Millennium Leadership Initiative

The Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) is designed to diversify and enrich the American college presidency. MLI enhances the preparedness of traditionally underrepresented leaders in the highest ranks of higher education by developing their skill sets and mindsets. The program welcomes participants into a network of professionals with a deep understanding of how to advance to the presidency.

Receive notifications.
Dana Thompson poses a question to the 2023 MLI cohort.
Dana Thompson poses a question to the 2023 MLI cohort.

America needs college and university presidents and chancellors to reflect our nation’s diversity.  

The Millennium Leadership Initiative accelerates that progress.

Established in 1999 under the advisement of AASCU’s African American presidents, MLI recruits and prepares Black, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and women leaders in senior-level positions aspiring to be campus presidents or chancellors. MLI connects aspiring presidents to the communities, expertise, experiences, and resources required to thrive in the highest ranks of higher education. We also support diverse leadership pipelines, and promote equitable student success.

2023 MLI cohort members working in breakout groups.
2023 MLI cohort members working in breakout groups.

Who Should Participate

  • Vice presidents and cabinet-level officers, traditionally underrepresented (women, people of color, LGBTQIA, etc.), who are one to two career advancements away from becoming a university president

How You’ll Benefit

  • MLI enhances the professional fitness of those who value distinctive leadership in public universities. We provide practical training, workshops, discussions, case study analysis and theoretical learning
  • Cohorts are led by a diverse faculty of experienced presidents, chancellors, and experts in advancement, communications, governance, and financial management, each of whom emphasizes such themes as democracy, social justice, belonging, and equity-minded leadership
  • Participants receive mentoring from current and former presidents
  • The rich MLI network of faculty, alumni, and other key campus leaders provides a constant community of support

Encourage a diverse leadership pipeline at your institution with an MLI membership.

Become an MLI member institution.

Apply to the Millennium Leadership Initiative 2024-2025 cohort.

Learn more.
What to Expect
  • We emphasize and infuse themes of democracy, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice throughout the program offerings.
  • We facilitate dialogues about our collective commitment to advancing social and economic mobility for students of all backgrounds.
  • We are committed to creating a supportive, engaging, and customized learning environment built on cohort trust, confidentiality, and safety.
  • MLI graduates are poised to offer distinctive leadership to a higher education industry wherein it is all too rare.
  • The MLI experience allows participants to determine if the presidency is a realistic goal and affords them the opportunity to deeply probe their true leadership desire and fitness.
  • The MLI emphasis on developing skill sets, mindsets, and networks is valuable even for those who decide not to pursue the position of college or university president or chancellor. 
  • MLI reinforces the vital role that diversity plays in the institutional mission and helps diversify the executive team on campuses.
  • The 2024 MLI cohort will convene between June 2024 and March 2025.
  • The program is delivered in a blended format with 2 in-person and up to 7 virtual engagements.  
  • The program will feature:
    • An opening in-person seminar at AASCU’s Washington, D.C., office (June 12- 15, 2024)
    • Up to eight interactive 60- to 120-minute virtual sessions – select Tuesdays between 3 and 5 p.m. ET between August 2024 and March 2025 (exact dates TBA). 
    • A closing in-person seminar at AASCU’s Washington, D.C., office (March 19–21, 2025)
    • Mentoring with current AASCU presidents and chancellors

(In-person programming will not be livestreamed or recorded. Attendance at all in-person and virtual programming is expected.)

  • Participants apply to the MLI program and are admitted through a rigorous selection process administered by a selection committee composed of presidents and chancellors. Successful applicants will demonstrate the following: 
    • Leadership experience necessary to achieve a presidency or chancellorship in higher education
    • A terminal degree, significant experience as a senior academic executive, OR equivalent experience outside the academy in government or the private sector 
    • Endorsement by their president or chancellor
    • The cohort size ranges from 25 to 30 participants.
  • A complete application for MLI includes the following:
    • Endorsement from the president/chancellor from your home institution
    • Clear and concise summary of your personal and professional development goals
    • Commitment to 100% participation at in- person and virtual programming
2024 Registration Fees
  • For applicants from AASCU plus MLI or AASCU plus APLU member institutions: $5,500
  • For applicants from AASCU or APLU member institutions: $6,500
  • For applicants from non-member institutions: $7,500
  • The registration fee covers program administration, meals during the in-person seminars, and all materials. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation in Washington, D.C.
  • Upon acceptance to MLI, participants must register no later than April 26, 2024.
Scholarships
  • Please note that limited scholarships will be made available to accepted applicants.
Cancellation Policy
  • Cancellation requests received on or after May 1, 2024 are NOT eligible for a refund.
  • If you need to cancel after May 1, please email leadershipdevelopment@aascu.org to explore if you are eligible for a deferral to next year’s cohort.
Is my institution an AASCU member?

MLI participants build transformative relationships with mentors who support and inspire their highest career aspirations. 

The MLI experience equips participants to compete for, and attain, the position of college or university president or chancellor, reinforcing inclusivity’s vital role in educating the uniquely diverse populations state colleges and universities support.

Cherisse Jones-Branch of Arkansas State University with mentor president Jann Joseph and provost George Low of Georgia Gwinnett College.
Cherisse Jones-Branch of Arkansas State University with mentor president Jann Joseph and provost George Low of Georgia Gwinnett College.
Jade Herman, Chief of Staff, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and MLI mentor Ken Iwama, Chancellor, IU-Northwest.
Jade Herman, Chief of Staff, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and MLI mentor Ken Iwama, Chancellor, IU-Northwest.
Eric Skipper, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of South Carolina Beaufort; MLI participant William Terry Brown, Associate Vice President for Strategic Economic & Partnership Development, Connecticut State Community College; MLI mentor Al Panu, Chancellor, University of South Carolina Beaufort; and Mack Palmour, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, University of South Carolina Beaufort
Jermaine Wright, Vice President for Student Affairs, The City University of New York Lehman College and MLI mentor Tomas Morales, President, California State University, San Bernadino.
Jermaine Wright, Vice President for Student Affairs, The City University of New York Lehman College and MLI mentor Tomas Morales, President, California State University, San Bernadino.

 

2023-2024 MLI participant Robert Williams of California State University, East Bay with mentor Paul Pitre, chancellor of Washington State University Everett.
2023-2024 MLI participant Robert Williams of California State University, East Bay with mentor Paul Pitre, chancellor of Washington State University Everett.
President Cathy Sandeen of California State University, East Bay with mentee Britt Rios-Ellis, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, Oakland University.
President Cathy Sandeen of California State University, East Bay with mentee Britt Rios-Ellis, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, Oakland University.
Camille Davidson, president and dean of Mitchell Hamline School of Law with mentor president Patricia Ramsey of City University of New York, Medgar Evers College.
Camille Davidson, president and dean of Mitchell Hamline School of Law with mentor president Patricia Ramsey of City University of New York, Medgar Evers College.

 

The Numbers

 

747

leaders have participated in MLI since 1999

163

leaders have become university presidents or chancellors

43

leaders have gone on to hold multiple presidencies or chancellorships

206

presidencies or chancellorships are or have been held by MLI leaders

One in five

participants have achieved a presidency or chancellorship

2023 cohort participants chat during a break.
2023 cohort participants chat during a break.
2023 cohort participants work on a breakout excercise.
2023 cohort participants work on a breakout excercise.
The Stories

“The MLI experience has truly been transformational, particularly because of the breadth and depth of what is covered throughout the program. I learned a great deal and despite the rapidly changing higher education environment, the MLI addressed every major issue facing executive leadership today. Furthermore, the great friends and colleagues I met in the MLI have helped me expand the network I rely on to tackle serious problems.”

Britt Rios-Ellis

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Oakland University (MI)
MLI class 2023-2024

“MLI has allowed me to tap into my authentic leadership style, knowing that my qualifications, skill set and diverse experiences allow me to make an immediate impact within the workplace.”

Latoya Jenkins

Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Experience, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
MLI Class of 2023

“So many key gems of wisdom illustrated so well with real life examples. This felt like a master class in the college presidency, and it was just the beginning. I was engaged the entire time and didn’t want to miss a word.”

Diane Gu

Chief Philanthropy Officer, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington
MLI Class of 2022

“I felt like I had the privilege of sitting at the various presidents’ kitchen tables and hearing the real and authentic conversations.”

MLI participant, 2022 cohort

What’s your biggest takeaway as an MLI grad?

 

How has MLI shaped your
career?

Meet the 2023 Cohort

Rashanda

Booker

University Diversity Officer

California State University, Fresno

Joy Borah

Joy

Borah

Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

University of North Alabama

Erik Brooks

F. Erik

Brooks

Provost and Vice President of Student affairs

Central State University (OH)

William Brown

William T.

Brown

Associate Vice President for Strategic Economic & Partnership Development

Connecticut State Community College

Helen Chen

Helen

Chen

Senior Vice Provost for Instructional Programs

North Carolina State University

Jeffrey Coleman

Jeffrey K.

Coleman

Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement

Framingham State University (MA)

Leslie Cornick

Leslie A.

Cornick

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

California State University Chico

Camille Davidson

Camille M.

Davidson

President and Dean

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Wartyna Davis

Wartyna L.

Davis

Dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

William Paterson University (NJ)

Pernella Deams

Pernella Rowena

Deams

Senior Vice President for Student Life and Success/UNCF Transformation Officer

Talladega College (AL)

Terence L.

Finley

Vice President of Business & Financial Affairs and Chief Financial Officer

Harris-Stowe State University (MO)

Tomas

Gomez-Arias

Dean, Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration

California State University, San Bernardino

Sancha

Gray

Senior Vice President and Interim Dean of College of Education China Campus

Kean University (NJ)

Jessica C.

Harris

Vice Chancellor for Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Jade Herman

Jade

Herman

Chief of Staff

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Yvonne

Hernandez Friedman

Vice President for Student Affairs

Coastal Carolina University (SC)

Jason Irizarry

Jason

Irizarry

Dean, Neag School of Education

University of Connecticut

Latoya Jenkins

Latoya

Jenkins

Vice President of Enrollment Management of Student Experience

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Camille Johnson

Camille S.

Johnson

Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Cherisse Jones-Branch

Cherisse

Jones-Branch

Dean, Graduate School and Professor of History

Arkansas State University

Rose McAuliffe

Rose Elena

McAuliffe

Vice President, Business and Finance / Chief Financial Officer

California State University, Stanislaus

Radha Pyati

Radha

Pyati

Chancellor and Dean

Penn State Berks

Britt Rios-Ellis

Britt

Rios-Ellis

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Oakland University (MI)

Anastasia_Rodriguez

Anastasia

Rodriguez

Vice President of Administration and Finance

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Vicki Roman-Lagunas

Vicki

Roman-Lagunas

Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Indiana University Northwest

Dana Thompson

Dana A.

Thompson

Emeritus Member, Board of Governors

Wayne State University (MI)

Kimberly A.

White-Smith

Dean, School of Leadership and Education Sciences

University of San Diego (CA)

Robert

Williams

Dean, College of Education and Allied Studies

California State University, East Bay

Jermaine Wright

Jermaine A.

Wright

Vice President for Student Affairs

City University of New York Lehman College

Our Partners

Thought Partners

Applications for our 2024 MLI cohort are closed.

Sign up to receive notifications about participating in a future cohort.

Application Details

Apply to the Millennium Leadership Initiative for an unparalleled experience supporting traditionally underrepresented leaders to successfully pursue the college presidency or chancellorship. 

Application Requirements

  • Leadership experience necessary to achieve a presidency or chancellorship in higher education
  • A terminal degree, significant experience as a senior academic executive, OR equivalent experience outside the academy in government or the private sector
  • Endorsement from a president or chancellor

Important Dates

  • The 2024 program will take place from June 2024 to March 2025.
  • The deadline for applications and endorsements is February 11, 2024.

Sign up to receive notifications about participating in a future MLI cohort.

"*" indicates required fields

Which leadership development program(s) are you interested in?*

MLI Membership Details

Demonstrate your institution’s commitment to diversifying the presidency to reflect our nation with an MLI membership.

How It Works

  • MLI membership has a flat fee of $3,000 annually.
  • MLI membership is billed with your AASCU membership; presidents receive two invoices.

How You’ll Benefit

  • Make a clear statement of your commitment to reflecting our nation’s diversity in leadership.
  • Gain preference and discounted registration fee for candidates you nominate for this high-demand program.
  • Receive member only invitations for you and your team to participate in special MLI membership engagement opportunities.

Become an MLI Member.

Let us know if you are interested in learning more about MLI Membership.

"*" indicates required fields