CIC Invites Nominations for 2018–2019 Senior Leadership Academy; Largest SLA Cohort Convenes in Texas

​2018–2019 Senior Leadership Academy Nominations Due January 26

SLA brochure coverCIC and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) have partnered to offer the Senior Leadership Academy (SLA) since 2010. Through the year-long program of seminars, mentorships, and individualized professional development, the SLA prepares mid-level administrators for vice presidencies and other senior administrative posts at independent colleges and universities. Over 60 of the 204 participants who have completed the program to date have advanced to more senior positions.

Up to 30 participants from CIC member institutions will be selected for the 2018–2019 program. Participants must be nominated by their vice presidential supervisor or president by January 26, 2018.

Michael J. Laney, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Our Lady of the Lake University (TX) and a member of the 2017–2018 SLA cohort, remarked, “The SLA experience has been immediately helpful to me in several ways. I feel better prepared for interviews that cover the cabinet, the provost, and student affairs. Also, just last week, a prospective donor reached out to me, and I employed the tips provided by Jake Schrum [president of Emory & Henry College (VA)] in his SLA session on fundraising. Now we have a wonderful prospect with a potential for a six- or seven-figure gift for our university!”

The SLA is supported generously by AALI and Academic Search, Inc. View more details and the nomination form.

2017–2018 SLA Holds Opening Seminar

The largest Senior Leadership Academy cohort ever was convened by new AALI President and SLA Director Linda Bleicken in San Antonio, Texas, immediately before CIC’s November 2017 Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Student Affairs Officers. Forty-five administrators who serve in mid-level positions in academic affairs, financial affairs, development, student affairs, diversity and inclusion, and enrollment received guidance from experienced senior campus administrators and other professionals, pondered challenging questions, engaged in lively discussion, and worked to improve their cover letters and curriculum vitae. This cohort is the most diverse in SLA history, with 29 percent people of color and 62 percent women, thanks to a generous grant from the American Express Foundation aimed at strengthening diversity among campus administrators.

Participant stands to ask a question from the seated audience
The 2017–2018 Senior Leadership Academy opening seminar took place in San Antonio, Texas, November 3–5.

Three presenters explored the challenges and opportunities of working with cabinet colleagues and presidents: CIC Vice President for Development David Brailow and Senior Advisor Barbara Hetrick—former provosts of a combined four CIC colleges—and Cynthia Zane, president of Hilbert College (NY). “The most important relationship you will have is the relationship with the president, and whether it’s good or bad will determine how successful you both will be and therefore how successful your institution will be,” Brailow stipulated. The key to making relationships with the president and cabinet colleagues work is to establish trust and openness, he emphasized.

Zane established that this is a challenging time in higher ed. “There are external factors over which we have no control; there is a paradigm shift under way.” Colleges and universities need “women and men who are mission-centric.” She cited a quotation from President Theodore Roosevelt—“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people”—and explained how she builds a cabinet that can function as a team. “First, know thyself,” assess your own personal strengths and weaknesses candidly. She uses a cabinet retreat to help the members understand themselves and each other better; to define roles and responsibilities clearly; and to set specific, achievable goals for the coming year. “It’s like an orchestra: Everyone has to have music on the stand and the expertise of their instrument, but they all follow the conductor.”

In a session on the role of the chief academic officer, Andy Workman, provost of Roger Williams University (RI), and Marcheta Evans, provost of Our Lady of the Lake University (TX), asked participants to engage six vignettes “ripped from the pages of our emails.” During the ensuing discussion, participants also shared their own experiences of managing in difficult situations. Saib Othman, associate provost at Marian University (IN), shared how he manages people of high productivity who don’t follow direction well. “You don’t want to stifle their productivity and creativity, but you do want to set them in the right direction and stay aware of what they are up to.” Sometimes, he said, managing creative people is like “driving a sports car with a steering wheel and no brakes. If you set it in the right direction, it will get you far, but if you take your eyes off the road you might end up in the ditch.”

Workman and Evans emphasized that the chief academic officer needs to mediate between the cabinet and the faculty: “Communicating the special needs and perspectives of the faculty, mediating conflict between faculty and other parts of the institution, and communicating cabinet members’ perspectives to faculty” are all critical aspects of the job.

SLA participants had an opportunity to discuss the Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Student Affairs Officers’s powerful opening plenary presentation by Shaun R. Harper, Clifford and Betty Allen Professor in the Rossier School of Education and executive director of the Race and Equity Center, University of Southern California. During a debriefing session the next morning, a group of participants was inspired to develop a module on diversity and inclusion for the Senior Leadership Academy.

More than half of the SLA participants remained in San Antonio to engage with the plenary and concurrent session presenters of the Institute. Cohort members will work with their campus mentors and with Bleicken throughout the academic year, engage with each other, and meet once more in person in June 2018.