Leadership development for Sewanee colleagues

 In 1956, the precursor of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) was established to promote better cooperation among private institutions throughout the state of Tennessee. TICUA engages Tennessee's private colleges and universities to work collaboratively in areas of public policy, cost containment, and professional development to better serve the state and its citizens. The association counts among its membership each independent, non-profit, accredited college and university in Tennessee with a traditional arts and science curriculum.

Sewanee elevates leaders among its colleagues by nominating at least two colleagues per year to participate in TICUA's leadership development programs. The TICUA Leadership Initiative is comprised of two programs: the Executive Leadership Institute and the Advancing Leaders Summit.

TICUA EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: The TICUA Executive Leadership Institute is an innovative leadership development program for senior campus officials. It is designed to strengthen campus leadership teams and prepare the next generation of leaders for college or university executive roles. ELI participants, known as Pressnell Fellows, are selected by their institution’s president to participate and learn from national, regional, and state educators for the nine-month program.

TICUA ADVANCING LEADERS: Designed for aspiring campus officials seeking to advance to a more senior role within their institution, the TICUA Advancing Leaders is a two-day intensive summer workshop that helps advancing leaders to evaluate their own skills, gifts, and calling against the primary leadership skills needs in today’s private higher education environment. Each TICUA institution president annually selects two advancing leaders to participate.  

If you are a Sewanee colleague (faculty and staff) and are interested in being nominated to participate in these programs, please contact Nicky Hamilton,  Betsy Sandlin, or Elizabeth Wilson.


 By Betsy Sandlin, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Faculty Development, Office of the Dean of the College

 "I was devastated to see a positive COVID test the day I was scheduled to travel to Nashville to graduate with my cohort of Presnell Fellows in the 2021-2022 Executive Leadership Institute organized by the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA). While I entered the ELI skeptical, I left with new colleagues, a better understanding of the challenges of higher education administration, and a much richer appreciation for the diversity of private colleges and universities across the state of Tennessee.

 ELI is a nine-month leadership development program designed to cover major topics and areas in higher education administration through readings and guest speaker presentations: governance, strategic planning, financial management, academics and faculty relations, student development, advancement, public relations, communications, enrollment management, and student success. A bonus was that each session was held at a different campus: Belmont, Trevecca Nazarene, Tusculum, Christian Brothers, Lincoln Memorial-Knoxville, Lee University, LeMoyne Owen College, and Welch College.

 Some of the host institutions were in the middle of leadership transitions, while others had long-time presidents and leadership teams. Many are wading through crises of various shapes and sizes, from the financial to the philosophical. All are attempting to reinvent themselves while holding firm to what they feel makes them unique. It was important for me to discover that many of the challenges we are facing at Sewanee are being faced elsewhere, with varying degrees of success and innovation. I was reminded that it is important to discover (and remember), in work and in life, that one is not alone.

 One highlight of the program was conversing with the current president of each host institution. Hearing the diverse array of experiences that led each individual to the presidency, and having the permission to ask frank questions about their challenges (under "Vegas rules"), was always one of the liveliest parts of each two-day workshop.

 While I learned a lot about and gained new appreciation for areas in which I don't normally work (e.g., advancement), what I valued most from my ELI experience was building new relationships and connections with higher ed professionals from private colleges across the state. I now have colleagues beyond Sewanee whom I can call for advice or support, especially when I need an outside perspective.

 I am grateful to former VC John McCardell for the nomination and for Dean Terry Papillon's support of me attending, even though it took me away from campus for a few days each month. I look forward to building on lessons learned and relationships formed as I continue my own leadership journey."