To the uninitiated, a large university may appear to be an armored citadel: a towered, windowless fortress protecting the secrets of how things work, sheltered behind a deep moat of regulations and rules. Only a select few are admitted to the inner sanctum, those who have been around long enough to have learned how to charm the guards, to navigate the moat, and to unravel the secrets.

This perception often persists without justification, damaging relations between faculty and administration. The Faculty Leadership Institute is breaking down those perceived walls at the University of Colorado Boulder, and building a sense of community, collaboration, and connectedness in its place. With the Faculty Leadership Institute, CU-Boulder is working to develop the next generation of faculty campus leaders by introducing them to a segment of the individuals charged with the responsibility of running the university and the issues associated with their offices.

Each year, a group of peer-nominated faculty is chosen to make up the new leadership class.  The group meets regularly with senior members of the University administration, including the Chancellor, the Provost, Vice- Chancellors, and Deans. During these meetings, each administrator explains what his or her department does, how it functions, what impact that department has upon the activities of the University as a whole, and how that department’s actions affect the daily work of the faculty. For the participants, these sessions provide a unique opportunity to engage in an open conversation with these individuals on topics that are of concern to the faculty.

Formal meetings of the leadership cohort take place once per month, with informal get-togethers occurring more frequently to encourage and build upon the relationships between participants.

Commenced in the 2013-2014 academic year with 16 participants, the Faculty Leadership Institute continues to provide faculty with a unique introduction to the university as well as building a bridge between faculty and administration.

Faculty members interested in either nominating a faculty member to participate in the Leadership Institute or are interested in participating personally should send a short paragraph describing their interest to Paul Chinowsky, AVP for Student Success, at Preference is given to Associate Professors and Senior Instructors, although all ranks are welcome to apply.