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UTK Leadership Development Program

The application period for the 2021-2022 cohort has now closed, and the cohort has been selected and announced.

The UTK Leadership Development Program (LDP) is a one-year, fellowship-style program that brings together faculty (tenure and non-tenure track) and exempt staff who occupy or intend to occupy leadership positions within the university. Participants will engage in a variety of activities over the course of a full academic year, beginning at the end of the spring term and lasting until the end of the following spring term.

Program Goals

The program is designed to provide mentoring to faculty (tenure and non-tenure track) and exempt staff members who are taking on or contemplating leadership roles at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Program objectives include:

  • Explore leadership theories and models
  • Build self-awareness and strengthen individual unique leadership abilities
  • Become familiar with the overall structure and function of higher education administration
  • Develop leadership skills aimed at improving higher education; and
  • Foster success of those who take on leadership roles.


  • Meet and network with other rising leaders among faculty and staff across the university.
  • Engage in coaching workshops on authentic leadership, leading change, and developing a career plan for lifelong leadership development.
  • Join workshop dialogue sessions with UTK leaders on vital topics including campus budgeting processes, communication, conflict resolution, and career trajectories.
  • Collaborate with other participants and home departments in putting some of the program concepts into action.


All full-time faculty (both tenure and non-tenure track) and exempt staff are eligible. Also, participants in the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program are also automatically enrolled in the UTK LDP. Space is limited to 10-15 participants and preference is given to those newly promoted to leadership positions. If your application is not selected this year, please apply again!


The program requires a one-year commitment. It will begin with an intensive three-day retreat May 12-13, 2021, and will continue with summer readings and reflection, meetings roughly once a month during the fall 2021 and spring 2022 terms, and a two-day wrap-up in May 2022. The program schedule has to remain flexible to some extent, to accommodate guest appearances, but in its most basic form it includes:

  • End of spring term: A kick-off workshop series (two days) on authentic leadership and leading change, with recommendations for summer reading and individual coaching
  • Fall term: Around 3-4 workshop dialogue sessions with UTK leaders
  • Final spring term: Around 3-4 workshop dialogue sessions with UTK leaders
  • Final spring term: The planning of a leadership project, to be developed in consultation with LDP facilitators and the home department or unit
  • End of final spring term: A wrap-up workshop series (two days) returning to the concept of authentic leadership and a career plan for lifelong development

Application Process

The application process for the 2021-2022 UTK LDP cohort is now closed. Applicants and nominees will be reviewed for the following profile:

  • Full-time exempt staff or faculty member (tenure or non-tenure track);
  • Able to commit to the time required for the program (see above);
  • In a leadership position or have an interest in and potential for such a role;
  • Recommended by their dean, department head, supervisor or other relevant administrator; and
  • Characterized by a career record of exemplary academicservice, leadership potential, and consideration of assuming a leadership role at UTK.

Applicants and nominees should submit the following as one document in PDF or Word document format to TLI Special Programs Coordinator Chris Kilgore ( by March 15, 2021.

  • Current resume or vita;
  • Letter(s) of recommendation:  For faculty, one or more letters should come from your dean or department head; for staff, one or more letters should come from your supervisor or other relevant administrator;
  • Short essays (200-500 words each) on the following topics:
    • What would you like to achieve through your participation in the UTK Leadership Program?
    • How long have you been with us at UT, and what are your leadership and career goals?
    • What unique perspectives, background, or experience will you bring to the program?
    • Please briefly describe your efforts, to date, to support diversity, inclusivity, and equity, and/or to build community and collegiality, within your work area. Where and how have you taken the initiative to make things better for your colleagues?

A selection committee will review the packets and make a recommendation to the Provost, with the hope of informing the selected participants of their status before the beginning of April to facilitate unit planning and scheduling.

Contact Information

For questions about the LDP, please contact TLI Special Programs Coordinator Chris Kilgore.