Executive Leadership Academy 2022–2023 6/23/2022 6/23/2022 6/23/20226/25/20226/25/20226/25/2022 Washington, DC
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About the Academy

View the 2021–2022 Academy information.


The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is a yearlong program cosponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) to prepare experienced provosts and vice presidents to move to positions of greater responsibility, including presidencies. Participants will acquire knowledge, skills, and experiences germane to the responsibilities and activities central to the work of a president or other senior-level leader. The program assumes that participants will remain in their current positions throughout the program.

ELA participants in session  


Developing the Next Generation of Presidents

The president’s role, as well as that of other senior administrators, has changed. It now requires an understanding of all aspects of the institution—from enrollment to endowment management and from governmental to alumni relations—not to mention athletics, fundraising, marketing, student affairs, strategic planning, and financial management. The president’s necessary expertise also has expanded beyond institutional borders, to include regulatory and legislative issues and crisis communications. Further, it is more essential than ever that the pipeline of senior leaders prepares a diverse range of candidates from all backgrounds to succeed. ELA develops the wide-ranging skills that new presidents and senior executives will need to meet the challenges of today’s educational environment and serve today’s students.

The ELA program was incredibly helpful to me in reaching my career goals. I believe my ascendency to the presidency is a direct result of learning about what gaps in experience I had along with encouragement and practical ways to fill those gaps. We can’t know what we don’t know when walking into these complex positions, yet the ELA enabled me to think about the presidency in realistic ways.”—Richanne C. Mankey, ELA 2012–2013, President, Defiance College

Program Details

​The program consists of:

  • Two seminars in Washington, DC, (June 23–25, 2022, and June 12–14, 2023) led by current and former presidents as well as specialists in key areas;

  • A highly individualized Professional Experience Plan (PEP) designed to fill “gaps” in the participant’s expertise and experience;

  • Mentorship by both the participant’s current president and the program director;

  • Individualized executive coaching; and

  • Peer-to-peer participant-led webinars, regional gatherings, and activities.

Current Status

Approximately 35 participants will be selected for the 2022–2023 cohort—half from CIC member institutions and half from AASCU institutions.

Selection of participants will be announced by February 25, 2022.

​Approximately 40 cabinet officers, drawn from all divisions of the institution, will be selected for the 2018–2019 program—half from Council of Independent Colleges member institutions and half from American Association of State Colleges and Universities institutions.

Selection of participants will be announced by Friday, February 10, 2017.

Program Results

Since 2009, 100 of the participants in the ten cohorts that have completed the Executive Leadership Academy have been appointed as presidents or chancellors, and many more have advanced to other senior positions.

In addition to the professional advancement of participants, successful outcomes also occur when participants strengthen their leadership in their current positions or when they realize that they do not want to pursue a presidency.

The ELA, hosted by CIC, was a transformational professional experience for me—it was one of the most pivotal career development opportunities in my life thus far. The Academy allowed my cohort to engage with colleagues from across the nation who were focused on advancing higher education beyond the 21st century. Every member of my cohort had a mission to position their current campus for the next frontier of higher education, while building their respective toolkits to advance in the profession. I highly encourage any executive-level higher education practitioner to consider this dynamic opportunity.”—Wayne Knox, ELA 2017–2018, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Huston-Tillotson University

Individuals currently serving in cabinet-level positions in any division of their institution are eligible to participate. Approximately 35 participants will be selected for the 2022–2023 cohort—half from CIC member institutions and half from AASCU institutions. Nominations must come from the president to whom the nominee reports and indicate the president’s commitment to serve during 2022–2023 as a mentor. Individuals who wish to be nominated should discuss the opportunity with the president to request nomination.

To submit a nomination, please refer to the brochure and online nomination form.

The nomination packet is due by Friday, February 4, 2022, 5:00 p.m. EST. Selection of participants will be announced by February 25, 2022.

Participating in the ELA was an essential step in my journey toward a presidency. The program gave me the confidence to seek and apply for positions offering the right fit, helped me forge a robust professional development plan that addressed my growth opportunities in meaningful and head-on fashion, and substantially expanded my network of passionate higher education leaders. I am honored by and grateful for my affiliation with the ELA.”
—Matthew vandenBerg, ELA 2020–2021, President, Presbyterian College

AALI Diversity Fellowship

With generous support from AALI, CIC offers fellowships to encourage racial, ethnic, gender, and other forms of diversity in ELA. Preference is given to nominees from under-resourced institutions that otherwise might be unable to support their participation. Nominators should indicate whether they wish the nominee to be considered for a Diversity Fellowship.

Location and Costs

Two seminars will be held in Washington, DC, led by current and former presidents as well as specialists in key areas, on June 23–25, 2022, and June 12–14, 2023.

The program fee for the 2022–2023 academic year is $2,800. This fee includes all program costs as well as meals during the two seminars. The participants or their institutions are responsible for travel and lodging expenses.

Contact Information

For questions about the nomination process, selection process, or program logistics, contact Alana Cassidy, director of sponsorships, CIC, at acassidy@cic.edu or (202) 466-7230.

For questions about program content, contact Linda Bleicken, president, AALI, at linda@americanali.org or (202) 263-7488.