Program Background - UO Leadership Academy

Leadership academy session hosted in the EMU.

During the 2015/16 academic year, following several senior leadership hires, the president and provost questioned the lack of applications coming from University of Oregon women and faculty of color. In response Senior Vice Provost Susan Anderson and Vice Provost for Portland Jane Gordon assembled a group of campus leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges the diverse group had encountered.

There were approximately five meetings across the 2016/17 academic year which were well attended by campus leaders including tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty and officers of administration. After many good discussions, the group decided to focus on mentorship and leadership training. Dean of the Lundquist College of Business, Sarah Nutter, presented the Legacy Leadership program that she participated in at George Mason University. The group loved the idea and that it was a year-long cohort program. Newly hired Dean of the Law School Marcilyn Burke later shared her similar experiences in the year-long Houston’s Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy.

A small diverse team volunteered to move the proposal forward, and found Provost Banavar and Vice President Alex-Assensoh to be strong supporters of the proposal. The UO Leadership Academy was born.


The UO Leadership Academy intends to frame leadership as the productive use of agency, influence, and relationships to enact positive change. The core assumptions offered below capture the spirit of how we’re hoping to frame leadership:

  • Leadership does not simply exist at the top—it is not automatically about authority, power, or hierarchy. In fact, leadership is often found in those working and serving outside/beyond formal positions or designations. Effective leaders emerge at all levels of an organization, and recognize the need to collaborate with others to achieve any sustainable action.
  • Leadership is not innate or reserved for certain people—it can be studied, learned, and developed by anyone in a department or organization. Leadership applies to anyone invested in serving others: serving the team, an organization, or the broader community.
  • The focus of an effective leader is on the growth and well-being of the people and groups to which they belong.
  • Leadership also emerges out of a collective’s service to others—do those served grow as people; do they become healthier, wiser, more autonomous, and more likely to become active citizens themselves?

Goals and Measures of Success

The following include measurement of both the short- and long-term goals for the program. The short-term goals will be assessed each year, while the long-term goals will be assessed after five cohorts have completed the Leadership Academy.

Short-term Goals

Name and identify leadership styles and identities; provide language and a common understanding of what it means to be a leader in higher education at the University of Oregon; create a list of desired competencies as guides for searches and for the professional development of our faculty and staff.

Talented faculty and officers of administration with a variety of leadership styles and identities will be perceived, and perceive themselves, as strong applicants for available leadership positions.

Measurement of short-term goal achievement: A pre-post Leadership Academy participant survey will be employed to assess changes in the participant’s ability to describe leadership styles and identities, and describe competencies for leadership excellence, as well as the participant’s confidence and readiness to apply for an available leadership position. 

Long-Term Goal

Applications for UO leadership positions will include an increase in the diversity of identities including an increased number of applications from University of Oregon people of color, women, and underrepresented groups.

Measurement of long-term goal achievement: Program alumni will be queried annually regarding their application for leadership positions both within and beyond the UO, their placement in influential service positions at the university level (Senate Executive, chair of important search committees, membership on Faculty Advisory Council, etc). In addition, we will work with affirmative action to track the number of people of color and women who apply to UO leadership positions each year.