University Leadership Program

Northern Arizona University is inviting faculty and staff to participate in a leadership development program that brings together partners from all over campus to help prepare the next generation of higher education leaders. 

Faculty and staff at every level are encouraged to apply or nominate a coworker for the University Leadership Program. 

The next cohort begins in the fall and those selected will represent a wide variety of populations on campus. The seventh class of participants will graduate on May 3. 

Participants explore leadership skills, discuss challenges facing the university and higher education across the nation and gain an understanding of how the Arizona university system functions. Other topics will include strategic planning and budgeting and how both serve to advance the overall mission of NAU. 

The program is aimed at identifying, informing and investing in future university leaders while breaking down barriers. It’s proving to be a successful model, according to some in this first class of participants.

“This program has really opened my eyes about the complexity of issues that I previously thought of as straightforward,” said Maribeth Watwood, professor and chair of biology. “It has been very interesting to view the university through the lenses of different divisions. I would recommend that anyone interested in learning more about how decisions are made, and the myriad considerations involved, apply to the program.”

Jessica Fitchett, fiscal operations manager for the College of Health and Human Services, said the experience has been “incredible” because of the access she’s had to campus leaders and invited speakers.

“The whole program is fascinating and helped me to narrow my own focus in my job to further align it with the university goals and mission,” Fitchett said.

The leadership program kicks off with a retreat in September. Subsequent sessions will be held on campus on one Friday each month through May. Participants must commit time for preparation in addition to attending each session.

Applications must be submitted electronically to by 5 p.m. May 1. To submit an application or to acquire additional information, contact Joanne Keene, executive vice president and chief of staff, at (928) 523-7478.