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Leadership Academy BadgeNYS Community College Leadership Academy Overview

The NYS Community College Leadership Academy Fellows Program is a tailored program for community college leaders interested in advancing within their college and the field. This program is designed to provide mid-level community college leaders with a solid foundational understanding of critical student success and change management concepts. The curriculum based on the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence program covers essential roles of leadership in student success, keeping students’ end goals in mind, the student experience, leadership traits that drive change, managing and advancing institutional change, and effective external partnerships and the leadership journey.


“The leadership academy was a truly enriching experience. It not only enhanced my leadership skills but also provided me with the opportunity to interact with peers from all over the state.” – Cohort 1 Fellow


The content for this program draws heavily on the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program curriculum, as well as the National Center for Inquiry & Improvement (NCII) and the Ohio Association of Community Colleges’ Success Center, is aligned with the strategic priorities of NYS’s community colleges. The curriculum is organized into several modules that are grouped into sessions by topic area. The curriculum covers essential roles of leadership in student success, keeping students’ end goals in mind, the student experience, leadership traits that drive change, managing and advancing institutional change, and effective external partnerships and the leadership journey.

“The Leadership Academy is a tremendous opportunity for community college leaders to self-reflect, network, learn from higher education experts, engage with colleagues, and develop and refine leadership skills to maintain and/or achieve their highest desired position(s) in leadership. Highly recommended.” – Cohort 1 Fellow

Applicant Criteria

Fellows will be selected based on an application (we anticipate the application for Cohort 3 to be posted in January), CV, statement of interest, and a letter of support from the college senior leader (President or Vice President) who will also serve as the champion mentor for the Fellow.

Applicants should be mid-level leaders below the vice president level such as Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Assistant/Associate Vice Presidents/Deans, etc. with a minimum of three years of employment in higher education and demonstrate leadership and administrative experience. Faculty are also welcome but will need to be able to attend the in person sessions.

Selected Fellows are middle level leaders who:

  • Are forward-looking leaders with a strong commitment to the success of students and the improvement of the college community.
  • Are from diverse backgrounds particularly race/ethnicity and gender.
  • Represent different functional areas of the institution. We recommend that colleges balance the nominations with individuals from academic affairs, administrative, and/or student service roles.
  • Are available to attend and participate in all Leadership Academy activities.

Fellow Expectations

Leadership Academy Fellows are expected to:

  • Sign a statement of intent that includes the expectations for the program.
  • Complete all pre-work and readings prior to all sessions.
  • Attend and actively participate in all Leadership Academy sessions/activities, including scheduled orientations, small group meetings, and preview webinars before each session.
  • Apply lessons learned through the formal Leadership Academy project and informally through day-to-day actions at their home college.
  • Regularly connect with their home college’s Leadership Academy Champion in between sessions of the program.
  • Complete program elements and receive a certificate of completion and a Credly badge for participating.
  • Serve as mentors and contributors for future SUNY Leadership Academy cohorts.

How much time will the Leadership Academy require?

The participants will gather six times over a year period. These gatherings will require no more than 2.5 days (including travel time) or be held virtually. In addition to the in-person sessions, participants will be asked to attend two virtual orientation sessions, complete pre, mid, and post-surveys and will be asked to review materials, readings, and watch videos between sessions. The participants will also meet virtually in small teams on a project throughout the course of the Leadership Academy. There will be time for teams to advance their work at the in-person sessions but work outside these sessions will also be required.


The Leadership Academy has two virtual introductory sessions, six in-person/virtual program sessions, and additional virtual sessions. The in-person sessions will be held either on a campus or at the SUNY System Office. Virtual sessions will be hosted on Zoom and discussion posts and materials will be available using the SUNY DLE Brightspace.

Program Fee

The program fee for Leadership Academy Cohort 3 will be included on the application posted in January. It is expected that the applicant’s college will cover the program fee and travel costs associated with participation. The college senior leader who provides a letter of support will also be expected to serve as the Fellow’s champion mentor during the program.

“My experience as a Fellow in the Leadership Academy has been wonderful!  I learned so much from the other Fellows as we shared stories, strategies, and ideas.  The advice, guidance, and instruction from presidents and other presenters who represent years and years of experience has also been invaluable!” – Cohort 1 Fellow

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