Introducing the Next Leaders Fellowship

Pursuing a vision where all information and technology professionals have the opportunities, support, and advocacy to achieve senior leadership roles.


Enhance and develop the perspectives, skills, and experiences required to be an exceptional senior information and technology (IT) leader in higher education.


Dialogue with and learn alongside Next Leaders Fellowship mentors who are accomplished senior IT leaders with a wealth of experiences across a range of institutions and organizations.


Engage in a community that is intentionally building the kind of network of colleagues, mentors, search firms, and institutional leaders that can make the difference in advancing your career.

About the Next Leaders Fellowship

The Idea

Next Leaders Fellowship (NLF) is building a framework to identify, develop, and advocate for information and technology professionals in higher education, with a special emphasis on those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC). NLF will recruit participants into a one-year cohort experience where they will be mentored by accomplished senior leaders committed to supporting their professional growth. This effort is not seeking to replace existing leadership development programs, but instead will complement them by explicitly recruiting a cohort of diverse candidates, creating a community among and around them, and providing mentorship and coaching throughout the program year.


The composition of higher education senior information and technology leaders continues to be overwhelmingly white and male. This demographic make up no longer reflects the realities of the institutions we serve or our communities. As recently as 2018, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) reported that 3% of higher education IT Administrators are Black/African American and 3% Hispanic/Latino, and experience suggests these data are worse for the senior-most roles such as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). A growing community of professional organizations and educational institutions are increasing efforts to use their platforms and networks to address these issues. Yet, the reality remains that far too few information and technology professionals who identify as BIPOC have access to the networks, professional development, and stretch experiences that are often required to attain these senior roles.

The Fellowship

NLF will work to address these gaps by building a supporting framework to identify, develop, and advocate for talented BIPOC information and technology professionals in higher education. NLF will recruit participants who will spend a year in a cohort experience to support their professional growth. Through the program year NLF will provide professional development experiences covering topics that include emotional intelligence, organizational behavior, budgets and financial planning, and design thinking. Mentored by a group of accomplished senior information and technology leaders, the cohort will have a space to explore how their identities as BIPOC professionals may influence and shape how they navigate their careers.

Notably, NLF will include conversations with higher education leaders across varied institutional roles and institution types. These sessions will explore insights from the experiences and perspectives of these leaders, while creating opportunities for the NLF cohort to engage with them. Woven through the NLF year will be ongoing experiences focused on career development—preparing for senior roles, the application process and making a case for yourself, negotiation, starting new roles well, etc. Additionally, NLF will engage participants in conversations with search consultants and firms to broaden the portfolio of candidates the firms are considering, and develop relationships participants can turn to as they progress through their careers.

Importantly, NLF is not seeking to compete with or replace existing management and leadership development programs. Instead, the NLF will serve as an interconnecting resource—explicitly recruiting a cohort of diverse candidates, creating a community among and around them, and providing mentorship and coaching throughout the program year. Additionally, NLF will cover the cost of the registration, and travel for other program experiences, including supporting and advocating for participation in one existing senior-level leadership development program in the NLF year.

In parallel, NLF will host experiences to engage with institutional leaders, human resources professionals, search consulting firms, and other interested parties on how together we can update recruiting practices that too often result in BIPOC candidates not successfully advancing. These efforts will also help inform and refine NLF content and structure.


Held in conjunction with the 2022 NERCOMP annual conference, the NLF Kickoff Experience will engage Fellows, Mentors, and Sponsors in a series of conversations and exercises to identify areas of focus and develop individualized plans of action for the program year. Examples include:

  • NLF Program introduction
  • Community building with participants and mentors
  • Personal and group assessment (e.g. Belbin, Birkman Assessment, StrengthsFinder)
  • Designing Your Life (DYL) workshop
  • Mindful self-compassion and approaches to self-care
  • Creating participant-specific personal development plans
  • Example topics include:
    • Recruiting, hiring, and team development
    • How our identities shape our experiences and leadership
    • Considerations of intersectionality
    • Relationships and communications
    • Leadership (e.g. styles, approaches, frameworks)
    • The diversity bonus
  • Guest panelists and speakers
    • Presidents and institutional leaders
    • Association leaders (e.g. CUPA-HR, NACUBO)
  • Career development
    • NLF search firm partners and HR professionals
  • Closer engagement between participants and mentors
  • Reflection on and reinforcement of the monthly sessions
    • More space to continue the dialogue
    • Perhaps useful to schedule a week after the monthly group conversation

Each NLF participant will be sponsored to participate in one professional development experience such as the EDUCAUSE Institutes, Leading Change Institute, MOR Leaders program, or ITSMF Academies.

Sponsorship will include registration, travel, and hotel costs, as well as advocacy through NLF in support of their application to the program.

In conjunction with the 2022 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, the Fellowship will hold a retreat to bring the cohort together and build on their experiences thus far in the program. Registration and travel costs will be sponsored by NLF.

The retreat will include:

  • Community building with participants and mentors
  • Engagement with the broader higher education IT community
  • Fellowship sessions with constituent groups such as the Diversity in IT, Women in IT, and LGBTQIA
  • Small group conversations with senior IT leaders across the community

In conjunction with the 2023 NERCOMP Annual Conference, NLF will invite participants to a celebration of the completion of their cohort year, as well as to engage with the incoming NLF cohort which will begin their experience at that time.

  • Capstone celebration of completing the program
  • Participant reflections from their learning
  • Participant feedback to enhance NLF
  • Launching of a NLF alumni network

Costs and Sponsorship

Program expenses for each NLF participant are budgeted at $10,000. Thanks to the generous support of Bowdoin College and the NLF sponsors and partners, the cost to each NLF participant will be $1,000.

Additionally, to prevent cost from being a barrier a limited number of scholarships are available to participants to further reduce the cost of the program. Applicants are encouraged to indicate if scholarship support will be required as part of their application for the program.

Fellowship Mentors


Sherri Braxton

Senior Director for Digital Innovation
Bowdoin College

Steven Burrell

Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Northern Arizona University


Michael Cato

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Bowdoin College

**Fellowship Director


Raechelle Clemmons

Leader, Higher Education Business Development & Strategy
Amazon Web Services (AWS)


Tonjia Coverdale

Associate Vice President, Finance Technology
Nationwide Insurance

Keith ‘Mac’ McIntosh

Vice President for Information Services and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
University of Richmond


Kimberley Marshall

Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Morehouse College


Tony Moore

Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Prairie View A&M University

José Rodriguez

Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Pomona College


Jenn Stringer

Associate Vice Chancellor for IT and Chief Information Officer
University of California, Berkeley


Stan Waddell

Vice President for Information Technology and CIO
Carnegie Mellon University


Cheryl Washington

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
University of California, Davis


Fellowship Sponsors and Partners

The NLF is made possible with the generous support of these organizations.

Bowdoin College logo


Bowdoin College


Next Generation logo


Next Generation Partners




Diversified Search Group




Opus Partners







NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP)



MOR Logo


MOR Associates




Learn more about the NLF application process

When and how can I apply for the NLF?

The application period for the NLF 2022-2023 cohort has closed. The program team is working to announce the inaugural class by mid December.


Please use these links to view and print a copy of the Eligibility Quiz and Application as well:

Next Leaders Fellowship Eligibility Quiz

Next Leaders Fellowship Application - 2021-10-31

Who is eligible to apply for the NLF?

  • Identify as being from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, based on the categories outlined by the US Census Bureau or Statistics Canada as well as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people classifications
  • Higher-education Information and Technology professionals
    • Inclusive of roles in central or distributed  IT organizations, as well as functional technologists who serve in offices across their institution such as admissions, development, financial aid, human resources, and libraries
  • Mid-to-senior level professionals
    • Especially those who are interested in pursuing the senior-most seat in an information and technology organization such as Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer

What is expected of NLF Fellows?

  • Fellows should expect to dedicate approximately four to six hours each week for the duration of the fellowship
  • Fellows will be expected to attend and fully engage in fellowship programming and events
    • This includes attending the initial retreat aligned with the 2022 NERCOMP annual conference and the mid-program retreat aligned with the 2022 EDUCAUSE annual conference

NLF Applicant Selection Criteria

Eligible candidates from all types of higher-ed institution types are welcome to apply to be a NLF Fellow. Selection of Fellows will be based on the criteria below.

Selection Criteria Areas

Commitment to addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion 30
Leadership experiences and perspectives 30
Knowledge of and engagement in the higher education IT community 20
Potential for future growth and opportunities 20

Total Score



Application Scoring Criteria

Commitment to Addressing Issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

(30 points)
Applicant addresses the value they experience in addressing issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in higher education IT organizations.  10
Applicant addresses the opportunities and challenges of navigating their higher education IT career through the lenses of their identity. 10
Applicant represents at least one aspect of the diversity profile of groups historically underrepresented in higher education IT senior leadership ranks.

Diversity in Higher Education Information Technology: From Today’s Workforce to Tomorrow’s Leaders, CUPA-HR, July 2019


Leadership Experiences and Perspectives

(30 points)
Applicant demonstrates management and/or leadership experiences in professional, personal, or civic settings 10
Applicant demonstrates experience addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within their spheres of influence 10
Applicant describes professional, academic, or personal involvement in ways relevant to the Fellowship’s vision and mission of supporting and advocating for others. 10

Knowledge of and Engagement in the Higher Education IT Community

(20 points)
Applicant demonstrates an understanding of and appreciation for the richness of the higher education landscape. 5
Applicant articulates examples of how IT supports and expands on the mission of academic institutions. 5
Applicant has been active in and provided other contributions to the broader higher education community (e.g., participation in a review team, volunteering at regional events, writing about related topics and events, mentoring newcomers) 10

Potential for Future Growth and Opportunities

(20 points)
Applicant expresses and demonstrates an interest and passion to be a senior leader, an advocate for others, and an active contributor to the higher education IT community. 20

Contact Us

Interested in learning more about NLF?
Would you like to be notified when the application process launches?

Please sign up for the NLF mailing list here:

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Thank you for subscribing to the Next Leaders Fellowship (NLF) communication list.

For general inquiries please email info(at)nextleadersfellowship.org.

Thank you!

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