Published on August 2nd, 2021 | by University Communications



Applause, a monthly feature, celebrates the successes of Saint Leo University faculty and staff. If you would like to submit an accomplishment, please send details to Highlights may include external leadership appointments, awards, and notable presentation opportunities.

Dr. Holly Atkins, chair of undergraduate education, is a member of the Leadership Tampa Bay Class of 2022. Leadership Tampa is one of the oldest regional leadership programs in the country. New members enroll each year from businesses and organizations for programming that gives them insights into current regional challenges and opportunities. Atkins is also an associate professor of education.

Dr. Will Hamilton, chief assessment and institutional research officer, was published in the journal Adult Education Quarterly recently with results of a study on the role of grit, or perseverance, in the success of adult college students. Students who enrolled in classroom settings and students who studied online were included in the research. The article is titled “Too Much Grit to Quit? An Examination of Grit in Two Separate Within-Institution Contexts” and was posted on August 3. It is available at: It is also available in the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library in print.

Dr. Helen MacLennan, associate professor of management, will selected to present at The Leadership Summit, to be held September 28-30, at the University of South Florida. The event’s theme is “Focus on Ethical and Inclusive Leadership: Strategies for a Post-COVID World.” MacLennan’s presentation is to be called “Incivility and Negativity Spiral: Revamping Your Organizational Culture.” 

Dr. Debra Thrower received the Tampa 2021 Social Work Educator of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers – Florida, Tampa Bay Unit, earlier this year. She is an assistant professor in the undergraduate social work program and teaches at the Tampa Education Center. The honor came shortly after another significant accomplishment: Thrower completed her doctorate in social work in early 2021.

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