A consortium of colleges and universities has created the Next Leaders Fellowship program, a new initiative of two nonprofit professional associations designed to advance career opportunities for minorities in senior leadership IT departments in higher education.
According to a news release from Bowdoin College—the lead sponsor of the Next Leaders Fellowship program (NLF), the program will recruit BIPOC participants into a one-year program during which they will be mentored by senior leaders committed to supporting their professional growth.
Twelve professionals have been selected for the program’s inaugural cohort, and they will work with accomplished senior IT leaders across a range of institutions and organizations to enhance and develop the perspectives, skills and experiences required in higher education IT.
The program, a partnership between NERCOMP and EDUCAUSE is designed to complement existing leadership development programs by explicitly recruiting a cohort of diverse candidates and create a community around them, according to the college.
“More diverse teams working in inclusive environments are better at solving complex problems because they have access to a wider array of novel approaches, and they are more willing to consider and pursue them,” said Michael Cato, NLF director and senior vice president and chief information officer at Bowdoin College. “This is IT’s core job.”
The inaugural participants include IT managers, directors and assistant CIOs at several high-profile institutions, including University of California Berkeley, Northwestern University, California State University and others.
Held in conjunction with the 2022 NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) annual conference, the NLF’s kickoff will engage fellows, mentors, and sponsors in a series of conversations and exercises to identify areas of focus and develop plans of action for the program year, the college says.
“These are professionals who are really investing in mid-level professionals aspiring to be in senior leadership positions in information technology or academic technology,” said Jase Teoh, director of academic technology at California State University–Stanislaus and one of twelve selected for NLF’s inaugural cohort.
In her application, Teoh wrote about the importance of mentorship and expressed “the need to look for more diverse, equitable, and inclusive voices around the CIO table, particularly those in more senior positions.”
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our digital newsletters!