. Think Critically. workshops. In addition, she teaches in ODU’s English and Women’s Studies programs. Prior to her time at ODU, she served as the Writing Competency Coordinator at Norfolk State University. 
A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Bingham-Risher is a Cave Canem fellow and Affrilachian Poet whose writing has been published in The New York Times, The Writer’s Chronicle, Callaloo and Essence. She is the author of Conversion (Lotus, 2006) winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013) shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Starlight & Error (Diode, 2017) winner of the Diode Editions Book Award and finalist for the Library of Virginia Book Award. Her next book of poems, Room Swept Home, is forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in 2024. Her memoir, Soul Culture: Black Poets, Books and Questions That Grew Me Up, was published by Beacon Press.

Senior Development Gift Officer and Campus Liaison for the Women's Initiative Network

Kyllie Spencer Bullion serves as a Senior Gift Officer in the Office of University Advancement at Old Dominion University. With more than two decades of experience in higher education, community engagement, and government relations, Kyllie has extensive experience in aligning teams, strategic planning, and directing philanthropic giving to advance academic and industry collaboration.  Kyllie works on behalf of the ODU Educational Foundation to build corporate and alumni engagement and investment across the university with a focus on major gifts to the Strome College of Business. 

Prior to her work in University Advancement, Kyllie served as program manager for the E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development in the Strome College of Business.  Kyllie also coordinates the ODU Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), a philanthropic organization comprised of women business and community leaders dedicated to mentoring and investing in first-generation female students at ODU. 

Prior to her work in higher education, Kyllie served in the non-profit and public sectors including project manager for the Council for America’s First Freedom in Richmond, Virginia, and as legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (ret.) and coordinator of legislative programs for a national transportation organization in Washington D.C.  Ms. Bullion is a graduate of The College of William and Mary (B.A.).

Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations

Dr. Krista Harrell is the Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations with more than 22 years of experience building community, fostering a sense of belonging, creating tradition.  She serves as the chief administrator and strategist for the Old Dominion University Alumni Association and Office of Alumni Relations, providing leadership for all alumni engagement. Krista is the leader in cultivating an alumni community of more than 165,000 living alumni throughout the United States and around the world. She plays a strategic role in supporting ODU’s advancement and alumni relations efforts and serves as a key member of the Vice President of University Advancement’s senior leadership team. 

Previous to joining her alma mater, ODU, in December, Dr. Harrell served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator at the University of South Alabama from 2012-2022. She has a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry and is skilled in Campus, Leadership, Student Development, Student Leadership, Career Counseling, and Sexual Misconduct Compliance and Prevention. Dr. Harrell earned her B.S. in Human Services Counseling in 2001, her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration in 2003, and her Ph.D. in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration in 2012, all from Old Dominion University. She grew up in Newport News, VA where she attended Menchville High School and currently resides in Norfolk. 

Director of ePortfolios and Digital Initiatives 

Dr. Megan Mize is the Director for ePortfolios and Digital Initiatives in the Academic Success Center (ASC) at Old Dominion University. She has over ten years of experience with developing and supporting ePortfolios and related digitally enriched activities. She is currently co-chair of the AAEEBL Digital Ethics in ePortfolios Task Force. Currently, her research includes mapping the labor of ePortfolio practices, extended reality (XR) use as an emerging high-impact practice, and GIFs as cultural and rhetorical artifacts. Her work appears in AEPR, Peitho, Field Guide, and In Media Res. 

Assistant Vice President for Research

Karen Eck, PhD, is Assistant Vice President for Research at Old Dominion University where she interfaces with internal and external entities in support of research development and policy, research strategic planning, research center review and currently serves on special assignment, since 2022, in the Integration Management Office working to facilitate the health sciences integration with Eastern Virginia Medical School. 

A Past President of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals, Dr. Eck was named a Fellow in recognition of her sustained contributions to NORDP and the practice and field of research development and currently represents NORDP on the International Network of Research Management Societies Council. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Eck holds PhD and MA degrees in Experimental Psychology from Kent State University and a BA in Psychology and French from Indiana University, Bloomington. She held post-doctoral appointments in psycho- and neurolinguistics within the Mental Lexicon Research Project at McGill University and Université de Montréal. 

Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Douglas Alexander is the Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Old Dominion University. The Old Dominion University Environmental Health & Safety Office (EHSO) is responsible for the administration of programs that promote a safe and healthy environment for the campus community. The office is charged with ensuring each student, faculty, staff, and visitor is aware of and adhering to ODU's environmental and safety regulations and policies. It provides guidance to internal and external customers on how to conduct activities in an environmentally responsible manner. Many of Mr. Alexander’s tasks surround educating the University community, implementing necessary controls to protect the environment, and investigating environmental and safety concerns. He enjoys taking part in advancing the environmental and safety culture of ODU through training, resources, and consultation to help ensure that all members of the ODU community are aware of and comply with the latest environmental and safety regulations. He also works to develop and implement strategies to reduce environmental and safety risks and to promote sustainability.

Mr. Alexander is a lifelong resident of the Tidewater area, graduate and near 30-year employee of ODU. He takes great pride in representing and supporting the University’s faculty, staff, students and surrounding community.  Old Dominion University is his home; it has provided the opportunity to reach his professional goals, while also offering a work-life balance that has allowed him to raise two beautiful and successful daughters, who are ultimately his greatest accomplishment.

Chair, Women's & Gender Studies

Elizabeth Groeneveld is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Old Dominion University. Her research explores how feminist media production both reflects and contributes to social change. Her first book, Making Feminist Media: Third-Wave Magazines on the Cusp of the Digital Age (Laurier University Press, 2016), provides new ways of thinking about the vibrant media and craft cultures generated within feminism’s “third wave.” Her second book, Lesbian Porn Magazines and the Sex Wars: Reimagining Sex, Power, and Identity (Routledge, 2023), analyzes heated debates about the politics of sexuality known as the sex wars, investigating how they were fundamentally engaged in the complex intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality. 

In this episode, hosts Drs. Gary Beck, Joanna K. Garner and Anna Jeng share what they have learned about leadership from creating this podcast series.  


Monarch LEADS was created by Dr. Joanna K. Garner, Dr. Gary Beck, and Dr. Anna Jeng, members of the 2023 cohort of the Provost's Leadership Development Series


Dr. Joanna K. Garner

Dr. Joanna K. Garner is a Research Professor at Old Dominion University and has been the Executive Director of The Center for Educational Partnerships (TCEP) since 2017. The Center of six faculty and two education specialists works closely with schools, museums, institutions of higher education, and educational nonprofit organizations for the benefit of students, teachers, and community members. Since joining ODU in January 2011, Joanna has been PI or co-PI on 30 state, federal, and foundation grants totaling more than $14M. Since 2010, the Center has collectively generated more than $45M in research expenditures, and has led curriculum and teacher professional development initiatives in STEM, computer science education, drop-out prevention, and military child education. 

Joanna's research includes STEM learning and identity development in formal and informal educational settings. She is an accomplished scholar, and her theoretical and empirical work on teacher and student learning and identity development has been published in journals including Developmental Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Education, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Science Education, and the Journal of STEM Outreach.


Dr. Gary Beck

Dr. Gary Beck (University of Texas-Austin) is an Associate Professor of Communication and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Communication and Theater Arts at Old Dominion University.  His nationally recognized research is focused on interpersonal, family and health communication, specifically as they contribute to resilience, hope, and additional positive social outcomes.   Beyond initiating the movement toward an online communication graduate program, Gary has led the development of an award winning ePortfolio curriculum plan for communication faculty.   In 2015, Gary was awarded the annually competitive College of Arts and Letters’ “Joel S. Lewis Faculty Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring.”  When he is not following his professional passions, Gary can be found doing dad stuff with his twins, exercising, or starting some new house project.  


Dr. Anna Jeng

Dr. Anna Jeng, a professor in Environmental Health in the School of Community and Environmental Health at Old Dominion University, has achieved significant accomplishments in teaching and research and is a leading expert in environmental health monitoring and oxidative adduct detection. She has published 68 refereed journal papers and delivered over 100 presentations at national and international conferences. Her sponsored research, totaling over 5 million, has received support from various federal, state, and industrial sources. Much of his research has directly influenced the environmental health profession.

Jeng has chaired or served on numerous local and national committees, contributing to the establishment and promotion of state environmental health policy, standards, and codes. She is a strong advocate for preparing future environmental health professionals and has served on national committees for environmental health program accreditation, aimed at enhancing curriculum and academic standards. She advised nearly 100 master’s and doctoral students, many of whom have gone on to hold leadership positions in industry, public service, and academia.


We would like to extend our sincere thanks to ODU faculty member Dr. Katherine Hammond, whose gracious equipment loan and patient tutoring made these recordings possible, and to Owen Russell for intro and outro music composition and production.