Academic Leadership Fellows Academy
Overview for Faculty


The mission of the Academic Leadership Fellows Academy is to identify, develop, and prepare the next generation of academic leaders by providing opportunities for professional growth and mentoring in a small and intimate setting facilitated by respected leaders in higher education from across the nation who will share their unique perspectives based upon years of professional experience.


  • Help organizations build a strong academic leadership pool that is prepared to meet the responsibilities and challenges of academic leadership

  • Successfully navigate one’s unique cultural climate

  • Engage with academic affairs, accountability and continuous improvement

  • Teaching the managerial and organizational skills related to strategic planning and budgeting

  • Stimulating potential academic leaders to think critically about the future of the academy


  • Will be able to identify 10 key indicators of health in university organizational climate.

  • Will understand the university strategic planning process.

  • Will be able to understand key financial indicators of fiscal health.

  • Will understand the national accreditation standards and why they are important.

  • Will understand key concepts related to creating a culture of continuous improvement including: reviewing current programs, creating new programs and eliminating underperforming programs.

  • You will have an expanded network of colleagues and professionals in higher education.


  • Information Presentation

  • Facilitate Discussion of Questions (Given ahead of time)

  • Case Study for each session

Before each session Fellows will be given a reading list, a case study, and a short list of questions they should ask of their mentors. These should be completed before coming to the session. During the session, Fellows will have an opportunity to network with each other and share their solutions and answers to questions.


In many programs a mentor is someone who is assigned to you for the duration of the program. In this program you will be given a suggested list of academic leaders to contact to ask questions related to their work and/or the case study.

2019 – 2020 Session Dates

Session 1 - September 20-21, 2019, OKC

Communication and Cultural Climate

Each Academic Fellow will be required to read from Academic and Organizational Climate literature.  Fellows will be required to identify ten unique aspects of their organization’s culture and speculate how each of these aspects influences morale, productivity, and production across the university. Fellows should compare the ten identified aspects against positive and negative traits suggested by literature and come prepared to discuss ways of enhancing and creating a more positive university culture.

Facilitator: Lynn Priddy, Ph.D., Provost and Chief Academic Office of National American University

Suggested Mentors: Directors of Human Resources, Chairs, Deans, Academic Affairs VP’s and Provost’s

Session 2 - November 1-2, 2019, Tulsa

New Programs and Continuous Improvement

The purpose of this project is to create a portfolio of proposed new academic programs for the Fellows VPAA and academic team to review.  Each Academic Fellow would research, design, and complete all of the necessary university documentation for the creation of 1 to 2 new programs designed to attract new students, bring in new additional revenue and raise the academic standing of their university. Academic Fellows would learn all necessary academic processes for creating new programs of study and the preparation of attendant financial data as well. To complete this project, Fellows should investigate any available primary research data their institution may have on hand, gather secondary research sources, and research comparable programs of study at peer universities etc.  Each Fellow will learn how to construct necessary financial pro-forma data required for all new programs.

Facilitator: David Wendler, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Education and former Vice President for Academics, Martin Luther College

Suggested Mentors: VPAA, Provost, Academic team members, Chief Financial Officer

Session 3 – January 31-February 1, 2020, UCO, Edmond

Understanding the Basis of Accountability

Each Academic Fellow will become familiar with each of their university’s accreditation requirements as well as understanding the impact of Department of Education, Title IX. Fellows will be given an example assurance argument to critique.

Facilitator: Michael W. Westerfield, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at William Woods University

Suggested Mentors: Deans, Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Accreditation Officers, Assessment Program Coordinators

Session 4 – March 27-28, 2020, OKC

Managerial and Organizational Skills Related to Strategic Planning and Budgeting

Academic Fellows should become familiar with available strategic plans at their university including: budget management, recruitment, compensation, technology and IT expansion, housing, and academic support. Using the Higher Learning Commission's criterion 5 as a guideline, each fellow will develop a list which can be turned into a whitepaper critiquing the strengths and weaknesses of present strategic planning processes. Fellows will explore ideas on how to improve the planning process.

Each Academic Fellow will be well grounded in an understanding of their university’s financial health. Each should be able to read and understand common financial statements, understand governmental CFI rankings, understand state funding formulas, and compute costs of selected programs within the university.

Facilitator: Lee Johnson, Ph.D., CPA, Senior Vice President for Business and Finance at Siena Heights University.

Suggested Mentors: Chief Financial Officers, Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Recognized Budget Managers


UCO Participant Responsibility

  • Each session is 1½ days, Friday nights and Saturdays so minimal, if any, classes are missed by faculty. Sessions begin at 6 p.m. the first night and end around 2:30 p.m. the following day. Attendance is mandatory for the successful completion of the Academic Leadership Fellows Academy. Absence from more than one full session (or the accumulation of partial sessions that equals one full session) will result in the participant to being withdrawn from the program.

  • Project assignment will culminate in a 2-4 page (single spaced) white paper based on the ALF Academy session assignments. The content of the white paper should center around any two or three of the ideas that have been discussed in the academy that caused you to reflect on how UCO might better improve its culture, planning, and programs.  Specifically, your paper should explain how your selected concepts might directly benefit UCO, and provide university academic leaders with solid ideas and/or recommendations on how these concepts might be implemented. Presentations for any new programs should include a financial pro forma and an explanation as to how the new program relates to the stated UCO mission and strategic plan. Before your final presentations, all white papers will be reviewed by the Drs. Barthell, Simmons, or Steward and they will contact you with feedback. (Participants will receive three hours of reassigned time for 8-10 hours of work per week on project. Participant will need to let both their department chair and dean know about the reassignment time. There is no stipend but rather a reduced teaching load if the department chair and dean agree.)

  • Final presentations of White Paper for the President’s Cabinet and the academic leadership team.

  • A copy of your final white paper proposal will be archived in the office of Institutional Effectiveness as an example of faculty development and research for the Higher Learning Commission.
  • 2-3 breakfasts per semester to update Provost, Assoc. AA VPs, and others.

Selection Criteria and Process

  • Be recommended by the Dean and Department Chair/School Director.

  • Be a tenured faculty member at UCO.

  • Fill out application form and submit to Department Chair/School Director.

  • Dean will submit recommendation (s) to Provost.

  • Provost will select 4-5 Academic Leadership Fellows for each class.

For more information contact:
Cary Williams
Director, Educators' Leadership Academy
Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching and Learning (CETTL) at University of Central Oklahoma
100 N. University Drive, CTL 202, Campus Box 212; Edmond, OK 73034
Phone: (405) 974-5561 Fax: (405) 974-3922
Email:  cwilliams56@uco.edu