Beginning in 2004–05, the Serie Center began a yearlong, weekly seminar designed to help mid-career (post-tenure) faculty to develop knowledge allowing them to become more engaged in institutional service, and to work more effectively as institutional leaders. This seminar gives faculty an opportunity to learn to “think institutionally” when faced with complex institutional issues that affect faculty life and student education.

Seminar Goals

  • Knowledge of the major issues and challenges faced in American higher education, liberal arts colleges and Macalester.
  • Working knowledge of how Macalester is “put together” – the various tasks that must be accomplished in order for the institution to function, and how these tasks are divided into the organizational units of the college.
  • Knowledge of the challenges faced within each operational unit of the college; knowledge of the resource limits within each unit and how trade-offs are made within these constraints; the impact of these challenges and limits on the academic program and education of our students.
  • Knowledge of how critical decisions are made at the institutional level – how information gets channeled, sorted and prioritized in the decision-making process.
  • Perspectives on the nature and role of academic leadership in such areas as mentoring faculty at various stages in their careers, managing academic staff and faculty, developing department and college curriculum, facilitating decision-making within resource constraints, managing and balancing workload, evaluating progress, facilitating change, and negotiating difficult situations.

In the first several iterations of the program, each faculty participant developed a “project of institutional significance.” Beginning with the 2010–2011 cohort, all past participants have been invited to submit proposals for institutional projects to the new “Venture Fund”. Current ALS participants serve as the selection committee.

The Academic Leadership Seminar is now on an every-other-year rotation. The next seminar met during academic year 2017-2018. If you are interested in learning more about the Academic Leadership Seminar or applying to participate, please contact Joan Ostrove (

The Academic Leadership Seminar is funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Provost.