CIC Invites Nominations for 2017–2018 Senior Leadership Academy; New Grant Promotes Leadership Diversity

​2017–2018 Senior Leadership Academy Nominations Due January 27

SLA brochure coverSince 2010, CIC has partnered with the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) to prepare mid-level professionals from all administrative departments for vice presidencies and other senior administrative posts at independent colleges and universities through a year-long program of seminars, mentorships, and individualized professional development. Through 2016, 70 or over 40 percent of participants have advanced to more senior positions.

Jesus Alonso, a member of the 2015–2016 SLA cohort who was promoted from associate vice president for academic affairs to vice president for strategic initiatives at Holy Cross College (IN) following his participation in the program, assessed in retrospect that “SLA was a tremendous learning opportunity that prepared me to operate at an institutional level and contributed to my own confidence in my potential to hold a cabinet-level position.”

Nominations for the 2017–2018 SLA are due January 27, 2017View more details and the nomination form.

Awards Available to Support Participation in SLA

The American Express Foundation is supporting CIC’s ongoing efforts to increase the gender and racial diversity of the leaders of independent colleges and universities by covering most costs of participation in the Senior Leadership Academy for up to 12 additional participants who are women or people of color. Preference will be given to nominees from under-resourced institutions that otherwise might not be able to support a participant in SLA. Through the grant, CIC will award a fellowship of $2,000 that covers the full program fee and a stipend of $1,500 toward lodging costs during the two seminars that are part of the year-long program.

To nominate an individual who meets the criteria for SLA and the award, the president, provost, or vice president of the individual’s current institution must complete a nomination packet by Friday, January 27, 2017, and explain why the nominee is an appropriate candidate for the award. View more details and the nomination form.

Three presenters seated at the head table
In New Orleans on November 5, Senior Leadership Academy participants discussed how to edit their Professional Experience Plans.

2016–2017 SLA Holds Opening Seminar

AALI President and SLA Director Tom Kepple convened members of the 2016–2017 SLA cohort immediately prior to the November 2016 Institute for Chief Academic Officers in New Orleans, Louisiana. Thirty administrators who are serving in mid-level positions in academic affairs, development, student affairs, and enrollment received guidance from experienced senior campus administrators and other professionals, asked challenging questions, engaged in lively discussion, and worked to improve their cover letters and vitae.

CIC Senior Advisor Barbara Hetrick, former provost of three CIC colleges, and CIC Senior Fellow S. Georgia Nugent, president emerita of Kenyon College (OH), explored with participants the need to strike a balance when interviewing between laying out a vision and listening to others. “You must understand others’ perspectives, but it’s important to clarify your own perspective as well,” said Hetrick. “When you interview on campus, pay particular attention to the other senior officers and ask yourself: Can I work with these colleagues to strengthen this institution?”

Nugent emphasized that “to be an effective academic leader is to accomplish things through the work of others.” She offered advice to the aspiring vice presidents from the perspective of a president. “The president,” she said, “is responsible for framing and articulating a vision that flows through the various campus constituencies.” Members of the president’s cabinet, she added, must trust one another to be open, honest, and candid behind closed doors; but once decisions are made, cabinet officers need to show members of the campus community that they uniformly support the decisions.

Other presentations detailed the roles of specific cabinet officers and their relationships with one another and to the president and trustees. Each emphasized the importance of teamwork in an era of significant challenges for independent colleges and universities, challenges CIC President Richard Ekman elucidated in his conversation with the group. Declines in enrollment, increased calls for greater accountability, and economic anxiety, among other pressures, make it difficult for small private institutions to make their case to prospective students and the public, he said, even though “the research shows that liberal arts majors do well.” He asked the aspiring administrators to think about what this situation means for them and their institutions.

Participants also were prepared for the job search by a panel of chief academic officers, two of whom were SLA alums, and by Andrea Hamos, vice president and senior consultant at Academic Search, Inc., who had worked with them to shape cover letters, curriculum vitae, and one-page biographical statements.

Participants emerged from the three days of intensive work feeling better prepared for their next career steps and heartened by the energy, professionalism, and dedication of their SLA colleagues. Many of the participants remained in New Orleans to engage with the plenary and concurrent session presenters of the Institute for Chief Academic Officers. Cohort members will work with their campus mentors and with Kepple throughout the academic year, engage with each other, and meet once more in person in June 2017.