The NLA curriculum and learning strategies draw upon traditional leadership theory and recent scholarship that investigates the roles of leaders under highly contested and complex conditions. This pedagogical approach will empower institutional and organizational leaders with the knowledge, tools, and courage needed to lead effectively on their campuses and across the system of higher education. The yearlong NLA Fellows’ experience is organized around a series of core competencies (see Figure 1).
The yearlong fellowship experience includes residential sessions and online collaborations. Residential sessions include an Orientation, four-day Mid-Year Retreat at the University of Michigan and a Concluding Retreat. Between retreats, the NLA Fellows will work in teams to address a multifaceted case study that examines a contemporary issue in higher education. The case study, managed through a series of online interactions, is enhanced with interviews, background exhibits, and proprietary information. Each team will be expected to assess a particular institutional setting informed by the activities and learning strategies provided throughout the fellowship. Both the residential sessions and the online collaborations have been tested with a range of previous participants achieving high receptivity and significant learning outcomes.
The curriculum is structured to accommodate different learning styles. Drawing on scholarship, contemporary events, and the experiences of both fellows and other leaders in higher education, the NLA seeks to stimulate change by equipping fellows with the knowledge, tools, and courage to lead within their institutions and across the higher education system. During the course of the program, fellows will engage in a range of interactive modules, which include presentations and workshops, consultations with esteemed leaders in higher education, live case study, group discussions, and individual reflections.
The NLA curriculum is organized around a number of carefully chosen heuristics. The ecological model (Figure 2) is one example. In its simplest form the model provides a representation of connections between individuals, institutions, and society. Each learning module has been designed to consider one or more aspects of this ecology, to address the required leadership skills, and to support fellows in overcoming barriers across the ecology.
Fellows should be prepared to view themselves as co-constructors of their own learning as it will be the experiences, perspectives, and insights of the participants that ultimately inform and enhance the overall experience.