Welcome to the EDUCAUSE Senior Directors Institute! The goal of the institute is to address high-level campus-wide and leadership issues, while focusing on developing skills to effectively communicate, motivate and engage employees, spearhead strategies for institutional change, exercise strategic decision making, and lead the way in overcoming enterprise-level challenges.

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

  • Evaluate how to exert influence by leading up, down, and across the organization
  • Assess the leadership qualities contributing to your personal brand and professional aspirations
  • Employ effective communication strategies to build workplace relationships
  • Drive employee engagement by leveraging unique motivators
  • Implement proactive strategies to advocate for organizational changes and innovation
  • Use sound decision-making that aligns with the mission and vision of the organization
  • Implement strategies for overcoming enterprise-level challenges


During the program, learners are expected to dedicate approximately 5-10 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 institute each week, even on a daily basis.

Once a week, we will hold a live, synchronous online meeting to discuss resources, activities, and projects in support of the five competencies. These meetings will be a combination of short talks, discussion, and opportunities for questions. We highly recommend you attend all live sessions.

All sessions will take place Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Start Date: August 29, 2022

Live Sessions:

  • Week 1 — Wednesday, August 31
  • Week 2 — Wednesday, September 7
  • Week 3 — Wednesday, September 14
  • Week 4 — Wednesday, September 21
  • Week 5 — Wednesday, September 28
  • Week 6 — Wednesday, October 5
  • Week 7 — Wednesday, October 12
  • Week 8 — Wednesday, October 19
  • Week 9 — No Live Session
  • Week 10 — Wednesday, November 2
  • Week 11 — Wednesday, November 9

Institute Competencies

Each competency includes the following components:

  • Introduction: Overview, learning objectives, and activity checklist
  • Learning Materials: Readings, videos, and websites that contain the key content and information you will need to progress through the competency
  • Recommended Resources: Optional readings, videos, and websites that provide additional information as well as encouragement that you read resources that are interesting and relevant to your professional development
  • Activities/Assignments: Practice activities and assignments
  • Reflections: Summary and highlights of current competency and a preview of what is to come

Competency 1: Leadership Journey

As a leader at the senior director level, you need to be skilled leading in different directions - often at the same time. You must provide vision and direction to your organization (leading down), manage the expectations of your supervisors (leading up), and collaborate and build relationships with colleagues throughout the institution (leading across). This competency provides insights into leading in these different directions, allowing you to take ownership more effectively of your personal and professional leadership journey.

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

  • Personal Vision and Guiding Principles: Develop a personal statement that captures the principles and values you represent professionally
  • Managing Up, Down, and Across: Analyze techniques for leading in all directions in the organization
  • Personal and Professional Development: Identify action items to incorporate into a personal development plan
  • Leading from the Head and the Heart: Develop a leadership approach that considers the needs of the organization and its people
  • Developing Your Personal Brand: Describe the values and behaviors you want to embody in a leadership role

Competency 2: Leadership Communication

Leadership communication requires thought, planning, and awareness. It occurs in many forms, including individual conversations, written correspondence, and presentations. Successful communicators are able to identify the approaches that will work best with different audiences and adjust messages to maximize their impact. Leaders also need to listen for the meaning behind the spoken messages, using emotional intelligence to read body language and intent. This combination of skills allows senior leaders to diffuse difficult situations, build lasting relationships, articulate a clear vision of action, and manage effectively in all directions.

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

  • Communicating to Your Audience: Incorporate audience considerations into your communication approaches
  • Building Relationships and Networking: Identify ways to expand your professional network and influence in the organization
  • Emotional Intelligence: Use emotional intelligence strategies to strengthen working relationships
  • Persuasive Communication: Develop skills to communicate with and persuade senior leaders
  • Active Listening: Practice active listening techniques to improve workplace communication
  • Crisis Communication: Identify techniques to successfully communicate in times of crisis

Competency 3: Motivation and Engagement

Though you cannot make others feel motivated or engaged, you can cultivate workplace conditions that reliably lead to happier and more productive employees. As a senior director, how you communicate, organize your department, recruit and retain talent, and promote an inclusive culture all contribute to the success of the organization.

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

  • Employee Motivation and Engagement: Develop strategies to leverage individual motivators and keep staff engaged
  • Effective Organizations: Identify common elements of effective organizations
  • Retaining and Recruiting Talent: Assess strategies for recruiting and retaining staff
  • Using an Inclusive Approach: Evaluate the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in engaging and retaining talent

Competency 4: Institutional Change

Whether it is leading and managing change, overcoming barriers, articulating a vision for your team, or creating a culture for innovation, the senior director is in a position to make change happen. This requires the ability to think both tactically and strategically; you need to understand the day-to-day implications of how change will affect your employees as well as the larger downstream impacts to various stakeholders across the organization.

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

  • Qualities of Effective Change Managers: Identify qualities of effective change managers
  • Barriers to Change Management: Evaluate organizational readiness for implementing comprehensive change
  • Strategies for Change Management: Assess frameworks for effectively managing change
  • Articulating a Clear Vision: Discuss the importance of communicating a clear vision
  • Creating a Culture of Innovation: Identify ways to promote a culture of innovation across the organization
  • Importance of Culture and Climate: Analyze culture and climate considerations that support institutional change

Competency 5: Strategic Leadership Decisions

It is critically important that we are able to make sound decisions that align with the mission and vision of the organization. Though we have been making decisions all our lives, our roles give us responsibility and oversight over people, services, and technology across the institution.

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

  • Uses of Tactical and Strategic Thinking: Incorporate both tactical and strategic thinking into your leadership approach
  • Incorporating a Systems Approach: Use enterprise architecture and other systems thinking techniques to inform strategic leadership decisions
  • Making High-Quality Decisions: Use best practices for making decisions and improving the decision-making of others
  • Monitoring the Portfolio: Analyze KPIs and other portfolio data to monitor project work and inform decisions
  • Decision Alignment and Governance: Identify characteristics and models for effective governance
  • Pursuing Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion: Analyze the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in leading efforts

Competency 6: Enterprise Leadership

In this competency, you will examine some of the modern issues and challenges faced by higher education institutions and explore how IT can help create opportunities for advancement and success. You will review the importance of positioning your organization, leveraging resources, and engaging with campus leaders. Finally, you will take a deep dive into the concept of digital transformation (Dx), a series of coordinated culture, workforce, and technology shifts that enable new educational and operational models.

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

  • Modern Day Issues and Challenges: Examine trends in higher education and technology to anticipate institutional needs
  • Engaging Campus Leaders: Assess strategies for building partnerships with executive leaders throughout the institution
  • Identifying Enterprise-level Opportunities: Examine how initiatives can create enterprise-level opportunities
  • Leveraging Information Tools and Resources: Assess higher education tools and resources for collecting data and streamlining processes
  • Doing More with Less: Identify strategies for overcoming budget and resource constraints
  • Positioning Your Organization: Use strategic planning to ensure the long-term success of the organization