Executive Leadership Academy (ELA)

ELA General2023-2024 ELA Dates

Apply Now to Participate in the 2023-2024 Cohort

All submissions require an endorsement form (completed by president/chancellor) and application form (completed by candidate) to be submitted by Feb. 6, 2023. 


The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is a unique leadership development program for senior cabinet officers who are interested in becoming university presidents. This yearlong program, cosponsored by AASCU, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), provides comprehensive presidential preparation, as well as multiple opportunities to compare and contrast leadership and presidential issues at public and private institutions.

Program Format and Content

ELA is a yearlong program that enhances the skills and knowledge of vice presidents and cabinet officers as they contemplate future roles as college or university presidents. The program consists of:

  • Two seminars in Washington, D.C., led by current and former presidents and vice presidents as well as experts in key areas (June 26–28, 2023, and June 10–12, 2024)
  • Readings concerning presidential responsibilities
  • A Professional Experience Plan (PEP), a highly individualized plan of activities developed by the participant and his or her president
  • Mentorship by both the participant’s president and the program director designed to fill the gaps in the participant’s expertise and experience
  • Webinars, regional gatherings, and activities developed by participants
  • Structured conference calls among the participants, mentors, and program director


Approximately 35 cabinet officers, drawn from all divisions of the institution, are selected each year for the program—half from public institutions and half from private institutions. Eligibility is open to individuals who are currently serving in senior “cabinet"-level positions.


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 participant or his/her institution is responsible for travel and lodging expenses. AALI and Academic Search provide financial support to enable this program fee to be kept at this level.

AASCU Staff Contact

Kathleen Scott
Vice President for Leadership Development and Partnerships


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, President, Stockton University                        

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 

The ELA was a wonderful experience. The inspiring speakers helped me understand why I should want to be a higher education leader and how to lead successfully, from practical issues like budgets, facilities, and crisis management to communication and presentation. I also learned a great deal from the informal interactions with other participants who, coming from a range of institutions, broadened my perspectives. I’m now much better prepared to handle interviews and have the confidence that I can lead an institution successfully.
Marten denBoer, Provost, DePaul University



The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is supported by generous funding from the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) and The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).


Upcoming Events
Drawing Data-Driven Blueprints: Synthesizing Market and Student Trends to Build Stronger Online Programs February 15, 2023 - February 16, 2023
Virtual Summit; 2–3:30 p.m. ET each day

AASCU is partnering with Wiley University Services to convene a two-part virtual summit focused on trends in the higher education market, including sharing findings to support institutional enrollment strategies and online learner engagement. Each session will include a presentation from national thought leaders as well as facilitated, interactive breakout rooms for participants to discuss the findings among colleagues and apply them to their own institutions.

→ Register Now

Upon registration, participants will receive calendar events for both sessions and may attend both or either. 

Presentations will be recorded and recordings will be available in AASCU’s on-demand library. 

Assessment and Evaluation as the Cornerstones for Continuous Improvement February 28, 2023
Webinar at 2 p.m. ET

Continuous improvement sounds great—but where do you start? Join three leaders from regional public universities and an ETS assessment expert as they discuss key concepts and how they can be translated into real-world action. The discussion will highlight the importance of defining student learning outcomes (SLOs); practical ways to make valid inferences from SLO data; and using results to create, sustain, and advance a culture of continuous improvement for student and program success. Following the discussion, there will be ample time for Q&A.

Key topics will include:

  • Continuous improvement through well-defined objectives
  • Mapping assessments to learning outcomes
  • The importance of culturally responsive assessment
  • Assessment case studies from AASCU institutions 

→ Register Now


Kathryn (Katie) Pedley

Kathryn (Katie) Pedley is the director and R&D liaison for Global Higher Education at ETS. She is responsible for the oversight of the ETS Global Higher Education research agenda. Pedley has more than 25 years of experience in research, most recently as the director of psychometrics and data analytics for College Board programs at ETS. She has published numerous peer-reviewed publications, most recently co-authoring ETS Best Practices in Constructed Response Scoring (2021). Pedley holds a Ph.D. in psychological studies in education (measurement and evaluation), as well as a master’s degree in neurophysiology, from the University of Alberta; she earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from McMaster University in Canada. Throughout her career, she has been committed to the principles of fairness and equity in educational opportunities.

Bree Dority

Bree Dority is the associate dean of curriculum and operations in the College of Business and Technology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Her responsibilities are focused on curriculum management and assessment in undergraduate and graduate programs; accreditation reports and processes; transfer opportunities with community colleges and international schools; enrollment management, recruitment, and retention efforts; and college communication. Dority is a professor of finance and has taught a variety of classes for the economics, finance, and construction management programs. Her research is Nebraska-focused. Dority recently helped develop the first economic prosperity and quality-of-life benchmarking tool for the nonmetropolitan and small metropolitan regions of Nebraska, known as the Nebraska Thriving Index.

Bhavik K. Pathak

Bhavik K. Pathak is the associate dean of graduate programs and accreditation and professor of decision sciences at the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at Indiana University South Bend. His primary research interest is on the impact of internet technologies on business. He has been published in premier academic journals, including the Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Journal of Retailing, Electronic Markets, and Communications of the AIS. Pathak serves as associate editor of Decision Support Systems. He earned a Ph.D. in operations and information management from the University of Connecticut.

Michael Porter

Michael Porter is the director of accreditation and continuous improvement at Alabama A&M University’s College of Business and Public Affairs. Porter has more than 15 years of experience working in higher education. Having worked at an accrediting body where he was directly responsible for drafting standards and overseeing continuous improvement initiatives in several colleges and universities, Porter has significant expertise in accreditation and augmenting institutional excellence. Throughout his career, Porter has had a strong emphasis on student success, accountability, and the types of strategic initiatives that colleges and universities establish to enable greater levels of student achievement. In his current role as director of accreditation and continuous improvement at Alabama A&M University’s College of Business and Public Affairs, Porter is responsible for leading and managing all of the college’s accreditation activities and overseeing its assessment systems and student success efforts. He is a graduate of Florida International University where he earned a doctorate in higher education. He has also earned graduate degrees in public policy and management from the University of York in England.


Terry Brown

Terry Brown is the vice president for academic innovation and transformation at AASCU. She oversees a division that provides programming and services to help members fulfill their academic mission, primarily in the areas of civic engagement, international education, student success, and teacher education. She served for nearly 25 years in the University of Wisconsin System as tenured faculty in the field of English and as an academic leader at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and served as provost at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Most recently, she served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. She is an advocate for accessible, affordable public higher education, a cause which motivates her work and informs her decisions. In nearly 20 years of academic leadership, Brown has led colleges and universities in integrated and strategic academic and enrollment planning, aligning budget and space resources to academic priorities. As a first-generation college student, she is committed to student success and spearheaded several efforts to increase college completion.

Target Audience

  • Provosts, Vice Provosts, and Associate Provosts
  • Deans and Associate Deans
  • Chairs and Professors
Symposium for Provosts: Higher Education, Technology, and Digital Equity March 06, 2023 - March 07, 2023
Apple, Inc. Headquarters, Cupertino, California

Join AASCU for a symposium held at the corporate headquarters of Apple, Inc. in Cupertino, California. This executive briefing is designed specifically for chief academic officers at regional public universities who wish to learn more about the intersections of technology and higher education, with a focus on digital equity, accessibility, student success, and career readiness. The program will feature speakers from Apple and university partners on the following topics:

  • Creativity as a Career Readiness Skill
  • The Future of Teaching and Learning: Trends and Technology
  • Defining Digital Equity and Understanding Its Connection to Affordability
  • Impacts of State Policy on Student Success
Symposium: Meeting the Urgent Needs of Today's Student March 27, 2023 - March 28, 2023
AASCU Offices, Washington, D.C.

How to Modernize Your Student Success Strategy
In a Post-Pandemic Era

Join EAB and AASCU for a deep dive into the latest research on the modern student experience at this symposium for presidents and senior leaders. Engage in discussions and leave with tools, models and strategies for student success at your institution. 


  • Opening Reception and Dinner: Monday, March 27, 5 p.m. ET (offsite, location to be announced) 
  • Programming to begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 

Navigating the Recovery: Understanding the Long-Term Student Success Impacts of the Pandemic and How to Combat Them   
We’ll begin the day by examining three trends shaping the student success landscape over the next decade: K-12 learning disruption, mental health, and staff turnover—and offer guidance on how your institution can weather these trends. This session will include a deep dive on improving mental health support, including the role technology should play in coordinating between people and offices across campus to support student wellbeing. 

Building a Sense of Belonging for Black and Latino Men
Despite higher ed’s focus on success and equity, graduation rate disparities between all students and Black and Latino men persist. In this session we’ll review new research on how institutions can more proactively contribute to Black and Latino men’s retention, graduation, and belongingness. We’ll also share foundational and progressive tactics you can use to help Black and Latino men build and nurture the peer and mentor relationships that are crucial to their success.   

Exploring the Hallmarks of a Modern Student Experience: Bridging the Gap between Student Expectations and Campus Reality  
This session will explore what today’s students expect from their higher ed experience and how you can deliver it. From enrollment to peer engagement to career preparation, college and university leaders are investing time and resources to build personalized and tech-enabled experiences across the student lifecycle. We’ll discuss how today’s student expectations are being shaped by the consumer economy and offer examples of institutions designing new experiences.  

Where Do We Go from Here? Action Planning and Closing  
We will close the day with forward-looking questions to help you prioritize how to bring the ideas discussed across the day to life.  

Who Should Attend

  • Presidents/Chancellors
  • Provosts
  • Vice Presidents for Student Affairs

→ Register Now


Christina Hubbard

Christina Hubbard, Senior Director in Research Advisory Services, EAB

Christina Hubbard joined EAB in 2017 and is a Senior Director in Research Advisory Services. Christina has spent nearly 25 years in higher education serving post-traditional learners. Prior to joining EAB, she served in a variety of roles at Northern Virginia Community College and gained experience in academic advising, program management, student access and success, financial aid, online teaching, workforce development, and community engagement. Earlier in her career, she served military students in the Pentagon and in university and graduate school environments.

Ed Venit

Angela Street, Director of Research Advisory Services, EAB

Angela Street serves as a director of Research Advisory Services at EAB, where she delivers best practice research and advises higher education leaders on student mental health, campus climate, student retention and success, and transfer success. Angela’s career in higher education began working in Student Activities and Leadership at the University of Georgia. She later found an interest in student retention and teaching first-year students. Her career has afforded her the opportunity to work with student success programs and teach at public, private, online and two-year institutions including The University of South Carolina, Edgewood College, Blackhawk Technical College, American Public University System and most recently, North Carolina Central University where she served as Interim Executive Director of Student Academic Success.

Ed Venit

Ed Venit, Managing Director, EAB

Ed Venit manages student success research for EAB. In this capacity, Venit leads the development and dissemination of best practices for using data and technology to improve retention and graduation rates. Venit provides consultative guidance to senior leadership across the Student Success Collaborative and is responsible for understanding shifting needs and trends. He has over a decade of experience researching data analytics and student success technologies. Venit presents at conferences using case studies to highlight how looming demographic declines are forcing colleges and universities to rethink student retention as an enrollment challenge. This new mindset is triggering investment in proactive advising and the development of support strategies that pay for themselves (and more) in retention gains. By documenting and sharing these trends, Venit hopes to help senior leaders develop self-sustaining strategies that graduate far more students. Venit earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from Duke University and a bachelor's degree in biology, also from Duke. His doctoral work looked at how simple things (ants) evolve to make complex things (ant colonies). He also taught classes about marine biology and dinosaurs.



Coming soon   


Sara Gassman 
Program Manager, Leadership Development and Partnerships 

AASCU on the Hill April 19, 2023 - April 20, 2023
AASCU Offices and Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) encourages its members to participate of the inaugural AASCU on the Hill event to be held in Washington, DC, April 19-20, 2023.

AASCU is committed to supporting the public policy priorities of its members and to bring to bear advocacy activities that assist the development of effective legislative solutions. This new annual event is designed to provide a well-timed occasion, in the congressional calendar, to convene constituents and federal elected officials.

2023 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting May 31, 2023 - June 02, 2023
Boston, MA

AASCU’s American Democracy Project (ADP) and NASPA are committed to advancing the civic engagement movement in higher education. Join us for the 2023 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting in June; this is the only annual conference that brings together students, faculty, staff, and community partners to advance the civic learning and democratic engagement movement in higher education. Together, AASCU’s ADP and NASPA will ensure that students graduate from our colleges and universities—both public and private—prepared to be the informed, engaged citizens that our communities and our democracy need. Read More >>


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