Towson University has hired Linda Singh, the first woman and first African American to command the Maryland National Guard, as its first “Leader-in-Residence,” university officials announced.
Singh, who retired from her position as adjutant general of the Maryland Military Department in the summer, will share her leadership experience and expertise with university faculty, students and staff.
“I need to understand what my skill set can do to be able to help enhance the program that they have,” Singh said in an interview.
Towson University already has a number of leadership programs, including a professional leadership program for women; an Inclusive Leadership Institute, which the school describes as “a professional development program for senior Towson faculty and staff,” and a partnership with Baltimore County Public Schools to support young women leaders.
Singh’s work will include establishing an annual lecture series to bring in regional and national leaders to explore topics related to leadership and leadership development, working out of the school’s administration building and reporting directly to the university president.
“General Singh brings expertise that will further position Towson University and our students to lead in a global environment. In this role, she will act as a catalyst and resource with leadership programs across the institution and contribute to [the] university’s innovative approach to leadership development,” university president Kim Schatzel said in a statement.
Sean Welsh, a university spokesman, said the leader-in-residence position has been “in the works” for a while.
“It’s the first domino in a series of developments around leadership and leadership programming at TU,” he said.
Singh said said one challenge she foresees is that “more and more people are stepping away from leadership roles” because of the risks associated with them. One way to approach training people to be leaders in the future, Singh said, is to start with basics like discussing “what does it mean to be a true leader.”
Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education in October, James Wicks, an adjunct instructor and academic adviser at Middle Tennessee State University, said colleges are “are actually suffering a student-leadership crisis where more and more students graduate and head into the world of work still needing to have their hands held through life as an adult.” Wicks said universities should work to cultivate leadership where students “learn how to be stewards” and learn to “empowe[r] others to solve complex problems.”
Singh will start her job at Towson University on Jan. 22.
Welsh said he did not immediately have available the terms of Singh’s employment with the university.
Singh is currently the interim executive director and CEO of TEDCO, an investment firm that funds Maryland start-ups. Singh will not be resigning from TEDCO; instead, she plans to spend four days a week working for the firm and one day a week at Towson University.
“TEDCO is obviously completely separate, but I am here helping with the integration and the transition with the new CEO,” she said.
Singh’s appointment at TEDCO was announced on Jan. 9, and the firm is still searching for an executive.
Singh took over as adjutant general of the Maryland Military Department in 2015 under Gov. Larry Hogan; she had been appointed to lead the Maryland Army National Guard in 2013. Singh joined the guard in 1980 and was commissioned as an officer in 1991, and had been deployed to Afghanistan and Kosovo.
“I am just really excited about this chapter, in joining Towson," Singh said. "It really warms my heart to have such a perfect alignment of things I care about ... future leaders, investing in that. I just can’t wait.”