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President’s Executive Leadership Program 2024-25

The President’s Executive Leadership Program represents a unique professional development opportunity and experience for selected senior-level faculty and administrators across the University of Illinois System. Consisting of four seminars held during a 12-month period, the objective of the leadership program is to broaden participants’ understanding of higher education issues and to strengthen their skill sets in leading and managing a public institution at the university or system level. The Board of Trustees supports the program as a mechanism for identifying and developing a diverse group of potential future university and system leaders. 

The specific goals for PELP Fellows include:

  • Develop a broad understanding of the expectations of a tier-1, public land-grant university in the 21st century context
  • Increase knowledge and awareness of issues and challenges facing higher education and the university
  • Enhance management and decision-making skills within a shifting demographic and global environment
  • Identify appropriate strategies in addressing key issues and achieving organizational goals
  • Expand networking opportunities and resources available at the local, state, and national levels in sustaining the university and its mission
  • Study various participatory methods and approaches in university governance and management
  • Understand change management and the roles of the appointed leadership, faculty governance structures, and the Board of Trustees in implementing change
  • Develop an appreciation of state and federal government issues that affect higher education

The program starts in the fall and continues through the academic year and into the early summer. Please note that Fellows are required to commit to attend each session; tentative dates have been identified but will be confirmed prior to inviting those selected to participate in the program. Dates and descriptions of the seminars follow.

Seminar 1: Leading a Minority-Serving Research University in a Global City
August 12-14, 2024 in Chicago, IL

The first seminar in the series will provide an overview of how a public research university connects to the global city of Chicago. Participants will network with public officials and corporate leaders, as well as visit a neighborhood public health facility and a not-for-profit organization serving immigrant populations. Topics will include economic development, health care, public education, and the role of a research university in an urban setting. Discussions and presentations will feature an emphasis on the role of university leadership within an emerging global environment.

Seminar 2: Leadership and Governance of an AAU Big Ten University
October 28-30, 2024, in Urbana, IL

The second seminar will explore the role challenges of managing and leading a public, land-grant university in the highly competitive Association of American Universities (AAU) environment. Topics will include working with faculty governance processes, labor union agreements, student groups, alumni and parent groups, and the Board of Trustees to move the university forward. At the conclusion of the sessions, participants will engage in a roundtable discussion focusing on attracting top talent in a competitive environment, stimulating research opportunities, connecting with powerful alumni, and enhancing diversity in the prairie.

Seminar 3: Strengthening Public Policy Partnerships in the State’s Capital City
March 3-5, 2025 in Springfield, IL

Located in the state’s capital, the third seminar will provide an overview and consideration of key aspects of the relationship between the state of Illinois and higher education, with a focus on UIS and beyond. Participants will examine issues associated with governance and expectations in leading public universities during challenging times. Key executive branch and legislative staff members will join the group to discuss crucial issues facing the state and the university, with a roundtable de-briefing session at the conclusion of the day.

Seminar 4: Mastering the Relationship: The Federal Agenda
April 28-May 1, 2025, in Washington, DC

The final seminar will focus on a wide range of issues impacting higher education and provide opportunities for participants to network with public and private officials in Washington, DC. Fellows will engage with members of the Illinois delegation and/or their staff on relevant issues. They will also visit with representatives from federal granting agencies to learn more about national priorities for research and scholarship. The session will include a presentation and discussion on the strategies, processes, and procedures of our Washington based staff and consultants as well as the role of university administrators in moving the university’s federal agenda.

See the list of 2023-2024 PELP Fellows.

For more information about the President's Executive Leadership Program, please contact Sarah Zehr Gantz in the Office of the Executive Vice President/Vice President for Academic Affairs.