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More than 40 percent of presidents in Catholic higher education today have served for more than six years — the present average length of tenure. This figure indicates an impending wave of retirements.

Leaders in Catholic Higher Education

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities is committed to equipping Catholic higher education’s next generation of leaders with the knowledge, skills, and reflection required to meet the 21st century demands of Catholic colleges and universities. 

To that end, the ACCU Leaders in Catholic Higher Education program offers rising leaders a distinctive portfolio of competencies across four distinct categories.

Category 1: Inspire Christian values
Category 2: Connect Catholic faith to knowledge and research
Category 3: Embody the Christian message in a faithfully Catholic way
Category 4: Serve all in the search for meaning and transcendence 


This program serves three audiences: 

  1. Administrators and faculty currently working within Catholic higher education and who aspire to advance in leadership positions.
  2. Administrators and faculty who are outside Catholic higher education and who seek to enter the world of Catholic colleges and universities.
  3. Those who are in current positions of administrative leadership in Catholic higher education and who seek to deepen their understanding of Catholic higher education in their existing position. 

View this short introduction to our new Leaders in Catholic Higher Education online lessons.



Discerning the Presidency

University of Notre Dame
Monday, June 17, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – Wednesday, June 19,  1:00 p.m.

A new conference for executive administrators and academics with significant leadership potential who aspire to the position of president. Hosted by the University of Notre Dame, this event is part of the ACCU Leaders in Catholic Higher Education program.
A maximum of 15 attendees will be accepted. Candidates will be carefully considered based on demonstrated readiness for a presidency, ideally within the nextone to three years. This unique offering is distinct from, yet complementary to, ACCU’s one-day Aspiring Presidents program (to be held in February 2019, immediately prior to the ACCU Annual Meeting).
Nominations should include: 
- Letter of reference from the nominating ACCU president (one-page maximum)
- Applicant CV
Additional references may be requested from the nominee. 


Development Areas

Programming in the form of online offerings, in-person meetings, conferences, webinars, workshops, seminars, reflection days, retreats, and pilgrimages will ensure development across the four competency categories. Learning from existing programs such as those offered by various charism groups and current ACCU programs (e.g., ACCU’s Rome Seminar, Collegium, and IACHE) will round out the LCHE program.

Across each of the four competency categories, development will focus on:

  1. Knowledge: the history, content, and theoretical foundations needed for decision making; emphasis is on the WHAT of Catholic higher education.
  2. Skills: the aptitudes and practical application necessary to equip the leader to excel in his or her current leadership position and beyond (entry level, mid-level, executive); emphasis is on the HOW of Catholic higher education.
  3. Reflection: formative experiences and spiritual growth opportunities to probe and identify reasons and habits of character enabling a personal transformation; emphasis is on the PERSONAL CHARACTER TRAITS needed to lead within Catholic higher education.

The three development areas of knowledge, skills, and reflection will be developed as leaders gain knowledge, refine application skills, and engage in personal transformation opportunities to advance their professional leadership.


Learning Artifacts

As the participant completes the lessons within the four modules, Learning Artifacts will allow the leader to solidify and make practical the knowledge, skills, and reflection cultivated through the lessons. Learning Artifacts may be tangible elements, such as:

  • a memo to student affairs colleagues.
  • a reflection essay following a pilgrimage to the homeland of the founding congregation.
  • a discussion series with faculty.
  • talking points for a conversation with the local bishop.
  • the creation of a short informative video for the campus community.  

Learning Artifacts are not a "test," but rather an authentic opportunity to allow the learner to solidify learning in a competency category. 


Other Information

Details about lessons, pricing, and other aspect of the Leaders in Catholic Higher Education program will be forthcoming in fall 2018.