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Humanities in Leadership

September 30, 2019 | Sophia Ramos, IAH Communications Specialist

LeadershipThe Institute has a thirty-year history in supporting faculty, following the mission of empowering faculty through fellowships, programs, and grant opportunities. The IAH’s supportive role is strongly connected to the arts and humanities, where initiatives like the flagship Faculty Fellowship Program provide scholarship and community for faculty within those areas. With the implementation of the Academic Leadership Program, the IAH has expanded its vision and has become a home for faculty in leadership positions across campus, as well.



Why does the Institute for the Arts and Humanities train leaders?

Many organizations, both in and outside of higher education, offer leadership programs focused on acquiring skills to address the complex challenges that faculty leaders face. Embracing its humanistic roots, the IAH takes leadership development a step further: we work to also grow the interpersonal skills of our leaders, building their capacity for introspection, emotional intelligence, and fostering a community of peers.

The first eight Fellows completed the ALP Program in 2002. That number has now risen to 144, including faculty members from campus’ most distant corners. The program prepares faculty for leadership positions in a variety of capacities, whether that’s becoming a department chair, dean, or even a chancellor. The University’s current academic leadership now includes three former ALP Fellows: UNC-Chapel Hill Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz (Fellow ‘08), Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Terry Rhodes (Fellow ‘11), and Interim Senior Associate Dean for the Fine Arts and Humanities Elizabeth Engelhardt (Fellow ’18). We are proud to have lent support to these individuals that are now guiding forces at Carolina.

The ALP program is aimed at developing leadership skills but also works to clarify career commitments, build an interdisciplinary leadership network, and to hold space for dialogue and contemplation in a supportive, diverse cohort. Faculty engagement carries on even after the Fellowship year ends with workshops, short courses, and seminars that are hosted to strengthen the network of former ALP Fellows year after year.

To Rob Kramer, IAH Senior Leadership Consultant, integrating humanities in leadership development directly relates because leadership itself is an inherently humanistic event. Effective leadership requires multiple people to engage and navigate in a relational system.

The weekly gathering of Fellows allows for deeply thoughtful, personal reflection of what it means to lead, whether formally or informally, in the context of higher education and specifically for UNC. The program is not geared toward solely developing future administrators. It also explores a variety of ways to lead whether that includes participating in faculty governance, campus committees, or becoming a better principal investigator for research projects.

“By creating a person-centered and cohort-based exploration of leading, participants gain a more meaningful insight to both themselves and the impact they have on the outer world — to those in their cohort and to the greater academic community,” said Kramer.

Clinical Professor in the School of Education, Dr. Suzanne Gulledge participated in the ALP Program in 2015 and now serves as its Program Director. In nurturing Carolina’s homegrown leaders, Gulledge pilots each cohort that is honing skills and perspectives for leadership.

“Fellows share knowledge and experience in a supportive cohort and are afforded the opportunity to see issues through a variety of lenses,” said Gulledge. “They are given constructive critique and are challenged to imagine and innovate forward-thinking responses to some of the university’s most challenging problems and unique opportunities.”

As the ALP prepares for its next cohort, we look forward to continuing the service and support of campus leaders with a multifaceted, humanistic approach. Our goal is not only to provide a benefit to individual faculty members but also to the University in identifying, developing and nurturing visionary leaders for Carolina’s future.

The deadline to apply for the 2020-2021 Academic Leadership Program is Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019.  Please visit our ALP page or contact Philip Hollingsworth, IAH Program Administrator, at for more information.