Main Navigation

University of Utah new home for national leadership development program

New Leadership Academy Fellows Program aims to center the necessary work of equity, diversity and inclusion in leadership for higher education.

The University of Utah is the new home for the nationally recognized New Leadership Academy Fellows Program (NLA). The leadership development program provides Fellows with online and in-person curriculum, coaching and mentorship experiences rooted in leadership and diversity scholarship to prepare them for the dynamic leadership challenges faced by higher education today.

The program is a partnership between the University of Utah and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) and was previously led and supported by the University of Michigan’s National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. The U will begin recruiting its 2021-22 cohort of 25-35 individuals this spring.

“It is a tremendous honor for the University of Utah to carry on the tradition of directing this unique and highly effective leadership program,” said Dr. Mary Ann Villarreal, the university’s vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). “As an alumna of this program, I grew from the professional and personal mentorship, but more importantly from working with smaller teams over a year. Fellows receive the knowledge, tools and courage to become effective leaders who can hold all of the tensions of an inclusive environment of higher education.”

Dr. Patricia Arredondo, chair of the AAHHE’s board of directors, welcomes the new collaboration with the University of Utah. “Through the New Leadership Academy and our partnership with the University of Utah, we will further equity, diversity and inclusion principles and practices in higher education. Together we are enacting our shared values and commitment to future leaders who will advance EDI as a priority.”

Transition from Michigan to Utah 

NLA directors Dr. John Burkhardt and Dr. Betty Overton say the time is right for the academy to transition to a new home in Utah. Both leaders are credited with building the program and establishing its national reputation as a premier training program in higher education. Burkhardt recently retired from the University of Michigan, necessitating the need for the academy to find a new administrative home.

“The University of Utah, by taking on the role of directing the New Leadership Academy, is offering itself as a national resource. With a record of recent successes in many areas, Utah has positioned itself as one that others are watching,” said Burkhardt. “Utah can demonstrate how a major public research university takes up the challenges that come with its growing national recognition and the expectations that come alongside.”

“I am delighted that the academy has transitioned to another great institution. The University of Utah is an ideal host because of its shared vision to create a hospitable space committed to reenvisioning the work of higher education through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Overton. “I am excited to remain connected to NLA as it continues to impact people who love higher education and who call on the academy to tackle the issues of how we live together, not just on campus, but in our democracy and in the world.”

Both Burkhardt and Overton plan to remain actively involved in the program as mentors and advisors but won’t be relocating to Utah. At Utah, the New Leadership Academy will be led by Dr. Amy Fulton, its new director, who has played an integral role in the program’s growth and curricular development while at Michigan.

“I’m excited to continue the work of the New Leadership Academy at the University of Utah, especially at this pivotal moment in higher education,” said Fulton. “I’m looking forward to the addition of new institutional, professional and national relationships to our vibrant alumni community, both of which will lead to further growth of NLA in the coming years at the U.”

Details about the program  

The program includes a week-long retreat, regular coaching sessions, interactive case studies and other tailored programs and activities. Core competencies taught by the program include:

  • Understanding leadership and contemporary issues in higher education
  • Philanthropic, corporate and global partnerships and effective use of networks
  • Leadership for diversity, equity and inclusion in a complex and contested environment
  • Reconciling legislative, governmental and public accountability with expectations
  • Communicating values, goals and institutional imperatives
  • Fiscal constraints, resource management and financial responsibility
  • Innovation and opportunities for transformational change
  • Mediating faculty, staff and administrative relationships

“Our curriculum is rooted in leadership and diversity scholarship, with a particular focus on the unique challenges faced by leaders in higher education,” said Fulton. “Through our own research and experiences, we’ve found there is a need for greater preparation of higher education professionals and leaders to recognize, assess and work through issues of equity, diversity and inclusion on their campuses which our program is designed to address.”

Candidates for the program must demonstrate leadership in higher education and hold an administrative leadership or senior faculty position at their respective institution. Applicants from policy-related and philanthropic organizations are also encouraged to apply. Information about the application process for the 2021-22 cohort is available here.