Three MSUCOM faculty and academic staff among MSU Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development 2023-2024 fellowship cohorts


Three members of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine community are among the individuals taking part in five prestigious university programs for the 2023-24 academic year. They are among the new group of faculty, academic staff and leaders recently welcomed by the MSU Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development to its five cohort programs: The Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program Fellows, the Big Ten Academic Alliance Department Executive Officer Fellows, the Lilly Teaching Fellows, the Walter and Pauline Adams Academy Fellows and the Academic Leadership Fellows.

Katherine Ruger, Ed.D., senior associate dean of Admissions and Student Affairs, was honored with a Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program (ALP) fellowship.  ALP is designed to provide intensive leadership and managerial development, focusing on the challenges of academic administration at major research universities. These challenges include tightening budgets, changing student populations, and increasing pressures from external sources.

Dr. Ruger expressed her gratitude and excitement for being selected for the program, saying, “I am really enjoying the fellowship and am grateful for the insight Big Ten academic leaders have shared, not to mention the insight of my fellow cohort members.”

Anne Dorrance, Ph.D., chairperson and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and W. Britt Zimmerman, D.O., FACS, DFACOS, chairperson and associate professor in the Department of Osteopathic Surgical Specialties, were both awarded Big Ten Academic Alliance Department Executive Officer (DEO) fellowships.

The DEO Program is tailored to department chairs, school directors and associate deans with comparable responsibilities. The program emphasizes the development of leadership skills and problem-solving, with a specific focus on case study analysis and peer mentoring. Department heads and chairs from Big Ten Academic Alliance universities convene annually for a three-day leadership development seminar. The seminar covers a range of topics, including conflict resolution, time management, faculty development, performance reviews and group problem-solving.

"It was an amazing experience, and something I would highly recommend to any new department head. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to share experiences with chairs of departments that are very different from Pharm Tox," Dr. Dorrance said.

Dr. Zimmerman also spoke highly of the experience. "We learned in a multidisciplinary setting, and I was able to set goals personally and for my department for the short term and long term. Additionally, I learned the technique of 'Critical Friends' conversation to solve problems. This collaborative protocol allowed me to identify blind spots and approach issues from a different perspective,” he said. “The entire course was worth the time investment, and I was proud to represent MSU."

For more information on the fellowships, please visit