Sherry Buss, formerly the administrative director for the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs (OIP) in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the director of administration for Lehigh’s College of Health. The first full-time staff member of the new college, Buss began her new role on June 17.
“I am very excited to welcome Sherry Buss to the leadership team in the College of Health. As the founding administrative director for the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs, she managed the day-to-day operations of more than 20 academic programs, research institutes and university initiatives,” said Whitney Witt, inaugural dean of the College of Health. “As the director of administration for the College of Health, Ms. Buss now oversees the day-to-day management of all activities of the College and acts as the primary administrative liaison to units across campus. I am confident that her deep administrative experience and leadership will propel the College of Health forward in this exciting time of growth.”
Prior to her role with OIP, Buss was a program manager at the Iacocca Institute and then curriculum director of the Institute’s Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry. As administrative director of OIP, she developed a non-traditional infrastructure of administrative support for the College of Arts and Sciences’ interdisciplinary programs. While at OIP, Buss was nominated for and participated in the Lehigh Pragmatic Leadership Program, an intensive, hands-on leadership development experience for Lehigh staff. The program, which focused on learning pragmatic leadership skills and how to be a coach as a supervisor, required participants to work in groups on a real-world project. Buss’ team developed a plan for staffing the College of Health, which they presented to senior leadership in May 2017.
“Our project team envisioned using a shared resource model similar to that of OIP, but on a much larger and broader scale – a university-wide model that would leverage resources to help build, grow and support the college,” said Buss. “Our proposal suggested that the college would benefit from the talent and expertise of existing staff while enabling it to expand staff purposefully and organically.”
Later, Buss joined a College of Health planning group working off recommendations by the consulting firm Strategy+ to develop a model for staffing. Now that the college has been established, she is thrilled to play a role in its growth and see the work of these groups put into action.
“In higher education, at least in my experience, there hasn't been a whole lot of opportunity to be entrepreneurially creative,” she said. “And this endeavor taps into that creativity. Working with somebody like Whitney [Witt], who not only has the background in academia, but also in business and industry, is invigorating. We are looking at things a little bit non-traditionally. We have the luxury of consulting others within and outside of the university, [asking], ‘How have you done things? What has worked? What hasn't worked?’ We can build a model that is going to work for Lehigh, for the College of Health, for today and for the future...We have this exciting opportunity right now to create something that's going to be sustainable, efficient, effective...and we can be creative about how we're going to do it!”
Buss also expressed appreciation for the professional experiences at Lehigh that have brought her to this point.
“In my 21 years at Lehigh, I have been really fortunate to have opportunities to be innovative, to be strategic, to implement meaningful change and develop my skill sets,” she said. “Lehigh has invested in me [through] professional development, and it's extremely rewarding to experience career growth here at the university. As a native to the Lehigh Valley, I am grateful to work at an institution that invests in and cares about me and my community.”