Lead. Inspire. Lift.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) represent a grand history and legacy of educational excellence and are a valuable segment of American higher education. In recent years, these national treasures have collectively experienced considerable threats to their existence. As a result, it is critical that the next generation of senior administrators receive the necessary training and support to become strong, visionary and transformational leaders. Without question, HBCUs would benefit from more stable leadership prepared to meet the needs, challenges and opportunities facing all institutions of higher education. Developing a cadre of well-prepared leaders must be intentional, strategic and thoughtful.

The Higher Education Leadership Foundation (H.E.L.F.) was established in March 2015 to provide bold, engaging and innovative learning and mentoring opportunities for current and aspiring leaders. At H.E.L.F., we intend to play a vital role in this mission by encouraging leaders to “lift as they climb” in order to ensure that HBCUs survive and thrive as national models of achievement.

Our work at H.E.L.F. is framed by the following guiding principles:

  • A belief in the importance of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as significant and important contributors to the diversity, excellence, global influence and impact of American higher education.
  • Historically black colleges and universities require committed, prepared and visionary leadership at every administrative level to remain vital, vibrant and relevant institutions in American higher education.
  • A rich literature on leadership development and best practices on leadership in higher education exists which provide useful information, insights, wisdom and practical strategies for training aspiring leaders.
  • A cadre of well credentialed, skilled and committed academic administrators and scholars exists and are currently working at historically black colleges and universities with the interest and potential to assume positions of leadership.
  • The H.E.L.F. model of leadership development is a pragmatic approach which draws on time-honored literature, best practices and traditions of successful and effective leadership from both within higher education and other industries in identifying, advising and training aspiring administrators and scholars for positions of leadership at historically black colleges and universities.

The H.E.L.F. Model of Leadership Development

The H.E.L.F. model of leadership development consist of four action strategies:

  1. Mentoring and Preceptorships

    Mentoring begins from a place of care and plays a critical role in the career development of H.E.L.F. Fellows and program participants. Mentoring will involve the careful selection of experienced leaders and administrators who will serve as advisors and mentors to program participants. Preceptorships will involve placement of H.E.L.F. Fellows with academic administrators in institutional settings to support the development of practical leadership skills.

  2. Executive Coaching and Consultative Services

    Individual professional counseling, advising and training sessions with H.E.L.F. Fellows and participants will be developed and available. Additionally, the H.E.L.F. team will be available to provide consultation to institutional leaders on issues of leadership development.

  3. Building Communities of Practice

    H.E.L.F. will support the development of communities of practitioners and provide a forum for sharing information, insights, best practices, anecdotal and empirical research and professional practice. The communities of practice will also involve extending invitations to practitioners and scholars to provide content for the H.E.L.F. Blog and Podcast to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas.

  4. Leadership Institute

    Annually H.E.L.F. will conduct a four-day conference for H.E.L.F. Fellows and program participants to be immersed in focused discussion and interaction with college and university presidents, administrators, scholars, industry and corporate leaders. Institute attendees will participate in case studies, scenario planning, personal empowerment and spiritual exercises aimed at affirming their commitment to their personal growth, career development and to HBCUs. The Institute culminates with awards acknowledging the life time achievement of a college/university president, innovative leadership and outstanding emerging leadership.