Executive Leadership Academy -Higher Ed Elements

Elements of the ELA - Immersions, Project Coaching, Individual Coaching, Service Project, Mentor
Elements of the Executive Leadership Academy Higher Ed

The Executive Leadership Academy-Higher Ed is an interactive opportunity in learned and applied skill building. To enhance unique participant outcomes, the academy is presented under six focus areas: immersions, projects, project coaching, individual coaching, mentor coaching and service project.


Each immersion is designed to provide participants a balanced theoretical and practitioner approach to leadership. Academy members takes part in five, two-day immersions that are designed around the framework of Transformational Leadership (Bass, 1985). Speakers include experts in all subject areas including regional and state executive leadership. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Theoretical Leadership Frameworks
  • Creating a Vision for Leadership in Higher Education
  • Committing to Authentic Leadership and its Impact on Higher Education
  • Organizational Culture
  • Leading Multigenerational Teams
  • Entrepreneurial and Innovative Leadership
  • Leadership and Management as a Symbiotic Relationship
  • Organizational Diversity
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Executive Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Building a Sustainable Organization
  • Change Management


Higher Education senior leadership commission strategic projects for academy members to apply leadership skills using a team format. Prior to selection, projects are extensively vetted and must meet the following requirements:

  • Aligned with Higher Education strategic pillars
  • Have a significant impact on multiple departments/colleges and constituencies

Program projects are visible, impact higher education at large, and create an environment whereas participants uniquely stretch their current skills and develop new ones. Developmental areas include, but are not limited to: project management, strategic planning, team development, budget, marketing, branding, networking, influencing, assessment, resource alignment, and negotiation. To complete these projects, participants engage students, staff, faculty, senior administration, city and community government representatives, regional and national higher education institutions, and business leaders.

Past projects were commissioned by: the University of Iowa Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Division of Student Life, International Programs, Hancher Center for the Performing Arts, the Center for Teaching, Athletics, and the Office of Outreach and Engagement. Upon the completion of the Executive Leadership Academy-Higher Ed, each project team participates in the Showcase. This public event includes a poster exhibition and a 30-minute presentation by each project team which outlines their specific findings. Audience members represent executive administration, the Human Resources community, college and departmental colleagues, project sponsors, participant’s friends and family, and the greater local communities. 

Project sponsors will outline high-level objectives for the teams through video to all participants. View the following ELA cohort videos:

2018-2019 Project Sponsor Overview Videos

2017-2018 Project Sponsor Overview Videos

2016-2017 Project Sponsor Overview Videos

2015-2016 Project Sponsor Overview Videos

Academy participants take part in nine project coaching sessions. These sessions focus on the application of project management principals, processes, and best practices outlined by the Project Management Institute. The project curriculum is directed by a Project Management Coach, in collaboration with the participants' Leadership Coach, to guide them through the project management life cycle. The curriculum includes: stakeholder registry, communication management plan, research plan, problem statement, statement of work, scope statement, project charter, work breakdown structure, risk analysis, implementation plan, and closeout.

Additionally, the Project Management Coach and Leadership Coach collaborate with each project team to address process and team barriers, ensure the project curriculum is understood and applied, and provide presentation coaching prior to the Showcase.

Individual Coaching

Each participant receives five individual sessions with experienced leadership coaches who guide them to achieve their professional development goals. Coaches supplement the individual sessions with continued multimedia support throughout the program. A variety of tools enhance participant growth and development, which include: Gallup’s CliftonStrengths, TTI DISC, and a multi-rater 360 survey.

Mentor Coaching

During the first immersion (Onboarding) participants will be introduced to mentor best practices. Participants will identify potential mentors and develop a Mentor Implementation Plan that includes meeting with their mentor throughout the Academy. Mentoring is a powerful personal and career development tool which supports professional growth.

Service Project

The service project focus is designed to encourage community partnerships. The project is self-directed by the cohort and is administered as they determine. 

Contact Information

Leadership Development

Campus Address
121-50 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building., Suite. 50
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States