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Leading by example

Leaders in higher education and the state will participate in a leadership development curriculum focused on creating environments and policies that prioritize equity.

After less than a year at the University of Utah, the New Leadership Academy (NLA) is already building inroads to support state and local leaders in Utah. Thanks to a grant awarded to NLA, leaders from across the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) will participate in a leadership development curriculum focused on utilizing a lens of equity, diversity and inclusion to positively impact the state of Utah and all its students.

Two cohorts of higher education board members and state leaders will begin their educational journey in January 2022, through a hybrid of online and in-person sessions. All 18 members of the Utah Board of Higher Education and the executive staff within USHE’s Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education will comprise the first and second cohorts, respectively. The third cohort will be a pilot group made up of a combination of senior leaders from USHE’s 16 institutions from across the state of Utah, slated to start in the fall of 2022.

USHE serves over 225,000 students across its 16 postsecondary institutions, including technical colleges. The alumni go on to influence every aspect of Utah’s workforce and economy, from health and education to criminal justice and law enforcement.

“Investing in pathways to embed equity into our everyday work is how, we believe, higher education can transform into a more equitable system,” said Dr. Amy Fulton, director of the NLA. “By including board members and higher education policymakers, we anticipate that the leadership outcomes we have set through the curriculum will impact all Utah students by creating environments and policies that prioritize equity.”

Members of the three cohorts will work to cultivate their awareness, understanding and commitment to actions that will bring about the changes needed for a more equitable state, divisions, organizations, institutions and ultimately, our communities and society.

“We believe this NLA curriculum will lay the foundation for developing meaningful, personal and system-wide transformation toward centering equity,” said Shawn Newell, Utah Board of Higher Education member and EDI workgroup co-chair. “This program is just the beginning of creating inclusive cultures within these cohorts of state leaders. This program will provide leadership with the knowledge, tools and courage needed to lead with equity, diversity and inclusion as we continue this ongoing and important work.”

“By investing in the development of our state educational leaders, we are continuing critical work which will benefit all Utah students,” said Lisa Michele Church, Utah Board of Higher Education member and EDI workgroup co-chair. “We know this work will take time and our dedicated efforts. We are committed to examining our leadership, practices and policies in order to create more positive environments that prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion.”

The U was awarded $125,000 in grant funding by Strada Education Network and the work of this project aligns with Strada’s push for student success beyond graduation, consistent with its nonprofit mission to increase individuals’ economic mobility through purposeful connections between education and work.

To find out more about the NLA and its curriculum, click here.