Leadership Programs

OL Leadership Education Curriculum


Public research universities are exceedingly complex organizations, each composed of an array of academic, administrative, student, and service units; with multiple missions which are not always fully compatible and diverse constituencies with their own distinct perspectives and priorities – resulting in numerous obstacles to organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Each organizational unit and leadership role within a college or university is distinct in terms of the discipline, technical skill, and programs and services involved, and the organizational contexts in which these leaders operate but the same fundamental challenges are present.

A vertical approach to leadership and organizational education emphasizes the positional competencies unique to a particular role or position. A horizontal approach emphasizes non-context-specific, cross-cutting organizational leadership competencies that transcend specific settings and sectors— the personal, organizational, communication and analytic competencies that have increasingly been recognized as essential for outstanding leadership.

The position and context specific leadership competencies which constitute the vertical approach to organizational and leadership education are generally best developed within disciplinary, work, and experiential settings.

OL programs and services focus on the cross-cutting competencies in order to promote organizational advancement through the development, study and adoption of best practices; to develop increased internal capacity for leadership among our existing academic and administrative leaders; and to develop leaders of the future.

Rutgers Leadership Academy (RLA)

Rutgers Leadership Academy (RLA) focuses on the development of cross-cutting leadership concepts, competencies, and tools to enhance professional capabilities for those in academic, professional and administrative leadership roles. The Academy is offered by the Center for Organizational Leadership with sponsorship from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers-New Brunswick. See the links below for additional details of the RLA program.

Rutgers Leadership Program featured in Chronicle of Higher Education

What Fellows said About Their RLA Experience

RLA 2017-2019

Contact us for more information: rulead@nullol.rutgers.edu

RLA 2015-2017

Rutgers Academic Leadership Program (RUALP)

The Rutgers Academic Leadership Program (RUALP) provides academic leaders with a forum for discussing leadership issues and challenges, sharing effective practices across disciplines, disseminating information on policies and practices, and creating a collaborative network of administrators and faculty members charged with providing academic leadership for the institution.

RUALP consists of breakfast seminars, invitational guest speakers, and other events.

The program is sponsored by OL, School of Graduate Studies, School of Communication and Information, and Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Barbara Bender, Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies; and Dr. Brent Ruben, Distinguished Professor of Communication and Executive Director of OL serve as program co-chairs. For further information, contact OL at ALP@nullol.rutgers.edu.

Click here for RUALP brochure.

Breakfast Discussion Series

The Breakfast Discussion Series provides academic administrators the opportunity to discuss topics of local and national interest, explore a variety of common leadership concerns, and enhance relationships and information sharing with colleagues from various disciplines across the university.

Resources for Deans and Chairs

Useful Articles

Academic Leadership Program @ RBHS

The Academic Leadership Program @ RBHS will be available beginning in the Fall 2018 for RBHS department chairs, clinical chiefs/directors, Vice Chairs, Vice Deans, and Associate Deans. The aim of the leadership development program is to provide an integrated and cohesive orientation to leadership and organizational concepts and competencies, in the context of current biomedical and health sciences challenges and opportunities at the national and state level, and within Rutgers and RBHS. More information, including nomination criteria and a schedule of sessions, will be made available in Spring 2018.

The program is co-sponsored by OL and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). For further information, contact OL at center@nullol.rutgers.edu.

PreDoctoral Leadership Development Academy (PLDA)

In its eighth year, the PreDoctoral Leadership Academy (PLDA), formerly called the PreDoctoral Leadership Development Institute, is now a streamlined one-year program. This unique program is designed to provide doctoral students selected as Fellows with an orientation to current practices and challenges in higher education, and knowledge of the organizational, analytic, communication, and personal competencies recognized as critical to effective leadership across multiple organizational settings.

About PLDA
Traditional discipline-based doctoral education is devoted to preparing students for careers in scholarship and teaching, but often these future faculty members complete their degree with little preparation for academic and administrative leadership roles in their institutions. A critical need exists for individuals who also understand the structure and dynamics of colleges and universities, know the challenges these institutions face, and possess the interpersonal and organizational knowledge and competencies to provide effective and ethical leadership in addressing the critical issues confronting higher education.

The PLDA program was created to provide a complement to discipline-based study by offering experiential and classroom opportunities that emphasize leadership style and strategy, collaborative decision-making, planning and organizational assessment, communication with internal and external constituencies, and other knowledge and skill-sets important to informal and formal leadership and professional advancement.

PLDA is offered by the Center for Organizational Leadership with support from the School of Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences-NB, and the School of Communication and Information. Contributions in support of OL leadership programs have been provided by Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, the Mellon Foundation, Anne Thomas, Francis and Mary Kay Lawrence, and other Rutgers faculty and staff. Core faculty for the Institute come from the School of Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences-NB, and the School of Communication and Information, as well as other faculty from other universities.

Why a PreDoctoral Program?

While it may be years before new doctoral graduates move into formal leadership roles, leadership expertise is needed immediately for working in teams and workgroups, pursuing research funding and support, participating in mentoring and advising relationships with students and colleagues, and for assuming the many informal leadership roles at their institutions. Through participation in the Academy, students can become more effective members of the academic community, more capable leaders and collaborators within their disciplines and their future places of employment, and for these reasons, more marketable and well-prepared for influential careers.


PLDA is open to any Rutgers University doctoral student from Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and RBHS. The program invites nominations for student from all disciplines within the university and encourages nominations from women and minorities in order to enhance diversity among future academic administrators nationally.

Students who wish to be considered for participation in the program will need to be nominated by a program director, department chair, dean, or vice-president. For students who wish to discuss the possibility of nominating themselves, please contact Barbara Bender.

Fellows must be able to attend all of the in-person classes on Fridays from 9:00 am – 11:15 am in New Brunswick.
Fellows who successfully complete the one-year program will be awarded a $1,000 honorarium. Fellows’ completion of the program will also be recognized on their academic transcripts.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018-2019 program.

Questions can be directed to plda@nullol.rutgers.edu.

News Coverage




Distinction in Leadership in Academic Healthcare

The Distinction in Leadership in Academic Healthcare program is offered by the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine in collaboration with the Rutgers Center for Organizational Development and Leadership. Contact Dr. Carol Terregino at terregca@nullrwjms.rutgers.edu or Dr. Ralph Gigliotti at ralph.gigliotti@nullrutgers.edu for further information or questions.

Program Objectives

  • Identify the challenges and opportunities associated with leadership in academic medical centers
  • Gain a greater understanding of fundamental perspectives and concepts of leadership and communication, along with a better understanding of the structure and landscape of academic medicine and academic medical center
  • Increase understanding of important dimensions of administration, including organizational structure and mission, finance and budgeting, legal and regulatory issues, diversity, and ethics, along with specific tools needed for leadership in academic medical centers.
  • Interact with senior leaders from the academic medical center and higher education more broadly
  • Enhance personal and professional leadership competencies in formal and informal settings
  • Learn from the experiences of others through a four-week field experience
  • Lead a field-based project from conception through completion

Overall Program Goals

  • As a result of participating in the program, students will gain a deeper understanding of their individual leadership and communication styles.
  • As a result of participating in the program, students will use their own leadership and communication behaviors to lead effectively within the Academic Health Center.

Program Methods

  • 16 suggested didactic sessions and two independent or small group sessions organized to meet these objectives.
  • In addition to these session students will participate in a practicum component and prepare a scholarly project
    • Practicum component – Two administrative internships of at least four weeks duration
      • Field-based projects under the mentorship of senior campus leaders.
    • Scholarly project – Author a publication-ready manuscript and present the project at an annual symposium
      • The Distinction in Leadership Committee will review project proposals and approve final scholarly projects

  • Brief Overview Of Academic Medicine (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Academic Health Center Faculty)
  • What is Leadership (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Communication and Connections (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)
  • Communication Style Assessment (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Competency Approach to Leadership (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Formal and Informal Roles and Responsibilities (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Current Challenges in the Academic Medical Center; Multiple Missions (RWJMS faculty and Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Challenges in the Academic Health Center; Organization and culture (RWJMS Academic Health Center Faculty)
  • Organizational Cultures (Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Strategic Planning ; Core Concepts and Critical Steps (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Understanding and Leading Change (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)

  • Budgeting and Finance in the Academic Health Center


  • Metrics and Continuous Quality Improvement (RWJMS Academic Health Faculty and Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Managing Labor Relations and Human Resources in The Academic Health Center


  • Legal and Regulatory Issues in Academic Health Centers

  • Information Technology and Clinical Infomatics


  • The Art of Negotiation


  • The Future of Academic Medicine


  • Crisis Leadership (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)

  • Leadership Self assessment (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


  • Communication Strategy and Implementation (Center for Organizational Leadership, Leadership Faculty)
Ruben, B. D., De Lisi, R., & Gigliotti, R. A. (2016). A guide for leaders in higher education: Core concepts, competencies, and tools. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Ruben, B. D. & Gigliotti, R. A. (2016). Leadership as social influence: An alternative view of leadership communication theory and practice. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Ruben, B. D. (2016). The excellence in higher education guide: A framework for the design, assessment, and continuous improvement of institutions, departments and programs (8th ed.). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing

Ruben, B. D. (2012). What leaders need to know and do: A leadership competencies scorecard (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Ruben, B. D. (2011). Understanding, planning and leading organizational change. Washington, DC: National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Ruben, B. D., Russ, T., Smulowitz, S. M., & Connaughton, S. L. (2007). Evaluating the impact of organizational self-assessment in higher education: The Malcolm Baldrige/Excellence in Higher Education framework. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 28(3), 230–250.

Tromp, S. A., & Ruben, B. D. (2010). Strategic planning in higher education: A guide for leaders. (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: NACUBO.

Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Leadership Programs

Rutgers-New Brunswick is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA). Through the Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers-New Brunswick, the university is actively engaged with the BTAA in areas related to leadership development, among others, and our affiliation will provide a variety of opportunities for Rutgers faculty and academic administrators. For further information on BTAA activities related to leadership development go to http://www.btaa.net/faculty/academic-leadership-development, or contact: Karen Stubaus or Brent Ruben, who serve as Rutgers liaisons to these programs.

One of the BTAA leadership initiatives is the Academic Leadership Program. Established in 1989, this intensive experience develops the leadership and managerial skills of faculty who have demonstrated exceptional ability and academic promise. Many of the programs’ nearly 1000 Fellows have gone on to serve with distinction as college presidents, provosts, and deans. The Leadership Program consists of three seminars hosted by different BTAA universities. In addition, Academic Leadership Program Fellows often participate in on-campus activities throughout the academic year at their home institution. The program is specifically oriented to address the challenges of academic administration at major research universities and to help faculty members prepare to meet them. Academic Leadership Program Fellows are selected by their respective institutions.

Snapshots of Academic and Senior Administrator Leadership Programs at Big Ten Academic Alliance Universities

Advancing Leadership Development in Higher Education: The CIC and Rutgers

A Conversation about Campus Leadership and Leadership Development, Brent D. Ruben, Prepared for the Big Ten Academic Alliance Rutgers Academic Leadership Program/Departmental Executive Officers Conference, July 17, 2014

Leadership at Lunch Seminars

These “brown bag” lunch seminars address a variety of skills, topics, and tools of relevance to current and aspiring leaders with an interest in higher education leadership.

Two lunch-time sessions per semester and a Higher Education Leadership Lecture by a national higher education leader are offered to individuals participating in OL leadership programs and others on a space available basis. Contact Ralph Gigliotti for information on space availability.

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