Dr. Michelle Roberts
Dr. Michelle Roberts, Executive Assistant to the President at Delta State University, recently completed The Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) in Washington, D.C.
Sponsored through American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), MLI is a premier leadership development program focused on “preparing the next generation of presidents and chancellors.”
Designed for senior-level administrators interested in advancing their careers, particularly to the presidency, MLI’s institute consisted of four days of intensive sessions, exposing MLI protégés to the vital topics necessary to understand the responsibilities of the presidency.
Roberts was one of 37 people from across the United States accepted into the MLI program. Participants were accepted to the program after an application process that first included a nomination from member presidents and chancellors, after which the presidential subcommittee chose candidates from education, government and private sector.
“MLI’s institute was one of the most rewarding professional development experiences in my career. The program provided me with an opportunity to examine the nuances of the college presidency and to explore the various aspects and skills needed to lead a successful university,” Roberts said.
Participants explored various topics, including the complexities of working with governing boards; the importance of advancing the institution, including fundraising; the role of the president in institutional budget management; how to communicate the institutional message and present themselves effectively through media training; how to advocate for their institution during a visit to representatives on Capitol Hill; and, how to navigate the executive search process.
Following the four-day training session, participants become involved in a year-long mentoring component, which formally links institute graduates with presidents and chancellors who provide counsel throughout the search process into the early days of the first presidency. This aspect signals the MLI commitment to ensuring graduates’ ongoing success as chief executive officers.
In its seven years, MLI proudly touts 214 graduates, 27 of which have become presidents and chancellors – many at AASCU member institutions.
AASCU represents more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the United States and its territories, including Delta State University. AASCU schools enroll more than three million students or 55 percent of the enrollment at all public four-year institutions.