Faculty Owl Leader Program

Review the 2017-2018 full program outline and expectations.

The Division of Student Affairs at Florida Atlantic University is proud to announce the Faculty Owl Leader Program. This program is designed to engage and involve faculty members in the development of students as future exemplary leaders within and beyond the campus community. Faculty are selected through an application and interview process, participate in training, and then facilitate several out-of-class leadership workshops/experiences for students during the course of the academic year in which they are selected. In exchange for facilitating these leadership experiences, faculty members are awarded an honorarium of $1,000.


  1. Present at the annual iLead Student Leadership Conference
  2. Select programs from two tracks comprising of ten different types of opportunities in which to participate, including LeaderShape Cluster Facilitaor, Owl Breaks Faculty Staff Leader, WeLead: Diversity Matters Leadership Symposium, Leadership Reading Circle, Rise Against Hunger, TEDxFAUJupiter, and more!

Honorarium: Faculty Owl Leaders will receive a $1,000 honorarium for participation in the program. This honorarium will be provided in one $1,000 increment (May). Faculty Owl Leaders serve a one year term (August 2017 - May 2018).

Selection: Faculty Owl Leaders will be selected through an application process every March/April for the upcoming academic year.

Questions: If you have questions or want to know more about the Faculty Owl Leader Program, contact the Weppner Center for LEAD and Service-Learning leadandserve@fau.edu or 561-297-3607.

2017-2018 Faculty Owl Leaders

Cheryl Arflin

Cheryl Arflin has developed and designed new courses; CyberLaw, Intellectual Property, Law for the Entrepreneur, and an MBA Course, Business Law and Ethics. Also developed an Online Intellectual Property course for graduates and undergrads. She is currently teaching position for business law curriculum in the College of Business, School of Accounting. Business Law I and Business Law II were part of the core courses for this department and were part of her assigned responsibilities. Intellectual Property, Law for the Entrepreneur and the Cyberlaw courses were all undergraduate and graduate level courses. Material for the core courses includes contracts, employment law, antitrust, entity selection, securities regulations, insurance, and professional responsibilities. Duties include: prepare lectures, design courses, participate in Faculty Learning Community Teams, research current issues, develop assessment systems to maximize effectiveness of student performance. Follow university protocol for grading, reporting, and maintaining technology requirements. Certified by FAU to teach Online courses by completing requirements for CeL 1001 certification. Nominated in the Spring 2008 for the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award. Worked with Assistant Dean Kim Gramm to develop the concept of an Innovation EcoSystem for the College of Business. A substantial part of Cheryl's time is spent working with students on the Undergraduate Law Journal as faculty advisor. Their pages increased this past Spring from 58 pages to 103.

Leadership definition: "Leadership occurs when someone follows. If no one follows, the leader is merely taking a walk. In the business world, the leader is expected to take their organization to the heights, knowledge of the law and an ability to grasp the spirit of the law is necessary, otherwise, the organization falls into the trap of minimum compliance. Leaders must be able to identify the competing interests in any system and aid the organization to find a balance for these competing needs, to embrace the spirit of the law underlying the rules. In our system, we need the law to ensure the health and safety of citizens, to make room for and support individuality, to insure nondiscriminatory practices. But it is through actions by business leaders that those exemplary public policies are brought to life. Our economic system, employment, education, and innovation systems, as well as social mores are all defined and ;experienced by citizens through transactions with businesses. And those transactions are defined by the leadership of those companies. We grossly underestimate the role of business when we charge them with making a profit as their only objective. The role of business and business leadership is to model and define the entire social and legal framework for our democracy."

Dr. Lori Dassa

Dr. Lori Dassa is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator at Florida Atlantic University working in the Effective Teaching Practices program in the College of Education for 10 years. She has published two books and several articles related to how students can be successful professionals once they become teachers. Dr. Dassa has an earned a masters of education in Pre-K/Primary education and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. Before coming to FAU she was a Palm Beach County elementary school teacher for nine years in grades Kindergarten, 3rd, and reading specialist. As Dr. Dassa completed her degrees in primary education and curriculum and instruction she knew the next move was to help develop teachers. Her research is a direct link to her work as she have published articles on how to keep teachers successful in the field.

Leadership definition: "My personal leadership style is to lead through passion and example. Passion because I feel a leader must authentically believe in their cause and example because they should demonstrate that through their every action."

Lieutenant Colonel Larry Craig Halsey serves as Chair & Professor of Military Science and Leadership (PMS) at Florida International University. He leads the U.S. Army’s “Southern Strike” Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), consisting of 19 Cadre, over 250 Cadets, and spanning seven university campuses across South Florida.

LTC Halsey has served seventeen years as an Officer in the United States Army. He is a career, active duty, Aviation Officer, with over 1600 total rotary-wing flight hours in the AH-64D Longbow Apache and AH-6A Apache Attack Helicopters. LTC Halsey has four deployments, including combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, and overseas duty in the Republic of Korea. He has fulfilled all his key leader development assignments in both Training and Deployed environments, to include: AH-64 Platoon Leader (Fort Hood, Texas; Republic of Korea), AH-64D Company Commander (Fort Campbell, Kentucky: Operation Iraqi Freedom I & IV), and Battalion Operations Officer & Executive Officer (Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; Operation Enduring Freedom IX). LTC Halsey has also served as Senior Aviation Trainer within the United States Army’s Mission Command Training Program (MCTP) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

LTC Halsey has served three years as Professor of Military Science & Leadership at FIU, and he previously served three years as an Assistant Professor of Military Science & Leadership at Missouri State University.  During these six years in U.S. Army Cadet Command, LTC Halsey has been a coach, teacher, trainer, educator, mentor, role model, and primary leader developer for hundreds of current and future U.S. Army Officers.   

LTC Halsey holds a B.S. in Communications Management from Missouri State University (1999) and an M.A. in Management & Leadership from Webster University (2011). 

LTC Halsey is married to his beautiful wife, Catherine (Rogers) Halsey, and he is the proud father of daughter, Campbell (11) and son, Creighton (9).

Leadership definition: "Leadership is the strength of will to strive for a purpose greater than oneself, and the courage and commitment to inspire others to achieve more they believe possible."

Dr. Doug McGetchin is an Associate Professor in the Department of History where for over a decade he has been publishing research and teaching courses in world, German, European, and South Asian history. He has published books on Indo-German connections and the history of German Indology, the study of ancient India. Dr. McGetchin is currently researching international debates about Gandhi’s use of nonviolence in connections between Europe and South Asian anti-colonialism. A current book project examines three struggles for social justice: Anti-imperial politics in Great Britain and Germany, the Indian Independence movement, and the pan-African movement that included the Civil Rights struggle in the United States. The recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program Research Fellowship in 2013-14, Dr. McGetchin and his family lived in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. His travels include two other visits to India, as well as living in Berlin for a year in 1999-2000 doing dissertation research. He has served as Director of FAU’s Peace Studies program and President of the Southeast World History Association (2014-15). Awards include the FAU-wide Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching 2009-10 and FAU’s Exceptional Faculty Award of the Northern Campus Achievement Awards, 2010-11, 2012-13, and 2014-15. Dr. McGetchin served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a lieutenant, is a native Californian, loves biking, surfing, is happily married and the father of three.

Leadership definition: "Leadership is about seeing what needs to be done and doing it. Leadership is the courage to act for a greater good, even when one’s actions risk censure, ridicule, and peer pressure from those not seeing a bigger picture. I admire leaders who are able to listen to criticism and adjust their approach accordingly if necessary, but not let criticism stop them from achieving their goals."

Leah Plocharczyk is the Assistant Director of the John D. MacArthur Campus Library in Jupiter, and an Associate University Librarian. She also works as the Broward Library Services Coordinator and Liaison for the downtown Ft. Lauderdale Tower campus where she serves as the liaison between Broward Main Public Library and FAU. Ms. Plocharczyk’s areas are collection development, instruction, reference, and supervision. She has been a professional librarian for FAU since 2007. Ms. Plocharczyk’s research interests are Sociology, Leadership, Conflict Management, Library and Community Outreach.

Leadership definition: "To me, leadership is standing up for what you believe in even if you are the only one in the room standing. I believe the strongest and most effective leaders lead quietly by example and with compassion. True leaders are guided by their convictions and are able to communicate the importance of their beliefs so that others are inspired to mobilize regardless of the hardships or difficulties that they may face. True leaders practice humility, have an unwavering sense of integrity, and a solid sense of self. Boasting has no place in a leader’s character, because a leader’s actions should effectively say it all."

Dr. Daniela Nikolova is a Senior Instructor at FAU and Associate Research Professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS). She has been involved all her life in Women in Science organizations with the goal to mentor and encourage female students to pursue careers in science: EWM, AWM, EU Committee Women in Science, etc. Dr. Nikolova has also served as a mentor of a female Oxford student, founded the “Women in STEM” Living Learning Community (LLC) in 2012, and participated in five Faculty Learning Communities. She founded an undergraduate research group in 2015-2016 with 2-5 students who have won three prizes thus far from FAU’s Office of Undergraduate Research & Inquiry (OURI). She has also won two prizes from OURI for implementing research in her undergraduate courses. Dr. Nikolova was the first to introduce Project-Based Learning into her Calculus courses at FAU. Students chose a topic about applications of Calculus in the real world (with the help of the Instructor), worked individually or in groups, presented their project in class, and presented a second time at a Workshop in front of Faculty and Advisors. Her work with the “Women in STEM” LLC was through teaching SLS 1503 and SLS 1412 in 2012 and 2013. She introduced Academic Service-Learning in her Calculus for Engineers II course and introduced an honors component (2016) in her Calculus with Analytic Geometry II course.

Leadership definition: “Inspire others to succeed by sharing with them your personal experience."

Gina Carreno-Lukasik

Gina Carreno-Lukasik is Senior Instructor of Sociology at Florida Atlantic University. She regularly teaches Sociological Perspectives (SYG 1000) and Human Sexuality and Social Change (SYP 3060). She also has taught Medicine and Society (SYA 4930), Family and Society (SYO 4100), Social Problems (SYG 2010), and Men, Women, and Work (SYO 4370). She also teaches Learning Strategy and Human Development (SLS 1503) for first-year students in the Arts and Letters Learning Community. In the future she hopes to develop and teach courses on disability and society as well as animals and society. Dr. Carreno-Lukasik aims to introduce students to the basic concepts within sociology and its subfields, help students use their sociological imagination to analyze current social problems as well as examine their own lives, and develop their critical thinking as well as verbal and written communication skills. She tries to foster her students’ sensitivity to diversity (race-ethnicity, gender, sexuality, social class, age, disability, etc.). In short, she hopes that her courses not only introduce students to the discipline of sociology but also help them become more informed and empathic human beings. Dr. Carreno-Lukasik has received an Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching Award, and she twice was nominated for Distinguished Teacher of the Year.  She also was voted by students “best SLS instructor” in Fall 2016. 

Dr. Carreno-Lukasik’s publications have been used in undergraduate classes. In “Sexuality, Gender Identity, and Hate Crimes” in Crime as a Social Problem (2012), she examines hate crimes motivated by an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Other publications by Dr. Carreno-Lukasik include Themes of the Times for Social Activism/Social Change: A Collection of Articles from The New York Times for Use with Your Allyn and Bacon Text (2005), in which she, along with Greg Lukasik, compiled relevant articles from the New York Times and drafted guiding questions for each article. In Study Guide for Our Unsystematic health Care System (2003), she and Allen Imershein created an online study guide for Florida State University students enrolled in Sociology of Health Care.

In addition to her teaching and research, Dr. Carreno-Lukasik regularly serves as a Faculty Mentor in Florida Atlantic University’s ACCESS program, which aids second-year students in their academic as well as career goals. Instructor Carreno-Lukasik also is the Faculty Advisor for Eat for Tomorrow, a student organization focused on encouraging children to strive for a healthier lifestyle through activities such as gardening and eating healthily. Outside FAU, Dr. Carreno-Lukasik cherishes spending time with her husband Greg, daughter Natalia, and cats Princess and Jolly.

Leadership definition: "For me personally, leadership means serving as a role model for others, encouraging others to live their life in a meaningful and mindful way by demonstrating your own passion and enthusiasm. To me leadership is about living by example; bringing out the best in others by practicing empathy and kindness. A leader should always practice compassion as well as critical thinking; they should always try to set a positive example and actively push for social justice."

Patricia St. E. Darlington, Ph.D.

Patricia St. E. Darlington, Ph.D., is a writer, life skills/Self-Empowerment coach and college professor who has dedicated her life to helping others reach their greatest potential. She received a Masters degree in Mass Communication and Public Relations, and a Doctorate in Communication and Cognitive Psychology from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Dr. Darlington is an Associate Professor of Intercultural Communication at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. She is a two time recipient of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Faculty Award in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University, and was the recipient of the Dorothy F. Schmidt Distinguished Teacher of the Year. Dr. Darlington was also nominated for the 2010 Inspire Integrity Award given by The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Dr. Darlington is the founder of Thoughts R US, LLC, an organization dedicated to helping individuals transform their lives using the power of the mind.

She is the author of numerous books including, Women, Power and Ethnicity: Working Toward Reciprocal Empowerment, Communication Culture and Community: Exploring and Reintroducing Civic Engagement. She is also the author of the award winning You can’t get to heaven wearing tight shoes: A book about personal honesty. Her most recent book is The Revolution: A Transformative Path to Wholeness Using the Power of the Mind. She has presented numerous workshops across the United States, in Hawaii and in West Africa, on the value of diversity, personal empowerment, and the power of women.

Dr. Darlington is an Ordained Non-Denominational Minister, and is the mother of three: Bashir, Rolda, and Headley III. She lives in South Florida with her husband Headley II.

Leadership definition: "Leadership involves two aspects: those who lead, and those who are willing to be lead. A great leader must have a clear sense of direction, purpose, and a strategy for achieving stated goals. A great leader must have the ability to guide those who are willing to be lead towards the achievement of those common goals. A great leader must be a motivator, a cheerleader, and one who is willing to provide rewards for achievements, great or small."

Wairimũ Njambi

Wairimũ Njambi is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Sociology at the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. Her research and teaching areas include science and technology studies, feminist theory, queer studies, critical race, gender, and sexuality studies, and more. Her work has appeared in journals including Feminist Theory, NWSA Journal (of the National Women’s Studies Association), Meridians, Gender and Society, Critical Sociology, the Journal of American Culture, Australian Feminist Studies, among other venues.

Njambi is a two-time recipient of the Award for Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching from FAU and winner of its Award for Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Advising. She is also a two-time recipient of the Exceptional Faculty Award, presented by the Northern Campus Achievement Awards committee on FAU’s Jupiter Campus.

Leadership definition: " I think the leadership definition provided by Kouzes and Posner is a great place to start, and I would add that the ways participants are mobilized is a key topic. Feminists have been discussing these issues for a long time, emphasizing ways of leading that distribute power across the group, displacing the "masculinist" model of topdown control. The one placed "in charge" ought to focus on noticing the abilities and potential for contribution among all group members and finding a meaningful way to empower them to use their skills toward the aspirations they share."



Gina Carreno-Lukasik

Dr. Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilín is both a Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature and the University Honors Coordinator. She completed her A.B. degree in French at Bryn Mawr College, PA; her licence and maîtrise in Comparative Literature at the Université de Provence I, Aix-en-Provence; and her doctorate in Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her areas of research encompass the literatures of the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. She has taught at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, as a visiting Fulbright Scholar.

Her teaching awards at Florida Atlantic University include the Alumni Association Faculty Talon Award (2003), the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2001-2002 and 1994-95), and the Award for Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Advising (2012). She is President of Florida Atlantic University's Chapter 128, Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Leadership definition: 

Learn as much as you can so as to

Enable others to share a vision.

Act collaboratively in order to strengthen

Diverse views and cultural competencies.

Envision a future of civility.

Recognize all contributions, as well as

Share ideals and values with a

Healthy dose of humor so as to

Inspire others to take risks.

Provide the nurturing environment needed to thrive.


 Last Modified 12/11/17