Since 1989, more than 1,000 new presidents have participated in CIC’s New Presidents Program, which focuses exclusively on issues relevant to independent college and university leaders, practical advice that can be readily implemented, and building community with campus CEOs who share similar circumstances.
The NPP provides the need to know tools and wise counsel that keep a young presidency on a smooth course. The agenda focuses on the practical needs and resources to help participants avoid early pitfalls while capitalizing on the opportunities that the first year represents. Annually refreshed, topics commonly include innovative and strategic leadership, financial fundamentals and strategies, creating an engaged and inclusive environment, enrollment and marketing, board relations, institutional advancement, perspectives on critical leadership issues, and “You got the job, now what?” and “I wish I had known” reflections. Ample opportunities for informal conversations allow participants to get to know each other and the more seasoned presidents who serve as faculty to build a network of peers.
Participants point to these features as particularly valuable:
- Presenters are current or recently retired CIC presidents, spouses, or partners who understand the needs of their new colleagues.
- Professional networks are created as participants build relationships with colleagues who often continue to serve as informal advisors.
- NPP is a rewarding investment of time and money. The program makes efficient use of time and represents excellent value.
- Trusting friendships are established among participants providing confidential support and counsel on the most sensitive and consequential issues.
Mary Pat Seurkamp, CIC senior advisor, who for 15 years served as president of Notre Dame of Maryland University, directs CIC’s New Presidents Program.
Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program
Few spouses or partners of college presidents begin their new roles with a job description or even with any expectations articulated by the myriad constituencies with whom they will interact. The role is unique to each individual and each institution, and there is no guidebook for the uninitiated. The Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program is designed to:
- Enhance understanding of the role;
- Engage fellowship among those new to the role; and
- Equip participants with tools for success.
Participants create networks of new colleagues, confidants, and friends who share an understanding of the unique role of presidential spouse/partner and who can provide mutual support as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of their new position. An interactive, stimulating, informative, and entertaining program has been developed by experienced presidential spouses. Participants also benefit from additional joint sessions with the New Presidents Program that address topics of mutual interest to presidents and their spouses or partners.
“The New Presidents Program provided me with the forum to engage and learn from peers who have experienced the triumphs and obstacles inherent in the presidency. Those insights have informed my strategic approach to address the multilayered opportunities and challenges I’ve encountered in my first four years at Morehouse College. I’d recommend NPP to any new president looking to gain knowledge and build relationships with exceptional higher education leaders across the nation.”David A. Thomas, President, Morehouse College (GA)
“It would be hard to enumerate all the benefits of the New Presidents Program. At a formative time in my presidency, I was able to engage with new and seasoned presidents around critically important topics and to raise questions and concerns in a supportive context. Many of the people I met through the program remain friends and trusted advisors. CIC has designed an experience that offers both useful tools for action and inspiring exemplars of presidential leadership.”Katie Conboy, President, Saint Mary’s College (IN)
“A new presidency makes many demands—intellectual, professional, personal, social, and even physical. CIC’s NPP engages the whole person: As I started out, I found it inspiring, assuring, and helpful beyond measure. The spouses/partners program was also a fantastic opportunity.”Jorge G. Gonzalez, President, Kalamazoo College (MI)
“CIC’s Program for Presidential Spouses and Partners was a game-changer. The information gleaned during the workshops, the intimate discussions regarding ever-changing responsibilities, and the friendships formed with program participants from across the country have proven to be invaluable. I am honored and excited to be participating as a facilitator in the 2023 program.”Katina Semien Smothers, Esq, Presidential Spouse, Philander Smith College (AR)
“CIC’s Program for Spouses and Partners of New Presidents fundamentally changed how I see my role. As a spouse with a demanding career, I believed that my role was very limited, but the program allowed me to identify specific areas where I could bring value and contribute to my partner’s success. I left the program not just with more information, but a concrete plan and a network of resources to help me succeed.”David Colquhoun, Presidential Spouse, McDaniel College (MD); and Biologics/Advanced Workflows Specialist, Mid-Atlantic and Tristate Regions