Three ISU leaders selected for program to diversify university presidencies


From left, associate provost for academic programs Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince and vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion Reg Stewart.

Three Iowa State leaders will participate over the next year in a nationally renowned program designed to diversify the loftiest ranks of higher education administration by preparing qualified individuals from underrepresented populations to be presidents and chancellors.

Vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion Reg Stewart and associate provosts Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Dawn Bratsch-Prince were selected for the 2021 cohort of the Millenium Leadership Initiative, which aims to help experienced college and university executives develop the skills, philosophical overview and network needed to be competitive candidates to lead institutions.

The program begins with online training sessions March through May, followed by an in-person program tentatively planned for June 3-7 in Washington, D.C., depending on the pandemic status. Participants are then paired with a sitting president or chancellor as a mentor, with regular one-on-one meetings throughout the 2021-22 academic year. A professional coach, often a retired president or chancellor, is available for individualized sessions October through February.    

Since its founding in 1999, the initiative sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has graduated 662 "protégés." One in five went on to serve as a college or university president or chancellor, and more than one-third have significantly advanced in their career.