Leadership Institute


The leaders of tomorrow are formed today at PennWest Edinboro’s Leadership Institute. The Institute enhances the educational experience by drawing on the shared knowledge of faculty, staff and students from diverse academic areas. It is an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to education, training and leadership.

Mission and Goals


The mission of the PennWest Edinboro Leadership Institute is to become a regional resource that provides an integrated curriculum in leadership studies, recognizes excellence in campus and community leadership, affords research opportunities for faculty and students and helps to develop leadership skills in personal and professional venues.


  1. To create integrated curricular and co-curricular offerings that foster the study of leadership among students, staff and faculty.
  2. To encourage interdisciplinary research opportunities among faculty and students to promote and advance the field of leadership.
  3. To serve as a source for training and development of the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions for preparing the next generation of successful leaders.
  4. To recognize excellence among leaders in the campus and in the community.

Faculty Fellows

Learn more about the outstanding credentials of the faculty fellows at the Leadership Institute of PennWest Edinboro.

Melissa Gibson, Ph.D., is a professor in the Communication Studies Department at PennWest Edinboro. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in communication and business management from Ohio University and her bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University. At Edinboro, she served for many years as the First Year Experience Director for the university’s entering freshmen, as well as the Community Outreach Director. In 20 years of teaching at the college level, Dr. Gibson has taught more than 30 different courses, including courses in managerial and leadership communication, crisis management, organizational communication, and training and development. She has been nominated for Edinboro University’s Teacher of the Year and Advisor of the Year awards several times. She also has worked as a leadership and management consultant to profit and nonprofit organizations across the Midwest and East Coast. Dr. Gibson has presented 40 conference presentations and secured grants totaling $250,000. In addition to a published textbook and book chapters, her research has appeared in Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Management Consulting, Business Communication Quarterly and Southern Communication Quarterly. Her research interests include gender and leadership, nonprofit leadership and leadership development.

Timothy Few, Ph.D., earned a doctorate degree in strategic management, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. Prior to earning his doctorate, Dr. Few was president and a member of the board of directors of Bill Few Associates, a Pittsburgh-based financial planning and investment management organization. Currently, Dr. Few is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Business and Economics at PennWest Edinboro. He has taught courses in strategy, entrepreneurship, leadership, management, business communication and human resource management. His research focuses on the areas of organizational identity, organizational identification, competitor identification, top management teams and social entrepreneurship, which have led to publications in the Journal of Labor Research, International Journal of Business Environment, Competitiveness Review and the European Journal of International Management as well as presentations at the Academy of Management and Strategic Management Society. Dr. Few also is a founding partner of Core Strategies Consulting, LLC and has provided business coaching and consulting services to numerous profit and nonprofit organizations.

James Daniel Fisher, Ph.D., is a professor of politics and legal studies in the Department of History, Politics, Languages and Cultures at PennWest Edinboro. He has been teaching at Edinboro since 2000 and is an alumnus of the school (class of 1993, with degrees in political science and English). Professor Fisher holds a law degree from the College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches courses in law and politics, political theory and American politics. He is particularly interested in “reproductive politics” (the law and politics of abortion, contraception, population control and sex education), civil liberties (particularly First Amendment issues), and the U.S. Supreme Court. He regularly gives public lectures and participates in public forums discussing constitutional and legal issues. He has provided political analysis to the Erie Times-News and local television news organizations. Professor Fisher trained as a community organizer with the Gamaliel Foundation and has served in leadership positions in several nonprofit organizations. He has been nominated three times for Edinboro’s Educator of the Year award.

Contact Us

Timothy Few, PhD
Associate Professor
108 Hendricks Hall
Email: wfew@pennwest.edu

James Daniel Fisher, JD, PhD
Reeder Hall
Email: jdfisher@pennwest.edu

Melissa Gibson, PhD
Professor, Graduate Program Head, Department Internship Coordinator
202 Compton Hall
Email: mgibson@pennwest.edu