Next Leaders Fellowship Aims to Increase Number of BIPOC Professionals in Senior Roles in Higher Ed IT
Next Leaders Fellowship (NLF) is building a framework to bring more Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) into the ranks of senior leadership within higher education information technology.
Bowdoin College is the lead sponsor of the NLF program in partnership with NERCOMP and EDUCAUSE, two nonprofit professional associations working to advance higher education through the use of information technology.
NLF will recruit participants into a one-year program, during which they will be mentored by accomplished senior leaders committed to supporting their professional growth.
“More diverse teams working in inclusive environments are better at solving complex problems because they have access to a wider array of novel approaches, and they are more willing to consider and pursue them,” said Michael Cato, NLF director and senior vice president and chief information officer at Bowdoin College. “This is IT’s core job.”
This effort does not seek to replace existing leadership development programs, but instead will complement them by explicitly recruiting a cohort of diverse candidates, creating a community around them, and providing mentorship and coaching throughout the program year.
“These are professionals who are really investing in mid-level professionals aspiring to be in senior leadership positions in information technology or academic technology,” said Jase Teoh, director of academic technology at California State University–Stanislaus and one of twelve selected for NLF’s inaugural cohort.
In her application, Teoh wrote about the importance of mentorship and expressed “the need to look for more diverse, equitable, and inclusive voices around the CIO table, particularly those in more senior positions.”