Institute for Excellence Administrators Sample Curriculum 2020-21

Overview and Objectives

The Institute for Excellence for Administrators – will accelerate performance through:

  • Increasing team leadership capacity at the department or unit level
  • Aligning vision, talent and behaviors for team excellence and leading change at the department or unit level

The design of this intensive, highly focused program is based on vision, mission, and leadership imperatives to build and lead a customer-focused institution.  This program combines interaction with internal and external leaders and leadership theory and research along with action learning to practice and transfer what he/she has learned in the institute.

Individual benefits of participating include:

(a)  Increases institutional knowledge through open dialogue;

(b)  Results in higher levels of emotional intelligence, resiliency and effective leadership;

(c)  Provides strategies for building trust, motivating and engaging teams and strong communication skills; and

(d)  Results in an increased capacity to step out, reach out, speak out, collaborate with others and make things happen.


The IE for Administrators 2018-19 will address the following organizational principles.


Learning Agility

Emotional Intelligence


Building Relationships

Political Savvy

Motivating and Engaging

Effective Team-building

Culture of Trust




1.   What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. By Marshall Goldsmith

2.   Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Dr. Marilee Adams

3.   The Emotionally Intelligent Manager – How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Intelligence Skills of Leadership by David Caruso and Peter Salovey, Jossey

4.   The Coaching Habit. By Michael Bungay Stanier

5.   Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace: Building Effective Relationships in Your Organization <3rd ed.> by Drs. Dennis and Michelle Reina, Berret-Koehler Publishers, 2015.



1.  Executive Leaders:  Executive Officers, Cabinet members and selected officials – Each executive officer will have an opportunity to spend time with the participants and discuss their current challenges and goals as a leader.  These candid conversations help participants learn more about the university and how their work supports the institution.             

2.  Other Leaders: Leaders from inside and outside the university will be identified and scheduled to compliment and advance various topics. A partial list includes author and educator Dr. Marilee Adams, Dr. Lisa Davis who teaches Rhetoric Kent State’s College of Business and Dr. Dennis Reina, pioneer in trust building.

Elements / Topics

1.  360 Evaluation

Participants will participate in a pre and post leadership assessment. The initial 360 will set the tone and provide input on potential areas of interest to develop over the course of the year. 

2.  Self-Compassion

In this session participants will learn about self-compassion and why it is so critical to the role of leader at Kent State.  Based on the work of Dr. Kristin Neff, participants will self-assess their self-compassion abilities and use this information as a basis for opportunities to grow as a leader. Participants will work with Michelle Bozeman, R.N. on applying Dr. Neff’s work to our environment of leadership. 

3.  Personal Leadership Philosophy

Each participant creates a PLP which states what they believe about themselves as leaders, what they believe about people and what they believe about Kent State.

4.  Meditation and Leadership

Participants will be working, ongoing, with certified yoga and meditation instructor Lisa Thiel to conduct a series of meditative exercises where participants practice controlled breathing and enter into a meditative state to decrease stress reactions and increase access to various other brain-centers that handle long term memory, short term memory, risk/reward, empathic reasoning and creativity and insight. Other practitioners of self-care will also be working with the cohort.

5.  Emotional Intelligence

Participants will all complete an Emotional Intelligence test called the Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test or MSCEIT.  The MSCEIT will reveal participants level of emotional ability in four domains (1) capacity to identify emotions, (2) use emotions to generate thought, (3) understand complex emotions and (4) manage emotions for effective decision making.  Participants will also have opportunities to build skills around the four core abilities.  Studies have linked leaders with high degrees of emotional intelligence to increased effectiveness in the workplace.

6.  Neuroscience of Change and Transformation

In this session participants will take a deeper look at the amazing complexities associated with changing behaviors and identifying burnout. Understanding the neuroscience, physiology and psychology of the brain and body can help leaders think and act with intention in ways that increase the likelihood of taking meaningful action. Based on the work of Srini Pillay M.D. CEO of The NeuroBusiness Group and professor at Harvard Medical School and invited faculty to the Harvard School of Business. Participants will apply this information to their situation and identify areas that he/she can change.

7.  Lean Problem Solving

Problems exist in all organizations. In the fast pace and high stress levels of today’s higher education environment, solving problems quickly and effectively is an essential skill.  In this one-day program, participants will learn a simple but proven step-by-step approach for attacking and solving problems based on Lean methodologies. Within the time-honored Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) framework, participants will learn how to develop a standardized, yet flexible process that integrates easily into any current company format.

8.  Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is not just for executives.  In everyday communications when we develop and use the coaching habits of asking questions and being curious to help others solve their challenges, it makes us stronger leaders by allowing others to come to their own conclusions and their own way of accomplishing a task.  Coaching is easy in theory but hard in practice.  We will spend time observing “fishbowl” coaching, coaching in small groups and coaching each other outside of class as well as going over and using the seven basic coaching questions.

9.  Inquiring Leadership

This half-day segment is done in conjunction with Dr. Marilee Adams, author of “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” and president of the Inquiry Institute. Great leaders must ask great questions and participants will learn Dr. Adams methodology to building teams by leading with great questions. Participants are introduced to the theory and practice of Question Thinking, including how this aligns with and supports Inquiring Leadership and also leadership skills for the 21st Century. This module includes the Learner/Judger Mindset material, both theoretically and experientially. Participants will also engage in a structured journaling exercise to make their learning personally relevant. Participants’ activities will deepen their learning and skill training with a series of practical exercises and tools that will make a significant difference in the success of their work with each other and with colleagues, stakeholders, and others whom they lead. Some coaching on how to apply these tools will be included during the time together.

10.  Team Dimensions

Participants and direct reports will complete a Team Dimensions assessment and receive aggregate feedback on how their team approaches work.   The Team Dimensions concept and the Team Dimensions Profile were developed by Allen N. Fahden and Srinivasan Namakkal, who have conducted creativity seminars and trained corporate personnel on the innovation process for over two decades.  After more than 10 years of observing and researching teams that develop innovative services and products, Fahden and Namakkal discovered that each team member demonstrates a preference for performing certain roles over others.

11.  Diversity Management

Leaders need help to move past accepting diversity toward utilizing diversity as a mechanism to improve team performance.  While many leaders acknowledge that diversity is the right thing to do, they are less skilled in how to utilize that information. 

12.  Action Learning

The Institute for Excellence for Administrator’s is not a theory course nor is it strictly about learning merely for the sake of acquiring knowledge.  This program is about “doing” or more specifically it is about applying what you have learned to your workplace environment.  Action learning as a term was first coined by Professor Reginald Revans in the 1940’s.   Action learning is a process whereby the participant studies his/her own actions and experiences in conjunction with others in small groups called action learning sets.  Participants will have ample data on their leadership strengths and weaknesses.  Participants will identify a specific workplace scenario that allows them to demonstrate growth in their desired leadership competencies.  They can then begin the process of experimentation and practice on leadership development.  A final presentation will take place at the conclusion of the program.

Additional Components

a.  Class participation – Participants are expected to be prepared to engage speakers and fully participate in all course requirements, including discussions, reading and out of class work.

b.  Supervisor follow up – Human Resources will engage in frequent follow up with the participant’s supervisor to ensure they are kept appraised of the learning and know their role in supporting leadership growth and development.  Communication will be via email, phone and face to face.

Attendance Requirements

Most of our sessions are FULL DAY sessions generally 8:00 – 4:30.  If you are not comfortable being out of the office twice a month for a full day please reconsider applying for this program.  Participants are expected to attend all sessions and be present while the group is “in session”.   Missed sessions impact the performance of the whole group and so participants are encouraged to strive for 100% attendance.  We recognize however that 100% attendance is not always possible for a variety of reasons.  Generally absences at a total rate of 15-20% of the total number of sessions or less over the duration of the program are deemed acceptable.  Absences above that place the participant at risk of being removed from the program.

Individual Feedback

Participants can request individual feedback at any point of the program, on how they are meeting the obligations and requirements of the course regarding their levels of participation in class, out of class preparation, etc.