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1st Cohort

Leadership Cohort I
A small cohort (6) of interested STEM women faculty and/or mid- level administrators was identified and invited to participate in a leadership development initiative requiring biweekly participation in group activities (described below). The group was intentionally heterogeneous in terms of discipline and was drawn from women who showed an interest in leadership (a vice provost, dean, senior associate dean, assistant vice president, associate dean and department chair). Activities were created to allow significant input from the cohort participants to shape the experience and make it relevant and interesting to the cohort. The cohort was able to identify leaders with whom they wanted to meet and topics they wanted to discuss (thus providing ‘ownership’ of the activities). Notes were recorded throughout the project and several participants kept journals. The experience was evaluated by individual interviews at the end of the program.

Activities of the group included:

  • Biweekly meetings as a cohort to define goals, discuss literature, debrief on meetings with other leaders and consider strategies for advancement.
  • Work with a career coach with individual identification of career aspirations and planning for intentional career advancement. * Meetings with senior administrators to explore challenges, benefits and rewards of leadership.
  • Literature review on leadership, specifically leadership for women.
  • Evaluation of CV’s with feedback provided by a higher education professional search consultant.
  • Meetings with women presidents from various types of universities (met with Janet Holmgren from Mills College, Catherine Gira from Frostburg University and Shirley Tilghman from Princeton University) with visits planned to four additional University of Maryland System campuses in the summer of 2007.
  • Participation in two leadership retreats, one at the beginning of the project and a second at the end to plan, chronicle and reflect on the experience and provide feedback to the ADVANCE Program.

Although this was intended as a short-term pilot program, Leadership Cohort I has continued to work together to the present with regular meetings and activities. Their goal has been to continue to explore different models of leadership for women and to move toward achieving their own career goals.