2020–2021 Senior Leadership Academy Nomination Deadline Approaches as 2019–2020 Academy Begins

SLA brochure coverThe nomination deadline for the 2020–2021 Senior Leadership Academy (SLA) is February 14, 2020. Cosponsored by CIC and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the yearlong program prepares mid-level administrators for vice presidencies and other senior positions in independent higher education.

“All presidents and vice presidents of CIC member institutions are encouraged to nominate individuals who are currently serving in mid-level administrative or faculty leadership positions at their institutions to participate in the SLA,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “While many presidents and other senior officers of colleges and universities are expected to retire within the next few years, we all have a community responsibility to assure a smooth transition to the next generation of leadership—and to assure that our colleges’ leaders are highly qualified.”

The SLA includes two seminars led by current presidents, vice presidents, and other senior higher education leaders as well as experts in key areas. The first 2020–2021 seminar will be held in San Diego, California, November 6–8, 2020, in conjunction with CIC’s Institute for Chief Academic Officers, and the second will take place in Washington, DC, June 17–19, 2021. The program also entails readings concerning leadership responsibilities; completion of a highly individualized professional experience plan developed by the participant with his or her mentor; guidance by both the participant’s mentor and the SLA program director; executive career coaching; and webinars, gatherings, and other activities developed by participants. The program is directed by Linda Bleicken, president of AALI and president emerita of Armstrong State University.

Three presenters pose in front of project screen
During the 2019–2020 Senior Leadership Academy opening seminar, Jorge G. Gonzalez, president of Kalamazoo College (MI), presented “The President’s View of a Cabinet as a Team.” Also pictured are Linda Bleicken, SLA program director and president of the American Academic Leadership Institute, and Barbara Hetrick, CIC senior advisor.

Up to 40 participants from independent colleges and universities will be selected for the program. The SLA is intended for individuals whose next position most likely would be a cabinet position in academic affairs, student affairs, finance and administration, enrollment management, or advancement and who would like to advance in responsibilities in college administration. Individuals who wish to participate should ask the president, provost, or a vice president of their current institution to submit the nomination.

Since 2010, nine cohorts have completed the Senior Leadership Academy. To date, nearly one-third (31.8 percent) of all participants have advanced in their administrative careers.

Richard Ekman presents to seated participants
CIC President Richard Ekman led a discussion of the short- and long-term trends and challenges in independent colleges and universities. As newly emerging challenges, he emphasized student and faculty mental health issues, the increasingly anti-intellectual discourse in the larger society, and the “adjunctivization” of the faculty.

Lily D. McNair, a 2010–2011 SLA participant who became president of Tuskegee University (AL) in July 2018, reflected, “The Senior Leadership Academy provided me with invaluable experience as I considered applying for provost positions. The mentorship, camaraderie among participants, and excellent presentations by higher education leaders allowed me to learn important lessons in academic leadership. In particular, there was an emphasis on preparing for ‘the next move,’ and these lessons were pivotal as I applied for provost and president positions.” McNair is a former provost and vice president for academic affairs at Wagner College (NY) and associate provost of research at Spelman College (GA).

The SLA is supported generously by AALI and Academic Search. With support from AALI, CIC will offer a small number of fellowships in 2020–2021 to enhance the gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of well-prepared leaders of colleges and universities. Preference will be given to nominees from under-resourced institutions that otherwise might be unable to support a participant in the leadership development program.

Sherri Mylott presents to seated participants
Sherri Mylott, vice president for university advancement at the University of La Verne (CA) and participant in the 2019–2020 Executive Leadership Academy, offered SLA participants advice on working with chief advancement officers.

View more information and the nomination form. For questions about the nomination process, selection process, or program logistics, contact Barbara Hetrick, CIC senior advisor, at bhetrick@cic.nche.edu or (202) 466-7230.

2019–2020 SLA Commences

CIC and AALI facilitated the first seminar for the 2019–2020 cohort of the Senior Leadership Academy in conjunction with CIC’s Institute for Chief Academic Officers in early November. Among the SLA group this year are 39 participants who serve in mid-level administrative positions in academic affairs; student life; student success; spiritual life; IT services; institutional effectiveness, research, and planning; and public administration (for the participants list, see the Spring 2019 Independent). The seminar included intensive work on biographies, curriculum vitae, and professional experience plans; a networking dinner; a reception with past SLA and Executive Leadership Academy participants; panel discussions; and a discussion with past participants about the search process.

Emily Yap Chua presents to seated participants
Emily Yap Chua, professor of music and chair of the department of music at Randolph College (VA), asks a speaker a question during the last day of the opening seminar.

Covering a wide range of topics, sessions included presentations by several leaders of CIC member institutions: Jorge G. Gonzalez, president of Kalamazoo College (MI), shared his view of the cabinet as a team; Natalia Blank, associate provost of academic affairs and assessment at Norwich University (VT), described the 2018–2019 SLA cohort’s group projects; Robert J. Massa, retired senior vice president for enrollment and planning at Drew University (NJ), reviewed enrollment challenges at liberal arts colleges; Michael Marshall, vice president for enrollment, marketing, and communication at Bellarmine University (KY) and a member of the 2018–2019 SLA cohort, discussed the search process; Karl Ivan Solibakke, chief operating officer at Northland College (WI) and a member of the 2018–2019 SLA cohort, explored strategic financial models; and Sherri Mylott, vice president for university advancement at the University of La Verne (CA), advised on building bridges with the advancement department.

The 2019–2020 Senior Leadership Academy will meet again in June 2020.