The topic of Megan Weaver’s research for her doctoral dissertation was moral judgments of chief academic officers. This theme prevails in her career and especially in her position of academic leadership as dean of master’s programs for The School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute.
“The majority of the students in our degree programs become mental health professionals and many of them work with vulnerable populations,” Weaver says. “It is my duty to model ethical leadership and decision-making and ensure that my students are well-equipped to manage the many challenges they will face in the mental health field.”
Weaver has been on the staff of Forest Institute since 2004 when she joined as an intake coordinator for the Robert J. Murney Clinic on the Springfield campus. Since then she has taken on increasingly complex positions of leadership for the organization, including development and implementation of three different master’s degree programs.
“Developing (these) programs required many leadership characteristics that I have,” Weaver says. “It also required me to set goals, follow through with those goals and measure them.”
Weaver says the best role for her in the civic arena is to connect people and resources.
“I not only enjoy helping people connect with others and events that may benefit them personally and professionally, I also think it is crucial,” she says.
She has been a member of Rotaract and served on the Rock’n Ribs executive committee. Weaver is now a board member of Friends of Abilities First, a group that strives to positively impact the lives of Greene County citizens with developmental disabilities and assists people in the community who might not otherwise receive the resources they need.
Facilitating key connections isn’t new for Weaver.
“In one of my first roles at Forest, I maintained relationships with community agencies in efforts to pair them with students in our doctoral program who needed to complete a practicum,” she says. “I not only enjoyed that position, but saw how rewarding it was for the agencies, the doctoral students and the people in the community who received mental health services.”
Beyond Weaver’s goal at Forest Institute to help students achieve their professional goals by ensuring the integrity of degree programs, she also hopes to influence the success of all master’s students, either directly or indirectly.
“I am consistently asked to write letters of recommendation for students who are applying for master’s level positions,” she says. “I also chair several capstone projects each year, which means I guide students in research and scientific writing.”Click here for full coverage of the 2012 40 Under 40.