Volume 82 | Issue 5
October 2014

Inter-Association Collaborative Focuses on Leadership Education

A year ago, ACUI joined seven other higher education organizations to form the Inter-Association Leadership Collaborative. After intentional conversation and reflection, the organizations have decided to focus on leadership education, as reflected in the new name—Inter-Association Leadership Education Collaborative. On June 19, the collaborative convened at the University of Maryland to discuss new directions and achievable strategic initiatives for 2014–15. 


The focus of this year’s summit was benchmarking as it relates to the leadership education field, the entirety of higher education, and organizations and agencies outside of higher education. Participants formed work teams to address three distinct components—internal benchmarking, competitive benchmarking, and functional benchmarking—and created initiatives based on the discussions.

Internal Benchmarking
To compare the practices of administrative units within member organizations

  • Develop a common membership survey across all seven associations to inform program development, collaborations, future projects, and initiatives
  • Create a central web presence for the Inter-Association Leadership Education Collaborative
  • Restart the conversation about assessment/evaluation criteria for leadership educators

Competitive Benchmarking
To compare the practices of administrative units within member organizations

  • Establish preconference/general meetings to spread awareness of Inter-Association Leadership Education Collaborative goals and initiatives
  • Design and facilitate writing workshops that improve the efficacy of leadership educators to put their ideas into written works that may eventually become published
  • Work collaboratively on the review and updating of the Council for the Advancement of Standards standard for leadership education programs
  • Produce a document paralleling Leadership Reconsidered that examines the role of higher education in creating leaders for a diverse and democratic society and its ability to transform our institutions, our students, and our society

Functional Benchmarking
To make comparisons between member organizations and organizations outside of higher education

  • Conduct and synthesize the results of a qualitative benchmarking interview study with national and international organizations and agencies to enhance leadership education in higher education

Shaping the Narrative

Another important topic discussed at the summit was leadership educators task of preparing leaders to serve in complex, adversity-filled, adaptive contexts with no blueprint. Representatives used facilitated dialogue to create a conceptual model, which can be used as a reflective lens to examine current practice within leadership education contexts.ILEC

The model is vertically progressive starting with Integrated Intentionality. This implies that leadership education should be grounded in an intentional foundation, supported by Telos (focused purpose) and passion for the task of educating the next generation of leaders.

As the model progresses, specific inputs are identified (Subversive Engagement, Sincere Connections, Investment in Potential, and Inclusive Dialogue), leading to the Development of Transformative Leadership Learning Opportunities, which are indelibly linked to Authentic Challenges. The Learning Opportunities create the possibility for sustaining the legacy of the discipline through the development of Holistic Community Reciprocity grounded in Social Justice.

Through this process, one’s calling as a leadership educator is actualized. This vertically progressive model also works in the inverse. The inverse provides the means to communicate the why, how, and what of leadership education and prioritizes the assessment and evaluation of our academic and student development initiatives.

If you have questions about the work of the Inter-Association Leadership Education Collaborative, please contact Brian Magee at brimagee@acui.org.