Western Academic Leadership Forum logoWestern Academic Leadership Forum

Sharing ideas, best practices, and fresh perspectives

The Western Academic Leadership Forum (Forum) is a membership organization that serves as a collaborative network to exchange ideas and information, share resources and expertise among provosts, academic vice presidents, chief executives, and chief academic officers at WICHE-region public and private doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s level institutions and related systems offices and state agencies.

What makes an institution’s message resonate with diverse stakeholders, ranging from legislators to donors to communities to students? How can universities better support wellness on their campuses? What features do diverse learning communities have in common, and how can academic leaders help incubate them?

These are just some of countless issues of distinct concern to provosts, but common to peer, four-year institutions across the Western United States. Together, Forum network participants seek solutions to these and other issues that are beyond the scope of a single institution or state on behalf of members. 

Forum activities include:

  • Initiatives, such as Interstate Passport and the Western Academic Leadership Academy, that address issues affecting higher education in critical niches
  • Ongoing webinar series that address ongoing concerns and opportunities for Chief Academic Officers in the West
  • The Academic Leaders Toolkit, a peer-reviewed repository for programs, initiatives, and best practices
  • An annual face-to-face meeting, a primary Western U.S. convening ground for senior academic leaders in this niche
  • Regular dialogue and problem-solving on innovations and best practices through Listservs and other means 

A key facet of the Forum is that its activities and priorities are selected and shaped by the senior academic leaders who drive the conversation at colleges and universities throughout the West. This peer-driven, collaborative approach ensures relevance and timeliness, and adds intangible value to every interaction.

The Forum’s roots extend back more than 30 years, to the 1984 establishment of the Northwest Academic Forum with 11 member states–expanded in 2008 to its current form encompassing WICHE’s 16 member states and territories.

“The Forum has been a wonderful opportunity for me to meet my colleagues at University across the Western States. The intentional design and size of the meeting allows for participants to learn from each other and develop lasting collaborative relationships.”


2023-24 CHAIR