Spring 2014 Member Spotlight

Comfort Okpala NCARE_Comfort

Professor and Interim Chair

Department of Leadership Studies

School of Education

North Carolina A & T State University

Greensboro, NC

How long have you been a member of NCARE?

I joined NCARE in 1997 as a doctoral student and have maintained membership. I have served on the Board of NCARE several years ago for two consecutive terms.

Why did you join NCARE and how has being a member benefitted you?

When I was a doctoral student, one of my professors- Dr. Tanya Suarez- made it a requirement for students in her class to present their research papers at professional associations and NCARE was number one on her list. I was so thrilled the year my paper was accepted for presentation. NCARE is an incredible professional association that provides the platform for scholarly discourse and engagement. NCARE had played a significant role in my professional growth and development, and I have gained tremendously over the years through the network of scholars.

Please briefly discuss research you are currently conducting (the elevator talk version).

I am currently looking at leadership behaviors and competencies of leaders in higher education with a focus on academic deans.

What is your greatest lesson learned about conducting educational research?

There are so many lessons to be learned about conducting research, but the greatest lesson learned is appreciating the value of research. Research has so much value that it is absolutely critical that we not only engage in the production of knowledge, but also in the consumption of research. This is why NCARE is a valuable professional association with annual conferences across North Carolina where research is shared and consumed.

What are you most interested in learning about and/or doing next as a researcher?

I am interested in knowing the impact of spirituality on leaders in higher education.  How will higher education leaders define spirituality? I will like to know whether differences exist between male and female leaders in their perceptions of the role of spirituality on their leadership endeavors in higher education.