Association for Collaborative Leadership

The resource for collaboration in higher education.

The Biennial ACL Summer Leadership Institute

Congratulations to the ACL Summer Leadership Institute Fellows - Class of 2019!

Summer Institute Frequently Asked Questions

When is the next Biennial Summer Institute?

The Biennial Summer Institute will take place on July 17-20, 2022 and will be held in Claremont, California. Stay tuned for more details. Email if you have questions after reviewing the remaining below FAQ's.

Why is an Institute on Collaboration in Higher Education needed?

Consortia and other collaboration-based organizations have had a significant and unique impact on American higher education over the past 50 years. Leaders of these organizations must creatively to ensure the commitment of institutional and private resources and produce meaningful results. The Institute creates a unique opportunity to learn from leaders who share experiences and “lessons learned” through an interactive, social, and structured approach to the training of participants on the research and practice of effective consortial leadership.

Who will benefit from the Summer Institute?

The Institute is designed for leaders who are interested in understanding the impact of inter-institutional collaborations and cooperation on higher education. While directors and chief executive officers will find topics and case study approaches of interest, the workshop is also of great value to senior-level administrators who are preparing for greater leadership roles in their current institutions or who are seeking broader perspectives on collaborative endeavors.

 Participants will:
  • Make connections with other consortia leaders in order to build a personal network of skilled colleagues;
  • Develop professional skills that will enhance their strategic thinking, communications, and leadership capabilities;
  • Leave with ideas on how their organization can develop better systems for managing the work of the consortia and identify potential new projects; and
  • Benchmark the work of your consortia or collaboration with peer organizations.

How was the Summer Institute formed?

 In 2010, a core group of executives identified the need to better equip leaders of higher education collaborative organizations for the challenges of the future by professionalizing their roles and building a curriculum for a leadership workshop based on a well-defined body of knowledge regarding high-impact practices in collaborative leadership. Through the Association for Collaborative Leadership, this group established a Summer Institute with the expectation that this Institute will ultimately result in:
  • Organizations that are more educationally effective and administratively sound;
  • Senior staff members who better understand the mission of their organizations and effectively discharge their responsibilities; and
  • Staff members who work together in a productive national or international network, sharing information and learning from each other.

How is the Institute conducted?

The Institute consists of a purposeful three-day curriculum taught in an interactive workshop format. The Associated Colleges of the South will serve as host.  Participants will have access to an experienced faculty of facilitators, made up of current leaders and experts in particular strategic areas. They will use case studies, research, key reference articles, homework assignments, mini lectures, group exercises, and discussions to build a common understanding of the work of collaborative organizations and enhance participants’ effectiveness as leaders and managers. Institute faculty mentor participants throughout the three-day program in addition to facilitating particular workshop sessions.  Participants are asked to identify a particular project to work on while at the institute with the opportunity to gather feedback from other participants and the faculty.

What content areas are covered?

Participants will leave the three-day Institute with a clear understanding of the role, rationale and culture of organizations as vehicles for collaboration, as well as with specific skills in planning; budgeting; leading inter-institutional groups; developing and sustaining positive inter-institutional relations; monitoring and documenting the value of a collaborative organization’s program; communications within and about their organization; developing program, financing and governance structures; and cultivating funding resources. Specific topics include:

  • Key elements of existing academic consortia and similar higher education organizations: vocabulary, models, legal structures, histories and lessons learned;
  • Financing and budgeting structures and how they influence cooperation;
  • Governance structures, how to work within those structures and how they influence cooperation;
  • Navigating different institutional cultures to achieve endorsed collaborative projects;
  • Achieving influence in the absence of authority and building a culture of collaboration among campus leaders;
  • Creating and assessing the mission and goals of an organization and aligning these with the mission and goals of the institutions served by the organization;
  • Developing strategic plans and strategic initiatives;
  • Monitoring and assessing progress and accomplishments in collaborative endeavors and communicating the value of these endeavors;
  • Communicating effectively with leaders and other faculty members and administrators of campuses served by collaborative organizations; and
  • Working with different multi-institutional groups of leaders.

How can I participate in the Institute?

Participation in the Institute is by application only and the number of Institute scholars is limited in order to ensure a rich and positive experience. The next instance of the Biennial Summer Institute will be in 2022. If you have further questions, please contact ACL at

Where can I learn more?

  • Stream a video or podcast about the Institute experience - Watch three alumni of the Institute share their strategies for turning the idea of change into real progress at their consortia: Cole Woodcox (Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges), Chris Bass (Claremont University Consortium) and Sarah Stone (Five Colleges of Ohio).
  • Check out the Summer Leadership Institute photo gallery here.

Association for Collaborative Leadership is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

Questions? Email

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