Dr. Elissa Heil, associate academic dean at University of the Ozarks, has been chosen as one of 26 mid-level administrators in higher education nationwide to take part in the Senior Leadership Academy.
The year-long Senior Leadership Academy is sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the American Academic Leadership Institute. Individuals chosen for the program are mid-level administrators in higher education who aspire to senior leadership positions in independent colleges or universities.
“The need to prepare future leaders of colleges and universities has never been greater, because the generation of people now in senior leadership positions on campus is rapidly approaching retirement,” said Richard Ekman, president of CIC. “Competition for the available places in the academy was intense, and the review committee found the nomination materials to be most impressive.”
Heil, who is also a professor of English and Spanish as well as the director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) program at Ozarks, said she was excited about the opportunity to further her administrative skills and knowledge.
“Aside from the honor of having been selected out of a pool of highly qualified applicants, I’m delighted to have such a vibrant professional development opportunity,” she said. “I’ve attended a number of conferences at the Council of Independent Colleges, and their programs are excellent.”
Heil, who is leading U of O’s re-accreditation efforts with the North Central Association, said her work on the re-accreditation process may allow her to provide “some global experience to my peers in the leadership academy.”
“The re-accreditation process has enhanced my administrative experience, as I have been delegating responsibilities and authority and delving into the workings of other administrative areas such as financial management, fundraising, physical facilities, technology, and athletics, just to name a few,” Heil said. “The process consolidates the expertise and interest of all campus constituencies, and I benefit from more exposure to how to manage human resources and across-the-board assessment. Delving into all campus areas has made me keenly aware of where I have excelled and more importantly where I require greater expertise.”
Heil said she is also looking forward to the mentorship aspect of the leadership program.
“I would like to gain as much as I can from the mentorship structure of the program,” she said. “I’ll be working closely with our provost (Dr. Dan Taddie), serving as my mentor, and the director of the program, Dr. Ann Die Hasselmo, who is president of the Academic Leadership Institute and president emerita of Hendrix College. In an upper administrative world where women are still under-represented, I would value working with Dr. Hasselmo, who has personal expertise to share in navigating the gender waters.”
Activities in the program include targeted readings, specific goal setting, working with mentors, executive career coaching and participating at the academy’s conferences. The program starts this summer as Heil begins the design of an Experiential Plan, which is developed to help identify the gaps in her experience.
“As a lifelong learner, I’m particularly interested in working with experts in, for example, budgeting and planning,” she said. “My overall goal is to complete the program after having acquired more knowledge and skills to better prepare me for my diverse responsibilities on campus. A year with the Senior Leadership Academy, working on structured individual and group activities and collaborating closely with my campus mentor and the program director, will certainly achieve my goals.”
Heil, who earned her undergraduate degree at Dickinson College before earning her master’s degree and Ph.D. from New York University, has taught at Ozarks since 1992. In 2008 she was named assistant academic dean and in 2011 she was named associate academic dean.