36 Higher Education Leaders to Kick Off Executive Leadership Academy

June 26, 2023 – Washington, DC

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) today announced this year’s Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) participants. ELA is a yearlong program jointly sponsored by CIC, AASCU, and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI).

This year, 36 higher education leaders will participate in the selective program that prepares experienced provosts and vice presidents to take on positions of greater responsibility—including college presidencies. From a competitive pool of applicants, CIC selected 19 ELA participants from its membership and AASCU selected 17 participants.

The first of two seminars will kick off June 26–28 in Washington, DC, and will be led by current and former college presidents and specialists in key areas related to higher education.

Since 2009, more than 100 of the participants who completed the ELA program have been appointed as presidents or chancellors, and many more have advanced to other senior positions. The ELA program develops the wide-ranging skills that new presidents and senior executives need to meet the challenges of today’s educational environment.

“CIC is deeply committed to developing talented leaders for our diverse campuses,” said CIC President Marjorie Hass. “The ELA program meets these challenges by bringing together engaged and emerging leaders and providing them with the community, network, skills, and knowledge they need to transform higher education in ways that serve students and communities.”

Some highlights of the ELA program include an individualized professional experience plan designed to fill gaps in the participant’s skills and experience; mentorship by the participant’s current president and the ELA program director; individualized executive coaching; and peer-to-peer participant-led webinars, regional gatherings, and activities. ELA participants will return to Washington, DC, in June 2024 for a second seminar.

“It is more essential than ever that future leaders are well-equipped to serve our growing diverse student population,” said AASCU President Mildred García. “The Executive Leadership Academy offers a critical opportunity to strengthen higher education’s leadership pipeline by bringing together equity-minded, purpose-driven leaders who share a common goal of being in service to students.”   

“Together with CIC, AASCU continues its commitment of providing senior leaders with the wide-ranging skills, training, and preparation they need to reach their professional goals.”

CIC, AASCU, and AALI recognize it is more essential than ever that the pipeline of senior leaders prepares a diverse range of candidates from all backgrounds to succeed. With generous support from AALI, CIC offers fellowships to encourage broad and representative participation in ELA. Preference is given to nominees from under-resourced institutions that otherwise might be unable to support their participation. Individuals currently serving in cabinet-level positions in any division of their institution are eligible to participate in ELA. Approximately 35 participants—half from CIC member institutions and half from AASCU institutions— are selected annually. ELA nominations for the 2024–2025 academic year will open in the fall with selections announced in March 2024.

Read more about the Executive Leadership Academy.

2023–2024 ELA Participants Selected by CIC

Heidi Anderson-Isaacson
Alverno College (WI)

Stacey Berggren
Northwest Nazarene University (ID)

Jessica Brown
North Central College (IL)

Johnny Craig
Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN)

Shawn Daley
George Fox University (OR)

Nikki Fennern
Judson University (IL)

Jeffery Gates
Stetson University (FL)

Damara Hightower-Mitchell
Voorhees University (SC)

Dionne Jackson
DePauw University (IN)

Monique LaRocque
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine (ME)

Paula Love
Jarvis Christian University (TX)

Carissa Massey
Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (PA)

Daniel Prosterman
Mount Saint Mary’s University (CA)

Michael Salmeier
Bluefield University (VA)

Karen Soul
Centenary College of Louisiana (LA)

Undria Stalling
Morehouse College (GA)

Eden Wales Freedman
Colby-Sawyer College (NH)

Manya Whitaker
Colorado College (CO)

Beth Wolfe
University of Charleston (WV)

2023 ELA Participants Selected by AASCU

Missy Alexander
Western Connecticut State University

Fredrick Chilson
Lewis-Clark State College (ID)

Michara DeLaney-Fields
Stephen F. Austin State University (TX)

Nathan Evans
California State University Office of the Chancellor

Vitaliano Figueroa
University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse

DoVeanna Fulton
Norfolk State University (VA)

Kamel Haddad
University of Northern Colorado

Angela Joyner
Radford University (VA)

William Moultrie
Western Carolina University

Richard Ogle
California State University Stanislaus

Jesse Pisors
Texas A&M University San Antonio

Cynthia Polk-Johnson
Tennessee Technological University

David Starrett
State University of New York, Fredonia

Traki Taylor
Frostburg State University (MD)

Michael Westfall
Oakland University (MI)

Joe Whitehead Jr.
Bowling Green State University (OH)

Dannelle Whiteside
Austin Peay State University (TN)