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Executive Leadership Institute
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Designed to strengthen campus leadership teams and prepare the next generation of leaders for college or university executive roles, the TICUA Executive Leadership Institute is an innovative leadership development program for senior campus officials. ELI participants, known as Pressnell Fellows, are selected by their institution’s president to participate and learn from national, regional, and state educators for the nine-month program.

In just four years of cohorts, ELI graduates have been appointed to serve in leadership positions at Tennessee higher education institutions including the presidency of Johnson University and Lee University as well as interim presidencies at Martin Methodist College and Carson-Newman University. 




“ELI was a great opportunity to meet and collaborate with my colleagues from across the state. While the Fellows came from diverse campuses and backgrounds, the Institute enabled all of us to step outside our normal silos and think through broader challenges and opportunities that affect higher education. Because of this experience, we have an entire network of friends to call on, no matter where we go from here.”


Robby Shelton, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Martin Methodist, Class of 2019


"I am a better administrator, leader, and person because of TICUA’s Executive Leadership Institute. Each topic we covered is critical to the success of our institutions, careers, and the academy. What I will remember most, however, is the stories, examples, and personal insights offered to us by each residential dean. The narratives shared by each chancellor or president were informative, encouraging, and motivating. I left each session impressed by the various strengths, personalities, and vision of these exemplary leaders."


Phil Cook, Vice President for Enrollment at Lee University, Class of 2019


“ELI is unlike any other program because it provided me with the opportunity to learn and grow my leadership skills, with intensive content discussions and real-world examples provided by the best in higher education. Because the program meets throughout the year, I had the chance to apply this new knowledge directly into my current role and team. I highly recommend it.”

Jaqui Steadman, Vice President for Business and Finance at Milligan University, Class of 2019


Pressnell Fellows, Class of 2019 


The TICUA Executive Leadership Institute provides senior campus officials with the opportunity to:

  • Enhance professional leadership knowledge and skills in the specific context of private higher education.

  • Develop knowledge and skills needed to respond to uncertainty.

  • Prepare for the unique opportunities and challenges facing the leadership of private higher education institutions.

  • Learn from sitting TICUA member presidents (Residential Deans) and from national, regional and local content experts (Content Faculty).

  • Explore and learn about the unique aspects of host member campuses.

  • Explore solutions to campus-specific questions, problems, issues, or challenges corresponding to each of the session content areas.

ELI also helps Fellows to assess their current leadership style to determine areas of potential growth, to enhance their professional persona, and bolster their passion for private higher education. The Institute holds monthly sessions, typically on a Tuesday and Wednesday, at select TICUA member campuses with each president of the host institution serving as Residential Dean to the Institute's Pressnell Fellows during the two-day session.  Monthly sessions begin in September with graduation occurring in May. The Institute challenges Pressnell Fellows to augment their skills through the lens of their institution’s mission, values, and vision in the following areas:

  • Advocacy

  • Communications

  • Conflict management & resolution

  • Culturally adaptable & respectful of differences

  • Ethical influence & power

  • Organizing & planning

  • Efficient & effective problem solving & decision making

  • Relationship building & collaboration

  • Resource Management