Faculty & Staff

The Leadership Studies Program faculty, staff, and partners extend beyond the traditional boundaries of the classroom and academic departments. The faculty who teach reflect this mix of scholarship in the field and real world experience as leaders.

Full-time

Dr. Lisa DeFrank-Cole

Director and Associate Professor, Leadership Studies
Office Address: 434 Stansbury Hall 
  • B.S., Landscape Architecture, West Virginia University (1994)
  • M.A., Higher Education Administration, West Virginia University (1996)
  • Ed.D., Higher Education Administration, Dissertation: An Exploration of the Differences in Female and Male Self-Perceptions of Presidential Leadership Styles at Colleges and Universities in West Virginia, University of Pittsburgh (2003)

Director of WVU’s Leadership Studies Program, Dr. DeFrank-Cole began teaching Principles of Leadership in 2007 while working in the Honors College as the Director of the ASPIRE Office. She previously worked as the Executive Director for the West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship program; served as an Assistant for Policy and Research under WV Governor Bob Wise; worked at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She founded and directed the WVU Honors Leadership Academy and the International Leadership Academy in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In Summer 2012 Dr. DeFrank-Cole was awarded a Fulbright Grant to teach Principles of Leadership to female students at the Royal University for Women in Bahrain. Her research interests include the topics of women and leadership. She teaches Leadership 201: Principles of Leadership, LDR 335: Women and Leadership, and LDR 401: Leadership in Action at WVU.

Ms. Cheyenne Luzynski

Teaching Assistant Professor
Office Address: 443 Stansbury Hall

Cheyenne Luzynski will receive her PhD in the Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. Her dissertation is an historical analysis of women’s emergence into intercollegiate athletic leadership at a Normal institution. While at EMU, she was the catalyst in creating and directing the Interdisciplinary LEADership minor and taught in the Higher Education Student Affairs Master’s program. Prior to EMU, she was a head volleyball coach and assistant athletic director at Alma College. She has a rich playing, coaching, and mentoring background with NCAA Division I and III intercollegiate athletic programs. Cheyenne graduated Magna Cum Laude from Central Michigan University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a Master’s of Science in Sport Administration. In her graduate pursuits, Cheyenne was a 2014 NCAA Research Grant recipient, a 2013 ASHE policy seminar graduate fellow, and honored as “Lecturer of the Year” by the Eastern Michigan University Honors College. With passions in athletics, leadership, and student development, her research agenda includes issues related to equity and culture within the organizational context of higher education. 


Faculty Affiliates

Dr. L. Christopher Plein

Instructor, Readings in Leadership; Principles of Leadership
Professor of Public Administration
  • Eberly Family Professor for Outstanding Public Service
  • B.A. Emory and Henry College
  • M.A. East Tennessee State University
  • Ph.D University of Missouri, Columbia

Dr. Plein’s area of specialty is public policy formation and implementation. His studies of public administration and policy in West Virginia have led him to co-author Welfare Reform in West Virginia (West Virginia University Press, 2004) and West Virginia Politics and Government (University of Nebraska Press, 2008). His past administrative positions include serving as an Associate Dean in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and serving as chair of the Department of Public Administration and interim director of the School of Social Work. He is a founding member of the West Virginia Community Design Team which has organized teams of volunteers that visit and assist rural communities in identifying community development needs and opportunities. In 2006, Dr. Plein’s outreach contributions were recognized by West Virginia University when he was named an Eberly Family Professor for Outstanding Public Service.


Dr. Lydotta Taylor

    President, The EdVenture Group
    • B.S. Secondary Math Education, West Virginia University
    • M.A. Secondary Math Education, West Virginia University
    • Ed.D. Curriculum and Instruction, West Virginia University
    • Advanced Management Certificate, Duke University Executive Education Program

    Taylor has over 20 years of experience in education and technology in the classroom. Taylor recently completed the Life Success Consulting and Coaching certification. Prior to founding The EdVenture Group, Taylor served as Vice President for Workforce and Education at the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation. Taylor began her career as a math and computer science teacher at the secondary level and as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Monongalia county school system. Ms. Taylor’s most notable accomplishments include the attainment of over $14 million in competitive grants from organizations such as the US Department of Education, the US Department of Commerce, NASA the National Science Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Taylor’s unparalleled ability to leverage resources and connect partners across industry has earned her notable awards and board positions in the community.


    Graduate Assistant

    Brent Bishop

    Office address: 433 Stansbury Hall

    Brent Bishop received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Leadership Studies in May 2016 and began his M.S. in Chemical Engineering in the Fall of 2016. Before attending WVU, he spent years practicing leadership skills in his local Boy Scout troop and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. With this practical leadership background, he began to study leadership at WVU in 2013 and would go on to become a Milan Puskar Leadership Scholar in 2014. Through the Puskar Scholar program, he realized his passion for the study of followers and followership and began an independent study on the subject in 2015. This independent study eventually led Brent to develop a guest lecture on followership which he continues to give to the LDR 301 classes each semester. In the Fall of 2015, Brent was given the role of group-leader as part of his senior design capstone and spent the next school year applying what he had learned in Leadership Studies. Due to his success in the role, he was given the position of leadership advisor to the senior design class for the 2016 school year. He now continues to serve as a resource for followership information and as the Graduate Assistant for the Leadership Studies program.