An immersive program to prepare tomorrow’s top academic leaders
The Western Academic Leadership Academy (Academy), launched in 2015, is a year-long professional development program for academic leaders aspiring to become chief academic officers in the WICHE region’s postsecondary four-year sector. The Academy, sponsored by the Western Academic Leadership Forum (Forum), seeks to encourage the talents of the next generation of Western provosts by helping to build the knowledge and skills of academic leaders who are poised to move to that level.
The Academy’s faculty members share their expertise on the unique roles and responsibilities a provost assumes at a four-year institution and system. They focus specifically on developing practical skills within academic affairs, fiscal affairs, student affairs, and external relationships, with a special sensitivity to the culture and environment of the West’s higher education community.
The summer seminar is followed by opportunities for cohort members to meet with a faculty mentor as well as their cohort colleagues at national meetings or electronically throughout the year for individual consultation about career paths. The Academy’s program culminates in a session at the Western Academic Leadership Forum annual meeting the following spring.
Director, Academic Leadership Initiatives
Sarah Leibrandt, Ph.D., is the director of academic leadership initiatives for Interstate Passport at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and has over 15 years of experience working in secondary and postsecondary education. Since joining WICHE in 2013, Leibrandt has led several initiatives including WICHE’s Recognizing Learning in the 21st Century, a large-scale research study and landscape analysis of the scaling of prior learning assessment policies and practices. Sarah has also helped state agencies share education and workforce data with each other through the Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange as a way to provide better information to students and their families while also improving education, workforce, and economic development policy. Prior to joining WICHE, Leibrandt worked for the Colorado Department of Education and Red Rocks Community College. Leibrandt earned a B.A. in Spanish from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Colorado Boulder.