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Arizona State University is a massive engine that runs at warp speed, and a new initiative is inviting a group of campus leaders to look under the hood so they can keep it going decades into the future.
The Advanced Leadership Initiative is a six-month immersive experience to cultivate a new pool of leaders to keep ASU on a trajectory of innovation and achievement.
“What we’re trying to do is really embed them in the ASU context,” said Minu Ipe, Senior Knowledge Enterprise Architect and senior fellow for leadership and institutional design, and one of the heads of the new program.
“We want them to understand what the whole of ASU is about and really think about the question of what does it mean to lead ASU into the future and how can we engage the whole institution?”
The team will focus on five leadership competencies:
Bryan Brayboy is in the pilot cohort. Brayboy, Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice in the School of Social Transformation, said it’s nice to be able to take a step back from the sometimes overwhelming day-to-day responsibilities.
“In some ways, we’re all hanging on for dear life with the rate at which this place moves,” he said. “We’re all part of engineering that, but we don’t always get a chance to see how the engine works. This gives us a chance to see how the moving parts work together.”
The nine faculty and staff members in the first cohort of ALI Fellows come from across the university and have already attended the first of three intensive retreats. At the workshops, they met with ASU leaders who have already succeeded at large-scale projects, including Wellington “Duke” Reiter, who developed the Downtown Phoenix campus, and Phil Regier, who launched ASU Online at EdPlus.
“As it turns out, it’s not an accident that ASU continues to do so many things well,” said Brayboy, who is special adviser to the president on American Indian Affairs and director of the Center for Indian Education.
“There’s a brilliance to how this is working, and I had a chance to see some of that.”
Besides the retreats, the fellows will have several hours with an executive coach, who will help them assess a 360-degree review, in which supervisors, peers and subordinates give feedback.
Program manager Chelsea Chamberlain said that after this session, the cohort will provide feedback and then work with the next group.
“As much as they are participants, they are collaborators as well,” she said.
Cynthia Lietz, senior associate dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, said that the camaraderie among the group is meaningful as they share fears and dreams.
“There’s so much work to be done to make the world a better place, and at ASU there’s so much going on that you could feel like how could I, as one person, make a difference?
“But this program has done a great job of highlighting people who have done big things and made a difference and shown that it’s not ever just one person. It’s the ability to coalesce a group of people around an idea and execute it,” said Lietz, a professor in the School of Social Work. “The sense that you’re in it alone is debunked through this process.”
Besides Brayboy and Lietz, the other fellows in the Advanced Leadership Initiative are:
ASU President Michael Crow recognized the need to sustainably cultivate a pool of leaders who can advance innovation at ASU, and at his request, the Advanced Leadership Initiative was created, designed and executed by Ipe and May Busch, executive in residence in the Office of the President and senior adviser to the president, along with Chamberlain and Maggie Dellow, program coordinator, both in the Office of University Affairs.
For more information, visit advancedleadershipinitiative.asu.edu.