WICHE Institute for Leaders in the Humanities

Leadership program for senior humanities faculty members who want to explore higher education administration.

Cohort 2 offer letters are on their way! An official announcement will be made May 20th!

About the Program

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are pleased to provide this Request for Proposals for the 2023 WICHE Institute for Leaders in the Humanities developing a leadership development program for aspiring academic leaders with a background in the humanities. This leadership development program would allow institutions in the WICHE region to grow their own leadership and diversify their academic administration by preparing their humanities faculty to effectively and confidently take on and succeed in leadership roles.

The WICHE Institute for Leaders in the Humanities refers to an in-person intensive workshop conducted by WICHE and the WICHE Academy for Leaders in the Humanities encompasses all work produced by the selected cohorts as a part of their participation in this program. You may see both terms used for this program.


Senior Humanities faculty members who want to explore higher education administration from any non-profit public or private WICHE-region institution, located in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States (i.e., the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands).

Humanities majors include English, History, Communication, Languages, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Gender and Cultural Studies, Art, Music, and Theatre.

Number of Awards

Eight institutions, with participants selected from both two- and four-year institutions, will be selected. Institutions must demonstrate that the fellows’ applicant pool will consist of tenured faculty members who have demonstrated leadership capability (whether through prior academic-administrative service or in other contexts within or beyond academia), reflect diverse communities and experiences, and show potential to have a transformative impact at their current institution or in a future leadership role.

Program Elements

The project will be centered on amplifying the work and initiatives of Humanities programming or leadership, with a focus on three key competencies: career planning and development, project management, and organizational design and agility. Faculty members selected will enter a 2-year administrative fellowship program which will consist of campus-based and external mentoring and professional development for fellows selected from institutions in the WICHE region.

Below are the outlined requirements for both the institutional mentor and faculty fellow.

Mentor will:

  • Work as an on-campus mentor to support the fellow’s institutional and organizational expertise and to support the on-going project plan.
    • Mentors will attend a 2-day, WICHE-sponsored in-person retreat at WICHE’s headquarters in Boulder, CO, in August to discuss their role and support of the fellows for the grant term
  • Attend quarterly virtual community of practice meetings with other mentor participants
  • Provide annual progress report on the leadership development progress of the fellow

Fellows will:

  • Attend a 3-day, WICHE-sponsored in-person retreat at WICHE’s headquarters in Boulder, CO, in September to begin the process of building the leadership skills and operational expertise of academic leadership.
  • Assume a carefully defined administrative role at their institution, reporting to a senior leader in academic affairs such as a dean, provost, or vice provost.
  • Complete an extended project that advances an important institutional priority and provides an opportunity for the fellow to practice the skills they are learning.
  • Have two mentors: an institutional mentor who will serve as their supervisor and the primary liaison between the institution and WICHE and an external mentor, or advisor.


Each institution will receive a $25,000 subgrant for the 2-year period to cover the following fellow-related expenses:

  • Increased compensation, commiserate with their role and responsibilities, and
  • Travel to regional and national conferences and meetings.

The subgrant will be distributed in two installments in July 2024 and January 2025.

Meet the 2023-2025 Cohort

Faculty Fellow Name Institution Represented
Tina Butterfield Western Colorado University
Thomas Dunn Colorado State University
Ian Hartman University of Alaska Anchorage
Greg Wilson College of Western Idaho
J O’Brien Laramie County Community College
Stacey Berry Dakota State University
Laura Decker Nevada State University
Eric Wolfe University of North Dakota


Contact WICHE staff

Kay Hulstrom

Associate Director, Operations and Program Implementation, Programs and Services



Camelia Naranjo

Interim Assistant Director - Academic Partnerships Learning and Development, Programs and Services