The goal of the EDUCAUSE Executive Leaders Academy is not only to help you develop the foundational skills critical for leading transformation, projects, units, and people, but also to provide a broader context for considering the opportunities and challenges to the responsible leadership of higher education.


The Executive Leaders Academy is an immersive hybrid experience that requires attendance at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference (included in the registration fee) and continues online. Throughout the Academy, leaders are expected to dedicate approximately 3-5 hours per week (synchronous and asynchronous) to have an engaged and successful learning experience. We ask that participants actively plan the time they will spend on the program each week.

The Academy takes place from September 11, 2023–April 26, 2024.

Live Session Schedule

**NOTE: Sessions outside of the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference will take place on Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET. Dates and times may vary slightly based on speaker availability, but participants will be notified in advance of any changes.

  • Thursday, September 14th: Leadership Foundations
  • Thursday, September 21st: Leadership Foundations Toolbox
  • Thursday, September 28th: Leading and Supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Thursday, October 5th: Leading a Data-Informed Culture
  • EDUCAUSE Annual Conference:
    • Monday, October 9th, 8:00 a.m - 6:00 p.m. CT, McCormick Place West, W190B, Level 1 (includes all meals and reception)
    • Tuesday, October 10th, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m CT, McCormick Place West, W190B, Level 1 (includes lunch)
    • Wednesday, October 11th, 3:00 p.m - 6:30 p.m. CT, McCormick Place West, W190B, Level 1 (includes reception)
  • Thursday, October 19th: Leading a Data-Informed Culture Toolbox
  • Thursday, October 26th: Building a Personal Brand
  • Thursday, November 2nd: Collaboration and Impact
  • Thursday, November 16th: Collaboration and Impact Toolbox (**10am-11:30a ET)
  • Thursday, December 7th: Establishing Your Executive Brand and LinkedIn Presence
  • Thursday, December 14th: Networking Live Session
  • Thursday, January 18th: Business Acumen and Action
  • Thursday, February 1st: Business Acumen and Action Toolbox
  • Thursday, February 15th: Transformation and Change
  • Thursday, February 22nd: Supporting Transformational Change with Design Strategy Tools
  • Thursday, February 29th: Transformation and Change Toolbox
  • Thursday, March 14th: Organizational Design
  • Thursday, March 28th: Organizational Design Toolbox
  • Thursday, April 11th: Ongoing Leadership Journey
  • Thursday, April 25th: Academy Closing Session

Academy Modules

Each module contains these components:

  • Launch Session: A synchronous session with leaders in the field to outline the key issues, opportunities, and areas for learning.
  • Learning Materials: Readings, videos, and websites that contain key resources and information relevant to your leadership development in each topic.
  • Activities/Assignments: Practice activities and assignments to apply your learning.
  • Toolbox Session: A synchronous session focused on specific skills you can apply to your work.
  • Reflections: Summaries, highlights, and reflections at the conclusion of each module.

Module 1: Leadership Foundations

The higher education landscape constantly changes. To be future-ready, today’s leaders need to embrace lifelong learning. This academy will help you hone your leadership skills, broaden your "people" network, build your professional brand, participate in coaching, and allow you to engage in mentorship activities. This module will set the stage for the academy’s structure, content, and activities. You will gain insight into your values and leadership knowledge and skills; learn how to coach and be coached; and reflect upon and develop your personal and professional brand. Finally, you will begin to develop your professional learning plan that will help you navigate your leadership journey for years to come. In addition, you will meet and get to know new colleagues, faculty, and coaches.

By the end of this module, you will:

  1. Reflect upon your personal values and map them to your workplace values.
  2. Conduct a 360-degree assessment of your current leadership knowledge and skills.
  3. Identify key concepts and professional branding you want to include as part of your professional learning plan.
  4. Share and discuss your initial professional learning plan with an executive coach.
  5. Engage in activities to learn more about academy attendees and faculty.

Module 2: Leading a Data-Informed Culture

Data is the glue that binds people, processes, and technology together. The growth of data collection and availability has increased demand for and expectations around data. Data services and professionals have become ubiquitous within higher education and there is no option to put the genie back in the bottle. Data is “the new oil,” but like oil it requires significant effort to refine it into a useful tool. Bringing together technical and business users to make that process happen can be a challenge, as data work cuts across many traditional silos.

Good data leadership depends on understanding what the institution’s strategic needs are, bringing together resources to architect a functional operating model, and remaining abreast of fast-moving technological change while also focusing on the basic plumbing of data governance that few institutions have done well to date.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of different organizational models for data and analytics in higher education.
  2. Identify concrete ways data adds value to various areas of institutions: finance, human resources, facilities, academic scheduling, teaching and learning, assessment, institutional research, alumni and development, sponsored programs and research, student affairs, and information technology.
  3. Identify the contribution different aspects of data infrastructure (technical, procedural, and cultural) make to a strong data & analytics ecosystem.
  4. Use a data and analytics maturity model to assess institution-wide data management capabilities and use of analytics.

Module 3: Collaboration and Impact

Higher education institutions are often decentralized, with organizational units working independently and, at times, competitively. Leaders with a successful collaboration style can more easily improve and innovate new and existing services, enhance client satisfaction, and lead effective, collaborative organizations that get results and meet institutional goals. In this module, you will explore collaboration frameworks that will help you move institutional initiatives and strategic goals forward.

By the end of this module, you will:

  1. Create personal “disciplined collaboration” principles.
  2. Articulate your collaborative leadership style.
  3. Identify the barriers to and opportunities for impactful and intentional collaboration within and outside your institution.
  4. Identify key leaders and stakeholders with whom strong collaboration is essential for successful initiatives.

Module 4: Business Acumen and Action

Your business acumen helps leaders see the big picture to make decisions, take action, and help their college or university achieve its objectives. Those with strong business acumen possess deep organizational knowledge, use and rely upon financial as well as programmatic data, understand how institutional decisions are made, align their team members’ work to college and university strategic plans, and embrace ambiguity. You will be most effective when you use these business acumen skills to communicate to different audiences the ways your team members’ services contribute to college or university strategic and financial goals and how you manage your operations as a business. In this module, you will empower your leadership by exploring ways to increase your business acumen at the highest levels of the institution.

By the end of this module, you will:

  1. Identify how various business acumen skills interrelate as you lead strategic efforts.
  2. Develop a communication strategy to highlight how leveraging technology supports innovations and initiatives.
  3. Reflect upon and discuss with two to three colleagues how you can enhance your influence on key college or university decision-making processes.
  4. Develop a plan to enhance one or two business acumen skills.

Module 5: Transformation and Change

As you develop your leadership skills, focus on grand challenges, collaborate for impact, and use your business acumen for action, you will find that you are leading transformational initiatives. You will need to inspire others and address cultural, workforce, technological, political, and strategic issues. You will need to step up and communicate to leaders how digital transformations can help remodel college and university business models. You will need to foster a culture of accountability, ownership, workplace autonomy, justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this module, you will learn about and apply tools and ideas for leading transformational changes critical to success at your institution.

By the end of this module, you will:

  1. Reflect on the ways current conversations and research around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) influence the change model you choose to use.
  2. Describe the transformational change model that guides your leadership work and specific transformation levers, theories, and research that informs this model.
  3. Interview at least two change agents or thought leaders to identify successful transformation tools or strategies they have used.
  4. Identify two or three data literacy and design thinking concepts or practices you will explore in future transformational change projects and why you think these practices will be useful.

Module 6: Organizational Design

Effective leadership requires you to intentionally design an agile, flexible, and inclusive organization. Higher education is currently experiencing rapid changes in many areas: workforce, student success, cost and efficiency, mental health, and diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) practices. These changes provide an opportunity to rethink the design of your organization and its relationship to other stakeholders at your college or university and the greater ecosystem in which your organization operates. In this module, you will have an opportunity to review and rethink your organization’s current and future organizational design.

By the end of this module, you will:

  1. Apply three to five key components that go into designing an effective, agile, flexible, and inclusive organization.
  2. Identify the benefits of incorporating DEI practices into your organizational design.
  3. Incorporate social and cultural practices that enhance organizational designs.
  4. Develop strategies for ensuring that you have the right people in the right seats doing the right things.

Module 7: Ongoing Leadership Journey

Becoming an effective leader is a lifelong journey. In this module you will reflect on the journey you just completed, discuss ways to continue this journey, and develop a plan to continue your leadership development and growth.

By the end of this module, you will:

  1. Reflect on your leadership journey and progress to inform future growth.
  2. Develop a plan for continued networking and connections with colleagues from the academy.
  3. Identify mentors and/or a coach for your future leadership journey.
  4. Develop a plan to optimize your executive leadership brand and presence over the next year.
  5. Identify an activity that you will pursue over the next year that contributes to leading or supporting your profession.