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ALI Residential Program

We are pleased to announce the inaugural Academic Leadership Institute Residential Program, to be held from August 1 - 5, 2021, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. 

Applications for the Academic Leadership Institute Residential Program are now closed.

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the ALI homepage.

While most programs for higher education leadership focus on the skills required of a leader, the Academic Leadership Institute (ALI) goes beyond that to talk about the experience of being a leader within the academy from an individual perspective. Each day’s curriculum is explicitly organized around identity as it relates to the various streams of university business: the sense of self as a leader, in relation to institutional frameworks, in relation to the team, and in relation to the community and the public. The institute will be the first major professional development event of its kind to have an explicit focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,  (DEI), and the first to aim to equip leaders to change their institutions. In addition, the nature and size of the program allows its scope to be tailored to the expectations of its participants, providing a personalized five-day course guided by successful collegiate heads.

The Institute, which is a collaboration between Earl Lewis as Founding Director of the Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan, and Dwight A. McBride, President of Tthe New School University, will convene established and rising academic leaders in the summer of 2021 to achieve these goals:

  • Create a space in which diversity, equity, access, and inclusion are foundational values.
  • Build a space of affirmation in which participants can move quickly to a place of professional intimacy and collaboration around shared values and vision for higher education.
  • Provide a safe space for sharing fears, challenges, successes, hopes, and ambitions.Spark a leadership movement that centers on talent cultivation, networking, and sourcing.Initiate a space for career development and for survival.
  • Generate a shared vision for transforming higher education and developing individuals who are capable of making this change.
  • Develop leaders who will shape the future of American democracy.
  • Offer a solution for the current lack of qualified leaders who excel in diversity, equity and inclusion. 
  • This network of leaders will be a go-to for every search firm and institutional committee.
  • Build a cadre of mentors.
  • Work not just to elevate individuals, but to transform institutions. 

At our two curriculum planning meetings held at Emory University and the University of Michigan in 2019, we discussed the myriad of issues that face administrative leaders of color, in particular the number of institutional barriers that make it challenging to create change at colleges and universities. We noted that when taking on leadership roles, administrators of color must have a unique understanding of how change happens within institutions of higher education and at the same time, naming and navigating barriers to change.
The curriculum of the ALI will include a focus on the following broad content areas that are critical for aspiring university leaders, particularly presidents and provosts, to understand and manage:

  • Power as it relates to institutional change and transformation
  • Personal Identity vs. Institutional Identity
  • Institutional/organizational culture
  • Administrative Areas: Finance/Budget/IT/Facilities
  • Managing a health care system
  • Development/Fundraising/Alumni Affairs
  • Academic HR
  • Student Services
  • Governance
  • Government Relations/Town Gown
  • Media Relations/Crisis Management (eg, COVID-19)
  • Miscellaneous – “All the stuff you have to deal with on a Monday”

Tuition: $6000, which includes all workshops, materials, access to an on-line curriculum platform, as well as room and board. 

Travel costs will be borne by the participant or their home institution. 

We invite those without institutional support for travel to contact us to discuss possible avenues of funding support at