June 13, 2024

Executive Leadership Academy Attracts Top Talent from 37 Colleges and Universities

Training for those who wish to pursue a presidency at an institution is essential to better prepare higher education leaders.

Kellee Edmonds
(202) 478-4662

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2024—After a competitive application process held during the spring, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) today announced the 2024–2025 Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) cohort. ELA is a yearlong program to develop the next generation of college and university presidents. The program is jointly sponsored by CIC, AASCU, and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI).

This year, 37 higher education leaders will participate in the selective program that prepares experienced provosts and vice presidents to take on positions of greater responsibility—including college presidencies. From a competitive pool of applicants, CIC selected 18 ELA participants from its membership and AASCU selected 19 participants.

The first of two seminars will kick off June 13–15, in Washington, DC, and will be led by current and former college presidents and specialists in key areas related to higher education.

Since 2009, more than 100 of the participants who completed the ELA program have been appointed as presidents or chancellors, and many more have advanced to other senior administrative positions. The ELA program develops the wide-ranging skills that new presidents and senior executives need to meet the challenges of today’s educational environment.

“Preparing the next generation of leaders is essential. As we have seen, leadership requires a complex combination of skill, character, and vision,” said CIC President Marjorie Hass. “I’m proud that CIC has such wonderful partners in AASCU and AALI to continue offering the ELA program that encourages diversity in higher education leadership. The program has evolved over the past 15 years to ensure that new leaders from varied backgrounds will be equipped to serve all students.”

Some highlights of the ELA program include an individualized professional experience plan designed to fill gaps in each participant’s skills and experience; mentorship by the participant’s current president and the ELA program director; individualized executive coaching; and peer-to-peer participant-led webinars, regional gatherings, and activities. ELA participants will return to Washington, DC, in June 2025 for a second seminar.

“The need for strong leadership in higher education, amid the mounting pressures our institutions face, has never been more important than it is today,” said AASCU President and CEO Charles L. Welch. “AASCU’s long-standing commitment to identify, prepare, and mentor future leaders has been a cornerstone of the association, and the Executive Leadership Academy in partnership with CIC and AALI enables participants to develop the wide-ranging skills required to meet the challenges of today’s educational environment and serve today’s diverse student population.”

Higher education organizations CIC, AASCU, and AALI recognize it is more essential than ever that the pipeline of senior leaders prepares a diverse range of candidates from all backgrounds to succeed. With generous support from AALI, CIC offers fellowships to encourage broad and representative participation in ELA. Preference is given to nominees from under-resourced institutions that otherwise might be unable to support their participation.

Individuals currently serving in cabinet-level positions in any division of their institution are eligible to participate in ELA. Approximately 35 participants—half from CIC member institutions and half from AASCU institutions—are selected annually to allow for participants from both independent and state-supported colleges and universities. ELA nominations for the 2025–2026 academic year will open in the fall with selections announced in March 2025.

For more information, see the CIC website or the AASCU website.

2024–2025 ELA Participants Selected by CIC
  • Keri Alioto, Mount Mary University (WI)
  • Anthony Baird, Utica University (NY)
  • Cheri Betz, Siena Heights University (MI)
  • Lynne Bongiovanni, University of Mount Saint Vincent (NY)
  • Carolyn Campbell-Golden, Washington & Jefferson College (PA)
  • Matthew Damschroder, Juniata College (PA)
  • Anne Ehrlich, Gettysburg College (PA)
  • Ellen Goldey, Centre College (KY)
  • Kendricks Hooker, Cabarrus College of Health Sciences (NC)
  • Jennifer Lundy, Gannon University (PA)
  • Antionette Marbray, Stevenson University (MD)
  • Mary Peterson, George Fox University (OR)
  • Tarshia Stanley, Wagner College (NY)
  • Alden Stout, Newman University (KS)
  • Sonja Trent-Brown, Hope College (MI)
  • Peter Ubertaccio, Stonehill College (MA)
  • Gourjoine Wade, Texas Lutheran University
  • Arto Woodley, Eureka College (IL)
2024–2025 ELA Participants Selected by AASCU
  • Pamela M. Baldwin, Fayetteville State University (NC)
  • Darren D. Blackston, Delaware State University
  • Kevin H. Braswell, Tennessee Technological University
  • Gavin R. Hamms, Grambling State University (LA)
  • Kevin Hearn, Westfield State University (MA)
  • Jay Johnson, Northwest Missouri State University
  • Tracy Johnson, SUNY Oneonta
  • Sara Kelly, SUNY Brockport
  • Justin Mallett, Northern Arizona University
  • Peter Matthes, University of Iowa
  • Karen R. Moranski, Sonoma State University (CA)
  • Keegan Nichols, Arkansas Tech University
  • Jessica Paquette, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System
  • Ivan Pulinkala, Kennesaw State University (GA)
  • Andrew Rich, The City College of New York
  • Tracy Stenger, The State University of New York at Fredonia
  • Austen Stephens, Chadron State College (NE)
  • Karen Wheel Carter, Georgia State University
  • Alaric A. Williams, Minot State University (ND)


About AASCU: The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of 350 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise. 

About CIC: The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 700 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help independent institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility.