Executive Leadership Academy 6/17/2019 6/17/2019 6/17/20196/19/20196/19/20196/19/2019 Washington, DC
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About the Academy

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 become successful presidents or move up to positions of greater responsibility. By completing the program, participants will have acquired considerable knowledge, skills, and experiences that are germane to the portfolio of responsibilities and activities central to the work of a president or other senior leader. Participants remain in their current positions during the program.

ELA participants in session  


The Need for Highly Qualified Presidential Candidates

Several issues affect future leadership needs of the academy: the aging of the current generation of presidents; the reports of search consultants that candidate pools in presidential searches are becoming smaller; the increasing complexity of the president’s role; and the reluctance of some boards of trustees to select candidates without substantive and demonstrated experience in the full complement of responsibilities of the presidency. Those responsibilities have changed significantly in recent years. The president’s role, as well as that of other senior administrators, now requires some 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 the institutional borders. Candidates with at least some knowledge of and experience in the range of responsibilities of the presidency are seen by boards of trustees and search committees as better qualified and better able to assume leadership quickly and to have a positive impact on the institution.

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

Current Status for 2019–2020

​Approximately 35 cabinet officers, drawn from all divisions of the institution, will be selected for the 2019–2020 program—half from CIC member institutions and half from AASCU institutions. Individuals who currently serve in cabinet-level positions are eligible.

Selection of participants will be announced by February 19, 2019.

Current Status for 2018–2019

​​Approximately 40 cabinet officers, drawn from all divisions of the institution, were 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. The closing seminar will be held June 17–19, 2019, in Washington, DC.

​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

(Results as of October 2018)

From 2010 to 2018, 78 ELA participants have become presidents or chancellors.

CohortAppointed PresidentPlus Other Career Advancements
2009–201016 (39%)24 (59%)
2011–201220 (48%)59 (67%)
2012–201311 (28%)15 (38%)
2013–201411 (28%)14 (36%)
2014–20155 (33%)12 (40%)
2015–201610 (27%)12 (32%)
2016–20172 (5%)4 (11%)
2017–20183 (9%)9 (26%)

The experience and tutelage I received in the ELA was indispensable. I was afforded the opportunity to connect with educators across various platforms of academia…. At the completion of the program, I felt confident that I had gained extensive knowledge and understanding to pursue the presidency of Virginia State University.”—Makola A. Abdullah, ELA 2011–2012, President, Virginia State University

Approximately 35 cabinet officers, drawn from all divisions of the institution, will
be selected for the 2019–2020 program—half from CIC member institutions and
half from AASCU institutions. Individuals who currently serve in cabinet-level
positions are eligible.

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

The nomination packet is due by Friday, February 1, 2019. Selection of participants will be announced by Friday, February 15, 2019.

The ELA prepared me to be ready for my dream job—president of my alma mater. Through the yearlong training, I was able to identify my strengths and, more importantly, weaknesses in my experience that would prevent me from getting that job. I was then able to work with the mentors to gain those experiences so that I could present myself as the most qualified candidate.”—Bryon Grigsby, ELA 2009–2010, president, Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary

American Academic Leadership Institute Diversity Fellowship

CIC recently learned that the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), which generously supports CIC’s Executive Leadership Academy and Senior Leadership Academy, has decided to add special support for CIC’s efforts to increase the gender and racial and ethnic diversity of well-prepared leaders of independent colleges and universities. AALI will provide an AALI Diversity Fellowship to several participants in the Executive Leadership Academy, with preference being given to nominees from under-resourced institutions that otherwise might not be able to support a participant in CIC’s leadership development programs.

CIC will be able to provide the following support for several ELA participants:

  • A fellowship of $2,650 that covers the full fee for participation; and
  • $350 toward the reimbursement of the cost of travel and/or lodging for the two national seminars.

Presidents who have nominated a candidate for the 2019–2020 Executive Leadership Academy who is a woman or a person of color and now would like him or her to be considered for this award should send a message to Barbara Hetrick, CIC senior advisor, at bhetrick@cic.nche.edu. Those who would like to nominate an additional participant who meets the criteria for ELA and the award should complete a nomination packet for the additional candidate by Friday, February 1, 2019. Presidents who have not yet nominated someone for this program should consider nominating more than one candidate—both those who are eligible for the AALI award and others. Please indicate in your letter of nomination if you wish a candidate to be considered for the AALI award.

Locations and Costs

​Two seminars will be held in Washington, DC, led by current and former presidents and chancellors as well as experts in key areas of presidential responsibility, on July 15–17, 2019, and June 15–17, 2020.

The program fee for the 2019–2020 academic year is $2,650. The fee includes all program costs as well as most meals during the two seminars. The participant or his or her institution is responsible for travel and lodging expenses. Support to offset some of these costs is available to a small number of participants at institutions with limited funding for professional development.

​​Two seminars will be held in Washington, DC, led by current and former presidents and chancellors as well as experts in various areas of presidential responsibility, on July 11–13, 2016, and June 19–21, 2017.

Contact Information

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

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