Leadership institute for employees established

Bringing out ‘the absolute best in our community’

(Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

Washington University in St. Louis is launching an Institute for Leadership Excellence, which will provide immersive professional development opportunities for employees across the university.

The institute’s creation is a part of putting the “Here and Next” strategic plan into action, giving staff members the chance to learn new and enhanced skills as the nature of work continues to evolve.

“One measure of the greatness of a university is the degree to which it relies on a diverse and varied array of perspectives to chart its future,” said Shantay Bolton, executive vice chancellor and chief administrative officer. “The institute’s purpose is to bring out the absolute best in our employees in pursuit of our institutional mission. By creating a safe space to foster creative ideation, compounding possibilities and innovative outcomes while developing equity-minded leaders within our ranks will be the bedrock of the institute.”


Bolton, who will be the institute’s director, said the institute and its training platforms will offer ongoing professional education to increase innovation, productivity and opportunities for all staff members.

The first cohort, a Leadership Excellence Accelerated Development program, will be composed of an invited group of university leaders who help test the content offered, learn new skills and offer feedback, all while helping to adapt the content to meet WashU’s needs. Leaders will be invited to participate this month, and the program will begin March 1.

Going forward, the institute will have two signature cohorts of 30 employees each — “Emerging Leaders” and “Leadership Excellence Accelerated Development.” Selection for the nine-month programs will begin in April. As the programs roll out, additional details can be found here. Selected participants will take part in video conferences and webinars, coaching sessions, cohort meetings, practicums and community service projects.

The initiative aims to give the next generation of university leaders the skills and understanding they need to contribute to WashU at the highest levels, from technical know-how to essential skills such as emotional intelligence and relationship-building. Another goal is to identify and nurture employees with great potential and help them to build professional networks beyond their departments and units.

Complementary leadership initiatives for both students and faculty are under development as part of the university’s broader vision for cultivating leadership among our community as part of “Here and Next.”

“As one of the most respected research universities in the country, our continuing success is dependent on fostering an environment of continual learning and growing for our students as well as our staff and faculty members,” Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said. “In this way, we will build the university of the future, an academic community that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of all and the power of diverse perspectives to lead WashU to greater success.”

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