Mission Leadership Institute FAQs
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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Mission Leadership Institute

1. Who should attend the Mission Leadership Institute?  

The Institute is designed for new, emerging, and future mission leaders who want to learn how to enhance their ability to integrate and sustain mission on their campus. The Institute also offers mid-career and senior mission leaders to gain new perspectives, learn new skills, and refresh their spirit. The Institute is a great opportunity for participants to expand their network. 

2. What do you mean by “mission leader”? 

A mission leader is anyone who has responsibilities for advancing, promoting, and integrating mission at a Catholic college or university. Mission leaders are often mission officers, special assistants to the president, or other cabinet-level administrators. 

Mission leaders can also be faculty or staff members with limited or part-time mission integration responsibilities, such as a mission committee chair, a campus minister, or the director of a center or institute. Because forming mission-centered leaders is so important, even those who aspire to take on mission integration-related work in the future should consider participating in the Institute. 

3. How is the Institute different from the Mission Officers Conference that I often attend as part of the ACCU Annual Meeting? Is the content the same? Can I attend both?

The Mission Leadership Institute is an intensive four-day experience that is meant to provide participants with in-depth information and resources. The Institute features engaging presentations, workshops, activities, panels of experts, and inspiring speakers, as well as opportunities for prayer and worship. In comparison, the Mission Officers Conference held before the ACCU Annual Meeting is a one-day, high-impact experience focused on one particular mission-related theme. The content, format, and approach of these two events is very different. One can attend both events and find value in each. 

4. How is the Mission Leadership Institute different from some of the other summer institutes and conferences that are offered? 

What makes the Mission Leadership Institute particularly valuable and practical is the focus on discerning, developing, and implementing an Action Project as part of your participation. Most summer institutes focus on a certain segment of the university: faculty, student affairs, senior administrators, etc. The Institute is designed for a broader audience, which means participants will meet a variety of colleagues engaged in many different kinds of mission integration work. The result is that Mission Leadership Institute attendees will leave with a plan of action, a strong and diverse network of colleagues, and a richer learning experience.

5. What is an Action Project ?

The Action Project is a response to people who have said, “I learned a lot at that conference, but when I got home, I didn’t have a concrete plan to implement my ideas.” The Action Project allows participants to leave the Mission Leadership Institute with a plan for a mission program or activity that they can implement at their home campus. The Institute provides time, expertise, and feedback to assist in the development of this plan. Past participants have used this opportunity to work on something that they had been thinking about for some time or a chance to design something totally new. 

6. The whole idea of developing an Action Project seems like a lot of work. Can you offer a few examples? 

The Institute faculty want to help you plan an Action Project that will be useful in your institutional role. For example:

• If you are the faculty co-chair of the Mission Committee, you might create a plan to assist colleagues in incorporating mission ideas or activities into their coursework. The outcome could be as small as an e-mail or as large as a summer campus faculty institute.  

• If you are the vice president of student affairs, you might think about how to encourage the various professionals in your area (Residence Life, Student Activities, Athletics, etc.) to design programs that are specifically mission-centric.  

• If you are the mission leader, you might revise your Mission and Heritage Week plan.  

Work time and feedback time are built into the Institute schedule so that most people leave the program with a fully formed plan of action. Some Action Projects may require approval and collaboration of others on the home campus and may not be fully formed at the Institute. The more thought given to the Action Project prior to the start of the Institute, the better. However, some people do come to the Institute with no idea and decide on an Action Project during the course of the program.

7. Where will the Institute be held? What are the accommodations like? 

The 2019 Mission Leadership Institute will be hosted by Villanova University and held at The Inn at Villanova, approximately 40 minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport. The inn provides amenities of a modern hotel and conference center and includes beautifully landscaped grounds. Newly renovated rooms are comfortably furnished and outfitted with soft towels, crisp bedding, large bathrooms and roomy closets. Some sessions, including the president’s panel discussion and dinner, will be held at Villanova University.

8. Who are the presenters for the Institute? 

The Mission Leadership Institute is led by a core team of seasoned mission officers and Catholic higher education leaders. This team plans the Institute, designs the activities, and facilitates the various sessions of the Institute. The core team members also serve as consultants and advisers who help participants brainstorm ideas and develop their Action Projects and offer resources, ideas, and encouragement. In addition to the core team, mission leaders from other colleges and universities, ACCU leadership, and university presidents serve as presenters.

9. Can I send a team from my institution?  How much will it cost?  

Yes! We encourage the participation of teams. For example, a vice president of student affairs could attend the Institute with the director of residence life and the coordinator of student activities to explore ways to further integrate the college’s charism into their residence hall programming. A senior leader could accompany an emerging leader to prepare the person for a future leadership role in mission integration activities. 

Institute registration pricing benefits those who bring teams. Please check back for 2019 MLI team rates.

10. Is there a connection between the Mission Leadership Institute and ACCU’s Leaders in Catholic Higher Education program?

Yes, there is a very deliberate connection. Several of the sessions offered during the Mission Leadership Institute fulfill curricular components of the Leaders in Catholic Higher Education (LCHE) program. By attending the Institute, you can therefore simultaneously complete some of the LCHE lessons. More details about building your Leaders in Catholic Higher Education portfolio are available online.