Clark Atlanta University’s (CAU) Executive Leadership Institute and higher education stakeholders announced Tuesday that its accepting applications for the 2023 Community of Fellows for the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at CAU. Since its launch in 2021, HBCU ELI has seen an increase in the number of applications, including candidates from a variety of industries ranging from education and finance to marketing and law. The growth signifies the relevancy of ELI’s curriculum amid the pandemic and included the most diverse executive leadership cohort in history.

The Executive Leadership Institute is a 12-month leadership development program at Clark Atlanta University. Through interactive learning sessions with ELI faculty and discussion with education practitioners, each will build networks and develop management and leadership skills for immediate application, with the goal of advancing equity in educational outcomes for all students.

Since 2021, more than one hundred and fifty candidates applied to join the prestigious group. Over 90% of whom have an existing HBCU affiliation as alums and or administrators. Each year, ELI selects 20-30 qualified candidates.

The groundbreaking initiative continues to serve as an incubator for recruiting and developing the future presidents of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The first program of its kind, ELI is preserving and strengthening HBCUs as a hub for education, opportunity and uplift in the Black community. The effort is supported by multiple donors, including the Chan Zuckerberg Institute, ECMC, and the Rich Foundation, Bank of America, UMC, among others.

Since 2021, some of the following ELI fellows have accepted promotions/appointments:

Dr. Rochelle Ford appointed President of Dillard University. Former Dean, School of Communications at Elon University

Dr. Josiah Sampson, promoted to Vice President for Enrollment Management at Jackson State University

Dr. Keith Hargrove appointed Provost & Sr. VP for Academic Affairs, Tuskegee University. Former Dean, College of Engineer, Tennessee State University.

Dr. Kara Brown appointed Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at University of Arkansas (UA) Little Rock. Former Dean of Student Life/Dean of Student Activities, UA Pine Bluff.

Dr. Letizia Gambrell-Boone appointed Vice President for Student Affairs. Former Director, Research Initiative and Public Hearings.

Dr. Zakiya Brown promoted to Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Lincoln University of Missouri. Former CSAO/Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator and Chief Diversity Officer.

Dr. Braque Talley promoted by Alabama A&M University (AAMU) named as its next Vice-President for Student Affairs. Former Vice Chancellor, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Dr. Michael J. Self, Sr. selected as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Lincoln University of Missouri. Former Assistant Provost and Dean, Metropolitan State University
ELI’s robust curriculum equips fellows with the tools and insights to effectively lead an HBCU. This includes operations, budgeting, alumni relations, fundraising and development, as well as board governance and human resource management. The new 2023 cohort will participate in both virtual and in-person classes to help better equip them to fill vacant HBCU presidencies and other executive leadership positions.

“HBCUs are critical to our macroeconomy as cognitive diversity is key to global innovation” said Dr. George T. French Jr., President of Clark Atlanta University. “Through the ELI at CAU, we’ve established a reputation as a premier pipeline for the next generation of higher education leaders who take a thoughtful, modern approach to education innovation.”

The Executive Leadership Program leverages the expertise of outstanding practitioners, including members of the HBCU ELI Advisory Board and the Council of HBCU Past Presidents, each of whom partners with ELI faculty (current and past presidents) to bring their leadership experience into the program.

According to UNCF (7/2022), HBCUs account for just 3% of US higher education institutions yet educate 10% of all Black college students.; graduate 80% of Black judges, 50% of Black doctors, and 50% of Black lawyers in the US; and award 24% of all bachelor’s degrees received by African Americans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“The first community of fellows learned and connected in a manner that is unprecedented for executive programs, largely in part to the work of our amazing leadership team,” said Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Executive Director of the HBCU ELI at CAU and former President of Bennett College. “This unique curriculum was designed specifically for HBCUs, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of our labor. HBCUs matter today — now more than ever.”

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