A Leadership Development Program for Women in Higher Ed

The HERS Leadership Institute is a transformational, leadership development program for women in higher education, founded to fill leadership pipelines across the United States with dynamic women, each capable of ushering their respective institutions into a more inclusive and equitable future.

Participants are asked to share their vision of leadership and what they hope to contribute to their respective institutions and are then challenged to develop the skills to actualize their professional vision. As a non-competitive space, participants are also encouraged to champion the growth of other participants. Alumnae of the HERS Leadership Institute (HLI) emerge better-skilled and more confident in leading with their unique voice, providing a much-needed infusion of bold, new leadership to their respective institutions.

The HERS Difference

Join a diverse network of 6,000+ alumnae nationwide.

Increase your campus visibility and unleash your voice to influence positive institutional change.

Choose a format that best fits your busy life and preferred learning style.

Find the Right HERS Leadership Institute for You

We offer three program formats with different start dates to serve the full spectrum of learning needs within our community of women. The rigorous curriculum, learning outcomes, pricing, and transformative quality of the experience are the same from format to format – only the mode of delivery is different.

Important 2021 – 2022 Cohort Updates:

The 2021 June and July Intensive HLI will be delivered virtually rather than in Denver and Philadelphia to protect the health of participants during the ongoing pandemic. The 2021-2022 Weekend HLI is planned for in Boston, MA, with online contingency plans in place if COVID-19 health guidelines determine this to be the safest option. And the 2022 Online HLI application is now open! 

Weekend HLI

4 staggered weekends 2021 – 2022
(Thurs 8:00 am – Sat 12:00 pm ET)

Nov 11-13, Dec 9-11,  Feb 3-5, Mar 24-26
Boston, MA

Program Fee: $8,499

Early deadline: February 01, 2021

Early decision: March 1, 2021

Early payment due: April 14, 2021

Final deadline: April 15, 2021

Final decision: May 15, 2021

Final payment due: June 15, 2021

Online HLI

12 staggered weeks
Wednesdays (all day)

February – May 2022
Virtual classroom

Program Fee: $8,499

Early deadline: September 15, 2021

Early decision: October 1, 2021

Early payment due: October 15, 2021

Final deadline: October 15, 2021

Final decision: November 01, 2021

Final payment due: November 30, 2021

Intensive HLI

9 consecutive days

June 7-16, 2022
Denver, CO
July 12-21, 2022
Philadelphia, PA

Program Fee: $8,499

Early deadline: October 29, 2021

Early decision: November 17, 2021

Early payment due: December 20, 2021

Final deadline: February 1, 2022

Final decision: February 15, 2022

Final payment due: March 15, 2022

Submit Your Application by the early deadline to receive a $500 discount

*We are offering monthly payment plans for anyone who submits their application by the early application deadline and completes our payment plan request.

Start an application to your preferred HLI format.

Apply Now

Learn more about our three formats and which is best for you.

Request Information

The HLI Curriculum: Learning Objectives

At the HERS Leadership Institute, you will learn more about your institution, assess your network and connections, and develop a richer appreciation for your unique leadership capabilities. We will primarily spend time developing skills related to managing and leading a successful change process within your institutional setting. We will discuss topics that bridge the gap between faculty, staff, and students — and cover four main learning outcomes:


Participants are first asked to share their vision of leadership and what they hope to contribute to their institution. They then develop the leadership skills necessary to actualize their vision. Through this process, each participant develops a richer appreciation for their unique leadership capabilities.

Institutional Awareness

Our facilitators, as both practitioners and scholars, provide practical, evidence-based approaches to operating within an institutional context. The class is presented with real-life case studies to dissect and discuss, and participants are invited to share their own knowledge or experiences to increase the diversity of thought.


As a non-competitive space, participants are encouraged to champion the growth of all members of their cohort, building personal and professional bonds that will last a lifetime. Collectively, these cohorts form the backbone of the HERS Network, an invaluable resource for alumnae throughout their career.

Immediate and Practical Application

Throughout the Leadership Institute, participants apply their lessons to a self-designed Capstone Leadership Project, which they can then pursue on campus in their current role. These personal case studies in organizational change demonstrate the readiness of alumnae to lead.

HLI Facilitators: Subject-Matter Experts

One of the distinguishing features of the HERS Leadership Institute are the facilitators and panelists, practitioners and scholars each, who are hand-picked based on their breadth of experience and scholarly work. They are proven leaders, featuring both chief academic and chief executive officers, who can share research and scholarship on the topic, as well as bring in real-life situations or cases for the class to dissect and discuss.

Areas of expertise include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Innovation and Change
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Communicating Change
  • Budget and Fiscal Principles
  • Navigating Legal Issues
  • Team (re)Building

Who This Program is For

The HERS Leadership Institute is an inclusive program, welcoming all participants who identify as women. It is designed for faculty and staff who generally hold mid-to-senior level positions in higher education and have a desire to emerge as more dynamic leaders for themselves and their institutions. This setting replicates what could happen on campus if faculty, staff, and admins were all working together, allowing everyone to gain insight into the unique perspectives of each role and learn from one another.

Participants will represent a range of racial and ethnic groups, nationalities, veteran and disability statuses, religious affiliations, ages, and years of experience in higher education, thereby broadening the range of perspectives and insights brought to each session.

I learned so much from the HERS Leadership Institute and my required interviews with senior leadership at my institution. I knew that I wanted to pursue a leadership position on campus in the future, but HERS made me realize that I could and should do it now. I was so inspired by the experience that I applied for a position on campus that became open right after I completed the program, and I got it! It will be a sharp learning curve stepping into this role at this time, but I welcome the challenge.

Dr. Malika Jefferies-EL, Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Boston University
HERS Leadership Institute alumna, Wellesley Weekend 2019-2020

Why Apply and Why Now

During this critical moment for higher education, we recognize the pivotal impact that institutional leaders can make. Higher education needs bold leaders like you, who are committed to making a difference and creating more equitable learning opportunities, to guide the industry into the future.

Don’t let the uncertainty clouding the near future of higher education keep you from establishing some certainty in your own. You are ready. Face the approaching challenges and opportunities in your career with newfound skills and confidence. Submit your application for the HERS Leadership Institute today and put yourself on the path to your ultimate career ambitions.

Application Requirements

The online application includes six sections.

  1. Personal Information
  2. Professional Background
  3. Education History
  4. Organizational Structure & Leadership Role
  5. Leadership Attributes (short essays)
  6. Letter of Recommendation

As you work on the application, your work will be saved automatically. You can return to your application multiple times to make changes to sections that have been saved or begin work on new sections. Download our application requirements one-pager to plan for the completion of your application before the deadline.

Letter of Recommendation tip: Put in your request for a letter of recommendation at least two weeks prior to the application deadline. Place your request to a senior officer who knows your current leadership work, and who you want to get to know for your future leadership advancement.

In the application portal, we have included a list of senior officer titles that we prefer applicants contact for a recommendation. Typically, these officers approve the release of professional development funding at institutions as well. We encourage applicants to discuss the availability of funding to sponsor their attendance with these individuals at the time they request a recommendation.

Start an application to your preferred HLI format.

Apply Now

Learn more about our three formats and which is best for you.

Request Information

Additional information on the learning outcomes, who this program is for, application requirements, and more can be found on our HERS Leadership Institute (HLI) FAQs webpage.