Faculty and Staff Programs

The Women’s Advancement Initiative also has several programs for women faculty and staff.

The Laura Johnson Leaders Program

Created in 2008, the Laura Johnson Leaders Program is a leadership development program for women faculty and staff at the University of Hartford. In its inclusion of faculty and staff together, this popular program succeeds not only in building leadership and confidence, but also in fostering greater community on campus. Continuing the legacy of Hartford College for Women, this program was named for Laura Johnson, a former Dean and President of Hartford College for Women who personified leadership and instilled confidence in the many Hartford College for Women students whose lives she touched.

Participants benefit from an innovative leadership training program, networking, engagement in a campus or personal development project, and exposure to higher level decision making within the University and beyond. Participation is free thanks to the generosity of The Women’s Advancement Initiative’s donors.

Since 2008, more than 126 Laura Johnson Leaders have participated in this innovative two-year program. More than 17% have gone on to advanced leadership roles.

Laura Johnson Leaders Program 2022-2024 Schedule

Sessions are held on campus on Friday afternoons, 12:00-3:00 p.m., once a month in year one and once a semester in year two. Lunch and light refreshments are provided starting at 11:45 a.m. The new program plan is being finalized. Previous session topics included: advancing your professional and personal potential, communicating with confidence, developing inclusive and resilient leaders, financial management, leadership during challenging times, negotiation and conflict resolution, and appreciating your journey in authentic leadership.

LJL Session #1
Friday, September 16, 2022 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

LJL Session #2
Friday, October 7, 2022 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

LJL Session #3
Friday, November 4, 2022 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

LJL Session #4
Friday, February 3, 2023 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

LJL Session #5
Friday, March 3, 2023 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

LJL Session #6
Friday, March 31, 2023 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

LJL Session #7
Friday, October 6, 2023 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

LJL Session #8
Friday, March 1, 2024 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm

For more information, please contact:

Amy Jaffe Barzach, Executive Director, 860.768.5471,

Dina Morris, Director, 860.768.5961, 

In 2021, four faculty and staff members received the Laura Johnson Leadership Award. The awards were presented to women faculty and staff who honor the spirit of Laura Johnson, third dean and first president of Hartford College for Women. Laura Johnson was known for her vision, leadership, and empowerment of others. The awardees received a certificate of recognition and funding for professional development. Congratulations Christine Grant, executive director of Diversity and Community Engagement; Carol Padberg, professor, director and founder of the Nomad Interdisciplinary MFA Program; Karla Loya, assistant professor of Educational Leadership; and Jennifer Olson, technical services librarian.

Yingcui Li

Assistant Professor, Biology,

Dr. Yingcui Li, a 2017 Faculty Fellow, conducts genetic analysis and genomic treatment for disorders and diseases, particularly those related to cartilage cells and osteoarthritis, while mentoring her biology students and taking them to visit Jackson Laboratory of Genomic Medicine. She is the 2018 recipient of the University’s prestigious Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize, which recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarly activity, and service.

Her research has been supported by the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) and she has been recognized as an ANRF scholar. She is currently a member of the Society of Developmental Biology (SDB), and the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). Dr. Li is also an invited member of the International Society for Hyaluronan Sciences (ISHAS).

Being part of the Laura Johnson program has been an amazing experience."

Faculty Fellowship Program

The Women’s Advancement Initiative’s Faculty Fellowships program honors full-time women faculty members at the University of Hartford who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to advancing their discipline through teaching, research, scholarship, and mentoring of women students.

Each recipient receives a grant which may be used for research, travel or professional development.

Eligibility: To be eligible for an award, applicants must be a full-time woman faculty member who has been awarded tenure or a full-time woman junior faculty member who has a tenure track appointment but who has not yet achieved tenure.

Paola Sacchetti, PhD

Director, Master of Science in Neuroscience,

Paola Sacchetti received the Early Career Award for her proposed project, which combines the study of ketogenic diet, circadian rhythms, and Alzheimer’s disease, to identify potential new treatments to ameliorate symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders. In her time at the University, Sacchetti has taught hundreds of students and mentored six women graduate students through defense of their theses and multiple Dorothy Goodwin Scholarship recipients.

This award will allow me to start an exciting new project but it is so much more. It is a personal reward for the work that I have done so far with women and for women at this institution. It is a great motivating force for continuing to invest in forging future neuro scientists knowing that I am part of a community that supports women scholars and is invested in forging strong leaders and mentors.”