Leadership Academy for Functional Managers

Mission, Vision, Values

Functional managers play a critical role in supporting the business officer by effectively managing the daily operations of an administrative area or areas, with the most common being those for academic personnel, human resources, financial management, information technology, and student affairs.  With a growing number of larger-sized units resulting from administrative consolidations, effective functional managers must possess strong management and supervisory skills, knowledge of inter- and intra-organizational relationships, and the ability to effectively communicate and problem-solve across all functional areas.  LAFM is designed to help new/existing functional managers understand their leadership role and enhance their ability to work effectively with other functional managers and the MSO for the optimal functioning of the department/unit.

LAFM's goals for its participants:

  • Understand the organizational relationships between functional areas and your role as a support system for your business officer
  • Test your problem-solving skills to evaluate, analyze, and recommend solutions for cross-functional issues
  • Gain perspective on the nuances of business relationships with faculty, staff, and students
  • Broaden your leadership tool belt to be an effective adviser to your business officer
  • Strengthen your communications skills to improve the overall operations of your functional area and department

Please note: The mission of LAFM is to assist participants in identifying realistic and appropriate career and professional development goals.  LAFM is not intended to be a guarantee towards a future promotion or interview for a future position.

Curriculum & Program Calendar

LAFM is a 9-month program (October – June), with eight (8) half-day workshops primarily led by LAFM Committee Members.  Guest instructors from departments and Staff Education and Development have also volunteered to provide supplemental instruction.  While six of the workshop topics listed in the 2013-2014 Program Calendar identify a specific functional area, the case studies, discussion, and homework assigned will require broad analysis and problem-solving across all administrative areas.  The functional area workshops (i.e. human resources/academic personnel, financial management, and student affairs) serve as a launching point from where these problems and case studies may originate, but effective measures to solve them will require in-depth understanding of the organizational relationships between functional areas and strong leadership and communication skills to navigate and support the interests of faculty, staff, and students.

Two workshops are organized for each functional area theme.  The first of the pair will provide an overview of the functional area, showcase a successful model of a MSO/Functional Manager relationship, and assign case studies to the participants to analyze and problem-solve.  At the end of the first workshop, participants will be assigned a team.  Each team will be given one case study to solve before the second workshop for that functional area.  It is expected that all participants on a team work collaboratively on the case study, and it is likely that the team will need to meet at least once or twice in between workshops.

Eligibility Criteria

All participants are expected to be the subject matter experts of their respective functional areas.  An ideal candidate for the program is highly-motivated, a self-starter, invested in learning and professional development, committed to long-term employment at the University of California, and able to attend all workshops and complete additional work (i.e. case studies, Business Officer Handbook reading) outside of class.

The minimum requirements that an applicant must meet are the following:

  • Employees in classifications at the PSS 4 level and above may apply, with first consideration given to applicants who have supervisory responsibility in a functional areas
  • Currently a functional area manager, or aspiring to be
  • Non-probationary as of first day of LAFM training
  • Achieved a “met expectations”/”solid performance” or better on most recent performance appraisal
  • Supervisor approval
  • Must be a current employee within the vice chancellor area of Academic Affairs
  • Preferred: Supervisory Laboratory Training completed

Application and Selection Process


LAFM will accept applications from July 15, 2013 through August 16, 2013.  Only online applications submitted through the online application module will be accepted.  Paper applications and emailed applications will not be accepted.  The LAFM Committee will review all complete applications that meet the minimum eligibility criteria and select up to a maximum of twelve (12) participants.  Final consideration will be given to selecting a group that represents a diversity of staff from various position titles, breadth of experience, and divisional areas.   The LAFM Committee reserves the right to conduct interviews of semi-finalists in September 2013.  The selected applicants will be notified by the end of September 2013. 

As a courtesy, a PDF of this year’s application can be viewed via this link: 2013-2014 LAFM Application

Online application module: http://academicaffairs.ucsd.edu/Modules/StaffHr/LAFM

Deadline: Eligible staff must submit the employee section of the application by August 16, 2013 at 4pm.  The supervisor must complete the supervisor section by August 19, 2013 at 4pm.  Only complete applications will be reviewed for acceptance into LAFM.  A complete application must include the employee section (i.e. short essay and resume) and the supervisor section.

We strongly recommend that you discuss your interest in LAFM with your supervisor PRIOR to completing the application and submit the employee section EARLY ENOUGH to allow your supervisor adequate to review and process your application.

Please note: Costs are not charged to the department or to the participant for the scheduled program of activities.

LAFM Committee Members / Past Participants

2013-2014 Committee:
Stephanie Navrides, ECE, LAFM Chair
Gris Arellano, Linguistics and Human Development Program
Cyndi Muylle, Colleges
Alma Palazzolo, SDSC
Nieves Rankin, MAE
Andria Sprott, Office of the EVC
Linda Thai Schlossman, Office of the EVC

2012-2013 Committee:
Steve Ford, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Barbara Jackson, Music
Stephanie Navrides, ECE
Alma Palazzolo, SDSC
Linda Thai Schlossman, Office of the EVC
Barbara Seipel, Physical Sciences Dean's Office

If you are interested in speaking with a past participant, please follow this link for contact information: 2012-2013 LAFM Participants, 2013-2014 LAFM Participants

LAFM SHAREPOINT SITE (users registered by LAFM Program Coordinator)