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Executive Leadership Academy - AASCU

Executive Leadership Academy

The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is a unique leadership development program for senior cabinet officers who are interested in becoming university presidents.

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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.

Who Should Participate

  • Campus leaders and cabinet members interested in becoming president/chancellor or other senior executive position.

How You’ll Benefit

  • Comprehensive preparation in the areas of most critical concern to presidents.
  • Participants complete a Professional Experience Plan (PEP), which assesses leadershipstrengths as well as the opportunities Build a strong and supportive network of peers and mentors. 
  • One on one mentoring from current president and program director. 
What to Expect

A partnership to prepare future leaders.

The Executive Leadership Academy is cosponsored by AASCU, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI). Approximately 35 participants are selected each year – half from AASCU member institutions and half from CIC member institutions. 

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion discussions integrated throughout 
  • Mentorship from experienced presidents  
  • Opportunity for real-time application and impact of tools and trainings via a Professional Experience Plan 
  • Strong relational component—commitment to create and support trust, encourage peer-to-peer learning, confidentiality, and safety among the cohort 
  • Enhance the skills and knowledge of cabinet-level administrators as they contemplate future roles as college or university presidents or other senior executive positions 
  • Opening Seminar (June 26-28, 2023, Washington, D.C.) 
  • Virtual workshops (monthly, July 2023–May 2024) 
  • Closing Seminar (June 10-12, 2024, Washington, D.C.) 

In-person programming will not be livestreamed or otherwise recorded. One-hundred percent attendance and participation is expected.

Dates for the 2024-25 ELA will be posted in fall 2023. 

  • Enrollment and marketing 
  • Endowment and financial management 
  • Government relations 
  • Alumni relations 
  • Inclusion and belonging 
  • Crisis communications 
  • Strategic planning 
  • Applications that are complete, including a nomination/endorsement from a president/chancellor, and submitted by the deadline will be considered.
  • AASCU and AALI staff review applications and select a cohort that reflects the diversity of AASCU institutions.
  • Preference is given to applicants from AASCU member institutions. 

A complete application for ELA includes the following: 

  • Nomination or endorsement from the president/chancellor from your home institution 
  • Clear and concise summary of your personal and professional development goals 
  • Commitment to 100% participation 

Seminars are led by a teaching faculty of AASCU and CIC presidents and chancellors, vice presidents and chancellors, and other national subject matter experts.

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

The registration fee covers program administration, meals during the in-person intensive, and all materials. 

Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations in Washington, DC. 

Limited scholarships are available to accepted applicants from qualifying institutions. AALI and Academic Search provide financial support to enable this program fee to be kept at this level. 


I found the ELA to be among the most valuable professional development activities in my career. In addition to receiving pertinent information concerning the major trends impacting higher education, participants are provided a broad array of opportunities to network with colleagues who have similar professional aspirations.”

Harvey Kesselman

Stockton University (NJ)

“The Executive Leadership Academy underscores the principle of distributed leadership – every quality that we enhance and any gap in knowledge, skill, or ability that we reduce or eliminate through the program prepares us for the next level while bolstering our effectiveness where we currently lead.”

Barbara Lyman

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
State University of New York at New Paltz

Ken Iwama, chancellor of Indiana University Northwest, shares his experience at the Executive Leadership Academy.

Our Partners

Application Details

The application period for ELA is now closed. Applications for 2024 will open in fall 2023. For reference, a full submission requires the candidate to submit a form, along with a nomination/endorsement from a president/chancellor. 

Application Requirements

  • Currently serving in a cabinet-or other senior level position 
  • Endorsement from a president/chancellor or cabinet-level administrator from your home institution 

Important Dates

  • The 2024 program will take place from June 2024 to June 2025.  
  • Applications for 2024 will open in fall 2023. 

Sign up to be notified for 2024 applications.

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