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The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s new leadership institute for underrepresented minority faculty graduated its inaugural cohort last week during a Council meeting at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. The cohort, which consisted of 19 faculty representing all eight of the state universities and seven colleges of Kentucky Community and Technical College System, included Dr. Socorro Zaragoza, associate professor in EKU’s Department of Languages, Cultures and Humanities.

The purpose of the Academic Leadership Development Institute (ALDI) is to develop more campus leaders among early career, underrepresented minority faculty who aspire to leadership positions.

 “We are building a cadre of great higher education leaders who can take us well in the 21st century,” said Dr. Aaron Thompson, Council executive vice president and chief academic officer.

Campus provosts nominated candidates for the yearlong initiative based on the following criteria: fewer than seven years’ experience in the profession, demonstrated leadership ability, interest in advancement and dedication to their teaching craft.

Thompson said that institutions benefit from developing their own leaders because of their familiarity with the campus climate and knowledge of the institutional mission and strategic plan.

In addition, the program supports campus diversity plans that call for increasing underrepresented minorities in management occupations.

The eight-month program was created and facilitated by Dr. Caroline Atkins, a senior associate with the CPE. During this time, participants acquired a more comprehensive view of postsecondary education from both national and statewide perspectives.