• 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).