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The Academic Leadership Fellows Academy (The Fellows Academy) will identify, develop and prepare the next generation of academic leaders, by providing opportunities for professional growth, mentoring and the building of collaborative networks among educators. The Fellows Academy is facilitated by established leaders in higher education, who impart their knowledge based upon years of professional experience. The Fellows Academy was established in 2016 through the Educators’ Leadership Academy (ELA) at UCO.

Academy Goals

  • Build organizations’ strong academic leadership pools that are prepared to meet the responsibilities and challenges of academic leadership.
  • Understand and develop one’s institutional cultural climate, in line with the organizational mission.
  • Engage with academic affairs, accountability and continuous improvement.
  • Cultivate the managerial and organizational skills related to strategic planning and budgeting.
  • Stimulate academic leaders’ critical thinking about the future of the academy.

Academy Outcomes

  • Learn about the institution’s mission, vision and values in guiding the institution’s goals and work.
  • Identify 10 key indicators of health in university organizational climate.
  • Comprehend and contribute to the institution’s strategic planning process.
  • Analyze key financial indicators of the organization’s fiscal health.
  • Recognize and apply national accreditation standards.
  • Create a culture of continuous improvement through program reviews, initiating new programs and eliminating underperforming programs.
  • Expand one’s network of colleagues and professionals in higher education.

Session Format

  • Pre-session Assignments (readings and reflection)
  • Mentor Engagement
  • Small Group Discussion
  • Facilitated Discussion Questions (provided in advance)


In this program, you will be given a suggested list of academic leadership position roles to contact, at your institution or another. You will ask questions related to their work and/or the case study reading for various topics throughout the Academy. You should strive to engage with multiple mentors throughout the program to experience information and experience from various perspectives, as appropriate.

Participant Responsibilities for Successful Completion

  • Before each session, Fellows will be given a reading list or a case study and a short list of questions that they should ask of their mentors. These should be completed before coming to the session. During the session, Fellows will have an opportunity to network with each other and to share their solutions and answers to the pre-session questions.
  • Attendance is mandatory for the successful completion of the Academic Leadership Fellows Academy. Absence from more than 10 educational hours (or the accumulation of partial sessions that equals 10 hours) will result in the participant being withdrawn from the program with no portion of the tuition refunded.
  • Participants will be required to complete a two to four-page (single-spaced) White Paper based on the Academy session assignments. The content of the White Paper should center around any two or three of the ideas that have been discussed in the Academy that caused participants to reflect on how their institution might better improve its culture, planning, and programs. Specifically, the paper should explain how participant’s selected concepts might directly benefit their institution and provide solid ideas and/or recommendations on how these concepts might be implemented. Any new programs should include a financial pro forma and an explanation as to how the new program relates to their institution’s stated mission and strategic plan. 

Academic Leadership Fellows Academy

Session Dates and Topics

Session 1 – Virtual Opening Session

3-5 p.m., Friday, July 21, 2023

Introductions, overview and expectations of the program.

Session 2 – Alumni White Paper Experience

8-9:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023
UCO, Edmond. OK

3-4 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023

UCO participants will have an early morning breakfast meeting with the UCO Provost and Associate Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs. External participants will have an afternoon virtual meeting with program mentors. Academic Leadership Fellows Academy Alumni will be invited to join each meeting to share a summary of their White Paper, describe any traction their proposal has earned since completion and provide recommendations for navigating the Academy along with an open Q&A.

Session 3 - Mission and Institutional Culture

6-8:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023
UCO, Edmond, OK

This session will focus on how the leader might use available and embedded elements of organizational culture to create a more supportive work climate and bring about positive change.

Session 4 – New Programs and Continuous Improvement

6-8:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 8, 2023
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023
UCO, Edmond, OK

The purpose of this session is to learn how to create a proposal for a new academic program. Each Academic Fellow will research, design and complete all the necessary documentation for the creation of one new program designed to attract new students, bring in new additional revenue, and raise the academic standing of their university. Academic Fellows will learn necessary processes for creating new programs of study using a continuous improvement model. To complete this project, Fellows should investigate any available primary research data their institution may have on hand, gather secondary research sources, and research comparable programs of study at peer universities etc.  Each Fellow will learn how to construct financial pro-forma data required for all new programs and how to evaluate the effectiveness of operations needed to launch a new program. (Note: UCO Fellows will present their proposals to the President, president’s cabinet, VPAA and academic team).

Session 5 – Institutional Effectiveness

6-8:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, 2023
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023
Tri County Tech-Pawhuska Business Development Center, Pawhuska, OK

Academic fellows will develop an understanding of the major components of Institutional Effectiveness and explore the implementation of Institutional Effectiveness at their own institution, including identification of successes and areas of challenges. Fellows will explore strategies to shift from an organizational culture of compliance to using key institutional processes to advance mission and goals.

Session 6 – Strategic Planning and Budgeting

6-8:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 10, 2023
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023
Rose State College, Midwest City, OK

Academic Fellows should become familiar with available strategic plans at their university including: budget management, recruitment, compensation, technology and IT expansion, housing and academic support. Using the Higher Learning Commission's criterion 5 as a guideline, each fellow will develop a list which can be turned into a White Paper critiquing the strengths and weaknesses of present strategic planning processes. Fellows will explore ideas on how to improve the planning process.

Each Academic Fellow will be well grounded in an understanding of their university’s financial health. Each should be able to read and understand common financial statements, understand governmental CFI rankings, understand state funding formulas and compute costs of selected programs within the university.

Session 7 – Accountability

6-8:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 2, 2024
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024
UCO, Edmond, OK

Each Academic Fellow will become familiar with each of their university’s accreditation requirements as well as understanding the impact of Department of Education, Title IX. Fellows will participate in several group discussions based on case studies.

Session 8 – White Paper Ideas

7:30-9 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024
UCO, Edmond, OK
3-4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024

UCO participants will have an early morning breakfast meeting with UCO Provost and Associate Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs to discuss their White Paper ideas. External participants will have an afternoon virtual meeting with program mentors to discuss their White Paper ideas.

Session 9 – Virtual Closing Session

3-5 p.m., Friday, March 22, 2024

Program recap of key learning objectives and White Paper next steps.

Session 10 – White Paper Presentations

11 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, April 26, 2024
UCO, Edmond, OK

UCO participants will present a summary of their White Paper during a lunch meeting to the UCO President, President’s Cabinet, Provost and Provost Academic Affairs team.


Early-bird Registration Fee: $2,499, includes meals, lodging and instructional materials for each session, ends April 30, 2023.
Regular Registration Fee: $3,000, includes meals, lodging and instructional materials for each session, May 1-July 1, 2023.
Participants are responsible for their transportation to the session locations.



Registrants prepaying with a university/college credit card may print the ELA Prepayment Authorization Form for your records.


Mary Howard, M.B.A.
Director, Educators' Leadership Academy (ELA)
Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching and Learning (CETTL)
University of Central Oklahoma
100 N. University Drive, CTL 102, Campus Box 212; Edmond, OK 73034
Phone: 405-974-5561 Fax: (405) 974-3922