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Women In Leadership Initiative Launches Cohort Experience
Syracuse University’s Women in Leadership Initiative (WiL) seeks to make the University a pacesetter among higher education institutions for cultivating women leaders. The initiative’s newest offering, a cohort experience, advances that objective by creating an even more personalized, intensive professional development opportunity that will:
- Foster greater self-discovery in work/life exploration, identify and enhance personal and professional leadership strengths, heighten overall emotional intelligence.
- Expand upon and improve skills in areas of personal branding, public presentations, management, negotiation, collaboration and conflict resolution.
- Gain greater knowledge of University governance, academic leadership and the overall educational enterprise.
- Explore career options in higher education and academic leadership in a post-pandemic world.
- Connect you to an extended network of referrals and contacts of women leaders within and beyond academic settings.
- Attain new success—on or off campus.
The cohort experience will begin in the Fall 2022 semester and continue through the Spring 2023 semester. Those interested are encouraged to apply for one of 20 class seats by securing nominations from colleagues or by self-nomination. Nominations will be accepted from March 21 to April 15. Selected participants will be notified by May 9.
Successful cohort experiences typically combine group experiential learning or hands-on assignments, executive and peer coaching, personal skill development, self-assessments that promote greater emotional intelligence and networking for professional and personal growth.
“We’ve constructed the cohort with the intent to make sure all of our participants grow and benefit from their involvement,” explains Candace Campbell Jackson, senior vice president and chief of staff to the Chancellor, and one of four WiL steering committee members dedicated to designing and implementing the cohort. “An emerging body of research indicates that cohorts may prove particularly effective for women, who tend to place greater value on collaborative skills. We think it key to blend self-reflection with small group learning in a highly supportive and interactive environment.”
The cohort will include emerging leaders from faculty and staff. Forward-thinking leadership development experts contend that the best programming purposefully and creatively builds a culture of high accountability and contributes to the collective capacity for “intersystem” (not just inter-disciplinary) relationships—relationships essential to thoughtful university governance.
“Deliberately and thoughtfully including leaders from different areas of the entire institution peels back the curtain and deepens understanding about all aspects of the University’s enterprise,” notes Jamie Winders, associate provost for faculty affairs and a co-designer. “The more faculty and staff understand about other colleges and overall operations, the better each can interact, collaborate and lead within Syracuse University and beyond. In addition, the networks ignited and reinforced by diverse cohorts ensure that our alumni continue their relationships in the years ahead, to their personal and institutional benefit.”
An extended opportunity for self-reflection and personal reassessment may prove especially timely, as many reexamined professional and personal goals and expectations during the pandemic.
“We intend to emphasize personal growth and a deeper understanding of who we are and how we communicate,” says Dara Royer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer and the third co-designer. “These exercises will prepare participants to unleash their full potential in their current or future roles. The focus is ensuring that participants are better positioned to achieve their own definition of success.”
Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives Marcelle Haddix also recently joined the initiative. “I encourage the entire University community to support those who ultimately join the cohort, “she adds. “Women often assume additional responsibilities or enroll in professional development and find themselves alone when attempting to juggle priorities. Let’s make an institutional commitment that we will collectively do what we can so cohort participants fully benefit from the experience.”
Criteria for selecting participants will include such factors as diversity, job and responsibility focus, years of experience, expertise, interest and desire for self-development and a commitment to complete the cohort process and advance personally and professionally.
Each application should have gained at least seven years of professional experience and have served for at least three years in a leadership role (this could be through research, teaching or service for faculty or through a supervisory or committee leadership role for staff). For those wondering whether this program is a good fit, staff members may contact Dara Royer or Candace Campbell Jackson, and faculty members may contact Marcelle Haddix. For questions about the nomination form itself, contact Mallory Mitchell. To learn more about the Women in Leadership Initiative, visit the WiL webpage or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.