Why the Foundation Academy?

The Academy was founded on the idea of preparing leaders to succeed in their new leadership roles.

About the Foundation Academy

With the current trends and increasing complexities throughout higher education, emerging leaders are looking for ways to prepare themselves for their multidimensional roles and responsibilities. The Foundation Academy is a training program specifically designed for new leaders, incorporating theoretical leadership competencies with best practices in post-secondary education. The program supports a learner-centered and thought-provoking approach to transformational leadership and fosters an inclusive environment for leaders to  build confidence, value talents, think strategically, and embrace change. Academy facilitators integrate a balance of research, knowledge, discussion, and investigation to promote engagement and build community. Each program session provides a forum for open conversation, diverse perspectives, reflective thinking, and situational applications to inspire curiosity, insight, and innovation. Program participants discover the exemplary leadership practices that mobilize leaders to move beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary and develop a plan to align themselves to the behaviors associated with these foundational practices.  Participants implement and review individual practicum projects to measure effectiveness and promote leading with authenticity and intent.

Who Should Attend the Foundation Academy

The Foundation Academy is intended for emerging-to-mid level leaders in higher education, with a focus on building transformational leadership capacity and developing a growth mindset. The Academy challenges participants to clarify purpose, leverage talent, think strategically, extend trust, develop teams, and build inclusive cultures. Learning and progression extends prior knowledge and skill sets and provides specialized training for those who may be new to leading others and influencing processes, structures, and methodologies.

Features and Design

Foundation Academy sessions integrate leadership competencies and professional experiences with practical application for participant engagement. Each program includes two, five-day sessions scheduled a year apart. Participants reflect on assessment feedback and session topics to create their personal alignment and individualized development objectives. They identify specific goals and activities related to their role and responsibilities with aligned methods for assessing and documenting progress. The goal of the practicum project is to build a timeline for putting learning into action by incorporating program strategies, resources, and feedback for engagement and improvement. Participants work through their development plans with the support of their facilitator coach and self-selected mentor.

The Academy schedules follow-up meetings throughout the year to reconnect the cohort, and participants submit reflective reports to document growth and progression. With completion of the Foundation Academy, participants are recognized with the Academy’s certificate and program pin to celebrate their development as transformational leaders and their accomplishment of program competencies.

Program Outcomes

• Apply theoretical knowledge, practical experience, defined contributions, and collective stories and case studies to accelerate discoveries of self and build confidence in leadership capacity.

• Implement the Five Exemplary Leadership Practices, creating conditions that model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart.

• Live and lead with authenticity and credibility by establishing clarity of values, strengths, and style, and leveraging talents and capabilities to create a climate of innovation, engagement, and productivity.

• Explore inclusive cultures, intentionally focused on valuing and integrating perspectives of diverse identities, cultures, styles, and groups in the team's work and throughout the organization.

• Embrace change and the strategic challenges associated with adapting to the needs of people, situations, innovations, and uncertainties that influence processes, structures, and methodologies.

• Engage in case studies to examine variations of higher education management processes and administrative functions, with opportunities to practice communication strategies, promote effective relationships, align vision to reality, and support the strategic objectives of the team and institution.  

Foundation Academy Program Elements

The Foundation Academy is comprised of two, 5-day residential sessions, scheduled a year apart and referred to as Program Session 1 and Session 2.  An independent practicum plan follows and progresses through the Academy year. Participants are guided and supported by their Academy facilitators, self-selected mentors, and Academy liaison.

The Practicum includes:
Practicum Project

Participants develop and execute an individual professional development plan that integrates leadership practices, behaviors, and competencies. Objectives specific to the leader’s role and responsibilities are identified, with relevant and practical strategies and activities implemented to influence leadership effectiveness. Measurable outcomes are revealed to illustrate progress, accomplishment, and challenge during this development process. The goal of the practicum plan is to put learning into action and create ongoing opportunities for discovery and growth.

Assessments, Documents, and Reports
The program includes a series of assessments, documents, and reports to help participants identify their strengths, goals, and opportunities for improvement. Feedback from colleagues, peers, and program participants support the learning process.

Mentoring and Coaching
Participants self-select an internal and/or external mentor who will provide support, guidance, and feedback during the practicum year. The Academy provides a mentor guidebook for review and reflection. Academy facilitators serve as coaches during the Academy year. Coaching conversations and check-ins are scheduled to meet to the needs of participants.

Reflective Practice and Journaling 
During the practicum experience, participants are encouraged to actively reflect on their leadership journey. Reflective practice establishes a benchmark and provides insight into what is learned from experiences, achievements, and failures. The information gained helps leaders focus on and plan for what they will do moving forward.

Engagement and Resources 
Participants are encouraged to remain engaged with the Academy’s leadership community and social media platforms. A virtual, midyear meeting will be scheduled by the program’s facilitators to reconnect the cohort, support progress, and prepare for reflection reports and coaching conversations. The Academy provides ongoing learning and support through their blog, whataboutleadership.

Academy Certificate of Completion 
Participants who complete all program requirements are presented with a framed “Certificate of Completion” and Foundation Academy pin. This recognition celebrates intentional and successful attainment of the Foundation Program curriculum, practicum, and competencies.

Academy Costs

The Foundation Academy’s in-person program is $4,000 (USD), split into two annual payments of $2,000 (USD). Participants are required to pay each $2,000 (USD) fee when they register for  their program sessions. All fees are inclusive of program materials, assessments, and specified food package.
Refer to each Academy Program registration page for all fee information.

Note: Program fees are subject to change based on location.
Additional fees for travel, lodging, and food are the responsibility of each participant.

The Foundation Academy’s virtual program is $2,800 (USD). Participants are required to pay in full when registering for their program. All fees are inclusive of program materials and assessments.
Refer to each Academy Program registration page for all fee information.

Topics and Competencies

Session 1:
  1. Becoming a Transformational Leader
  2. The Organizational Leader
  3. Strengths Development
  4. Leadership is Everyone’s Business, Part 1
  5. Workplace Behavior Style
  6. The Strategic Mindset
  7. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
  8. Leading Teams
  9. Effective Communication
  10. Program Practicum and Close 

Session 2:

  1. Resilient Leadership
  2. Leadership is Everyone’s Business, Part 2
  3. Strengths-Based Leadership and Engagement
  4. Work of Leaders
  5. High-Trust Leaders
  6. Inclusive Leadership
  7. The Change Leader
  8. Strategic Approach to Change Management
  9. Dimensions of Change Management
  10. Program Completion and Celebration


Program Competencies

The Foundation Academy is aligned with the Competencies for Community College Leaders developed by the American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

  1. Be a competent, thoughtful, and introspective leader who values the talents and strengths of self and others.
  2. Clarify values through a personal and professional mission statement.
  3. Manage the multiple roles and responsibilities of post-secondary leadership.
  4. Appreciate, respect, value, and work effectively with others by understanding behavioral styles.
  5. Value and maximize strengths for engagement and performance excellence.
  6. Engage in reflective practice and journaling.
  7. Be a compassionate and conscientious communicator capable of building and sustaining for individual and organizational success.
  8. Use effective and principle-centered communication.
  9. Be inclusive by appreciating, respecting, and valuing diversity.
  10. Build and maintain effective relationships and work teams.
  11. Manage individual and team performance by appropriate delegation.
  12. Integrate recognition and celebration into the culture of teams and the organization.
  13. Be a thoughtful and diligent manager of talent who develops, coaches, and mentors others or individual, team, and organizational success.
  14. Differentiate and develop talent and skill in roles and responsibilities as a leader and manager.
  15. Develop and effectively lead high-performance teams and work groups.
  16. Effectively mentor, coach, and develop talent.
  17. Resolve and manage conflict productively.
  18. Understand and utilize clear and effective practices for hiring for excellence.
  19. Orient and retain employees and staff through effective management.
  20. Develop employees and staff through succession planning and professional development opportunities.
  21. Develop inclusive strategic plans for effectively managing and leading part-time staff.
  22. Be a studied, strategic, forward-thinking, and innovative leader who creates success through excellence in transformational leadership.
  23. Investigate and employ contemporary research and theory into organizational excellence and best practices in management and leadership.
  24. Develop and implement planning processes for strategic planning, scenario thinking, and disciplined decision making.
  25. Dissect processes and strategies for successfully implementing and managing change.
  26.  Explore and develop specific constructs and behaviors of transformational leadership.