Executive Leadership Academy 2023–2024

June 10–12, 2024

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 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.

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 inclusion and belonging, 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, 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.”

Wayne Knox, ELA 2017–2018, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Huston-Tillotson University

Program Details

​The program consists of:

  • Two seminars in Washington, DC, (June 26–28, 2023, and June 10–12, 2024) 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

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 2023–2024 cohort—half from CIC member institutions and half from AASCU institutions.

Selection of participants will be announced by March 3, 2023.

“For me, hearing candid accounts of the experiences of my colleagues, both about present challenges and about goals and planning for the future, was extremely valuable. Their stories and insights enhanced my ability to do my current work during these challenging times.”

J. Walter Sterling, ELA 2021–2022, Dean of the College, St. John’s College (NM)

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.

“There are many unknowns as it relates to the process of pursuing an advanced position in higher education and this program truly addressed the process from application, interviewing, on-boarding, and negotiation/communication in the role.”

Amy Clark, ELA 2021–2022, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Nebraska Methodist College

Diversity Fellowship

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. Nominators should indicate whether they wish a nominee to be considered for a 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 26–28, 2023, and June 10–12, 2024.

The program fee for the 2023–2024 academic year is $2,950. 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.

“The practical nature of the program was most impactful, including sessions about how to develop a CV, write a cover letter, prep for an interview, and negotiate a contract. I was in the middle of a search process and the knowledge gained was valuable. So much so that I became a president by the time the program ended.”

Andrew Flamm, ELA 2021–2022, President, Grace College and Seminary

Contact Information

For questions about the nomination process, selection process, or program logistics, contact Mike Donnelly, assistant to the senior vice president for academic programs, CIC, at mdonnelly@cic.edu or (202) 552-8986.

For questions about program content, contact Javier Cevallos, president, AALI, at javier@americanali.org or (202) 263-7488.