Provost Leadership Academy

Provost Leadership Academy StudentsThe “Provost’s Leadership Academy” seeks to build leaders-in-place who reflect on deep questions of the meaning and purpose of their work and leadership, their capacity to make a difference in the lives of others, and the connections between the “inner and outer landscapes” of their personal and professional lives.  They consider skills and qualities of adaptive leadership (and similar leadership models); their unique giftedness to be of service in the world; the overall shape of a well-integrated life that balances work, family, and civic engagement; and self-identified challenges and opportunities they wish to address related to their particular contexts at the University.  The catalytic combination of vocational reflection (where “vocation” means life-calling, one’s sense of identity and contribution, meaning and purpose) and leadership development strengthens participants’ ability to lead “from within” in service to the University’s mission on behalf of the public good. 

The project is guided by experienced educator and facilitator Dr. Chris Johnson ( utilizing principles and practices of the Circles of Trust® developed by Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal.  In large-group, small-group, and solitary settings, participants explore the intersection of their personal and professional lives, with insights from the work of poets, scholars, artists, naturalists, musicians, filmmakers, scientists, and various wisdom traditions.  Clearness Committees, peer action-learning circles, and other high-integrity and strictly confidential processes of discernment and mutual accountability are a key component.  On an annual basis, the Provost puts out a call to all full-time faculty, staff, and administrators to apply for the academy.

Academy Goals

  1. To strengthen education for the public good at UNI by supporting emerging leaders across multiple disciplines, departments, and divisions of the University.

  2. To foster innovative service, teaching, advising, mentoring, and scholarship around issues of vocation, leadership, and the public/civic purposes of higher education.

  3. To encourage interdisciplinary approaches to addressing societal needs and cultivating lives of commitment and contribution in a complex world.

  4. To support members of the UNI staff, faculty, and administration in their own vocational development and professional growth, and in connecting their vocational commitments to their work.

  5. To provide opportunity to study and reflect intensively over an extended period of time with a small cohort of colleagues, and to encourage wider communities of discussion, innovation, and practice across the University.

Academy Cohorts

Cohort 1 - 2016-2017

Cohort 2 - 2017-2018

Cohort 3 - 2018-2019

Leadership Academy II, 2019-2020