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In its 25th year, the Transformative Leadership Academy (formerly known as the Educational Administrators’ Academy) provides the rare opportunity for Higher Education, Career Tech and K-12 faculty, staff and administrators to experience in-depth leadership development designed specifically for educational leaders. Transformational leadership is about connecting with and motivating employees, colleagues and students in meaningful ways that can shape the future through innovation and progress. Adaptability through the essential skills of emotional intelligence, cultural awareness, leadership theories, negotiation management and legal frameworks is key to the success of educational leaders. These skills thus serve as the foundation for the Transformative Leadership Academy, to allow you to lead transformation in your organization.

This academy was established in 1998 through the Educators’ Leadership Academy (ELA) at the University of Central Oklahoma and renamed the Transformative Leaders Academy in 2023 to better align with the needs of those in educational leadership.

Academy Goals

  • Discover your leadership identity from evidence-based leadership research.
  • Develop a range of leadership skills such as effectively managing conflict, promoting cultural awareness, expanding communication methods and motivating others.
  • Learn and employ strategies that improve health and wellness to maximize your quality of life and leadership practices.
  • Understand legal issues and human resource policies facing educational institutions.
  • Network with other higher education professionals for future collaborations and to share best practices.

Academy Outcomes

  • Apply leadership skills and theories in practice.
  • Effectively communicate with and empower others.
  • Gain renewed energy, fresh ideas and recentered purpose to transform your institution.
  • Develop an expanded network of colleagues and professionals in higher education.

Session Format

  • Informational Presentations
  • Pre-Session Assignments of readings and reflections
  • Mentor Engagement
  • Group Discussion of Questions provided in advance


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

Participant Responsibilities for Successful Completion

  • Before each session, participants will be given reading lists or a case study and a short list of questions that they should ask of their institution's leaders. These should be completed before coming to the session. During the session, participants will have an opportunity to network with each other and share their solutions and answers to these questions.
  • Participants will submit interviews and reflections from each session.
  • Attendance is mandatory for the successful completion of the Transformative Leadership Academy. Absence from more than 10 educational hours (or 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.

2023/24 Transformative Leadership Academy

Session 1: Virtual Opening Session

6-8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023

Overview of transformational leadership, introductions, and expectations of the program. In addition, participants will be introduced to the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) online assessment which will be taken by each participant before session #2.

Session 2: Navigating Cultural Differences

6-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22
The Artesian, Sulphur, OK

The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) is an online assessment tool used by businesses and universities around the world to assess intercultural competency. After completing the IDI, each participant will meet with a certified IDI Qualified Administrator to review their individual results and receive a customized Intercultural Development Plan (IDP). This IDP serves as a guide for continued growth and development. This session will facilitate discussions centered on the topics of understanding the various dimensions of culture, identifying strategies to bridge cultural differences and incorporating opportunities using the IDP to grow in intercultural competency in a professional education setting, both inside and outside the classroom.

Presenters: Caroline Bentley, Ph.D. Professor of Biology and Health Professions Advisor at the University of Central Oklahoma and Nicole Warehime, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, Interim Assistant Dean in the College of Liberal Arts, and Chairperson of the Department of Sociology, Gerontology, and Substance Abuse Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Session 3: Legal Issues and Government Relations in Education

6-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25
TCC McKeon Center for Creativity, Tulsa, OK

This session will cover a wide range of legal and human resource issues facing educational institutions and includes suggestions and perspectives that serve to facilitate effectiveness for administrators who must deal with the law’s impact on their campuses. This conversation will include a discussion about the legal structures that impact education and a rich discussion regarding specific state and federal laws, federal regulations, and timely dynamic case law directly impacting education.

Presenters: Mackenzie Wilfong, J.D., General Counsel at Tulsa Community College (TCC) and Jarrett Jobe, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Government Relations at Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Session 4: Leadership Excellence and Well-being

6-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26, 2024
Uco, Edmond, OK

This session examines personal leader identity, the behaviors of exceptional leaders, criteria for maintaining a connection with one’s personal leadership influence and will share models useful for examining organizational situations that leaders face. With particular focus on the four components of transformational leadership, the session integrates the well-being of leaders into session content through offering strategies for navigating stress, anxiety and negative energy. Leaders will identify areas for attention and implement solutions for themselves and their teams.

Presenter: Jeanetta D. Sims, Ph.D., APR, NCA 2nd Vice President, Former Dean, and Professor in the College of Business Department of Marketing at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Session 5: Effective Conflict Engagement for Educational Leaders

6-8:30 p.m., THURSDAY, FEB. 29, 2024
9 A.M.-4 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2024

Conflict is a natural part of life, but unmanaged conflict prevents individuals and organizations from achieving essential goals. This session will explore personal and organizational conflict management and the role education leaders have in building conflict competency. Learning objectives for this course include discussing the nature of conflict, exploring personal conflict styles, strategies for preparing for difficult conversations, and developing effective conflict management skills.

Presenter: Mary Lee Brock, M.Ed., Assistant Professor in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (NCR) program in the Heider College of Business at Creighton University.

Session 6: Professional Development, ELA Alumni Reunion and Graduation

6-8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 28, 2024
UCO, Edmond, OK


Early-bird Registration Fee: $1,999.00 includes meals, lodging. and instructional materials for each ,session, ends April 30, 2023.
Regular Registration Fee: $2,499.00 includes meals, lodging and instructional materials for each session, May 1 - August 10, 2023.
Participants are responsible for their transportation to the session locations.

 Register Via Credit Card

 Register with a purchase order

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


The Transformative Leadership Academy is limited to 30 participants on a first-come, first-serve basis. Ten of those positions will be reserved for UCO faculty and staff, and the remaining positions are open enrollment.


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