Leadership Development

Campus Address
121-50 USB
Mailing Address

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

Elements of the ELA-Higher Education - Immersions, Individual Coaching, Sponsored Team Projects, Project Management Coaching, Mentor Coaching, Service Project

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


Each immersion is designed to provide participants a balanced theoretical and practitioner approach to leadership. Each participant takes part in six, two-day, 3.5 hour immersions that are designed around the framework of Transformational Leadership (Bass, 1985) and a half-day celebration and showcase. Speakers include experts in all subject areas including, but 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

Sponsored Team Projects

Strategic projects are commissioned to provide participants an opportunity to develop and practice leadership skills using a team format. Program projects are visible, impact the university at large, and create an environment whereas participants uniquely stretch their current skills and create new ones. Each sponsored team project will feature a diversity, equity and inclusion component. Prior to selection, projects are extensively vetted.

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 might 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 presentation by each project team which outlines their experience and recommendations. 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. The general public are invited to attend the poster and presentations.

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

2019-20 Project Sponsor Overview 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

Project Management

Each participant takes part in six 2.5 hours of project management facilitated remote sessions focused on the application of project management, best practices and led by an experienced facilitator. Cohort sessions are designed to support learning and application. Project teams meet three times with their project sponsor, supported by their project management facilitator, and project teams present their sponsor with a summation of their work and project recommendations. The project curriculum is directed by a Project Management facilitator 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 facilitator collaborates with each project team to address process and team barriers, presents the project  management curriculum, supports application, and provides presentation guidance prior to project sponsor meetings and the Showcase Celebration.

Individual Coaching

Each participant receives a minimum of six individual, one-on-one sessions with an experienced leadership coach. Discussions focus on developing and strengthening individual leadership knowledge, attitude and skills. On demand, virtual and/or face-to-face individual sessions are held throughout the academy. Participants develop their unique Individual Leadership Development Plan (ILDP), to include a personal goal focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

A variety of tools enhance participant growth and development, which include: Gallup CliftonStrengths, Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), DISC, and a multi-rater 360 survey.


During the first immersion (Onboarding and Orientation) 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 a minimum of four times throughout the Academy. Mentoring is a powerful and personal career development tool which supports professional growth, gives back to the UI community, and transcends the academy experience.

Service Project

ELA-Higher Education project teams engage in a service project of their choosing, which provides opportunity for team building and networking, while supporting the UI and greater communities.