Advancing Leaders Institute

Advancing Leaders Institute (ALI)

Vice Presidents - Vice Chancellors - Cabinet-Level Administrators

The Wheelhouse Advancing Leaders Institute (ALI) is an annual professional growth and networking experience that develops and supports a diverse new generation of equity-focused California community college leaders who are nimble, innovative, highly networked, data-driven, and representative of students they will serve. The ALI is designed to support and diversify a critical pipeline of community college presidents and chancellors for California, and extends opportunities for historically underrepresented college leader candidates to explore and prepare for the CEO-ship.
The 2024 ALI cohort includes 25 cabinet-level California community college administrators representing 25 colleges and districts that collectively serve three-quarters of a million students at colleges and districts in urban, suburban and rural communities statewide. Their current roles include vice presidents, vice chancellors, associate vice chancellors as well as an interim chancellor and acting president. Their spheres of responsibility range from instruction to student services to administrative services. 

Two In-Person Convenings

The ALI is designed to support aspiring community college CEOs as they develop adaptive leadership capacity, fluency in facilitating conversations and decisions that improve racial equity and social justice, expertise in strategic communications, and acumen in using data and research to inform good decisions. Mastery of these skills is critical preparation for ascendancy as a CEO. We pay particular attention to capacities necessary for success in California.

The Advancing Leaders Institute consists of 7-8 days of face-to-face learning and networking interspersed with several remote learning sessions, including:

  • A 4-day foundational convening in the summer.
  • A 3 or 4-day convening in the fall.
  • Several short, intentional remote learning sessions to build cohort connections and sustain learning trajectories both before and in between the onsite sessions.
  • Group coaching opportunities for growth in particular domains. 


We tap real-time community college challenges and innovations to develop teaching cases for lively, interactive seminars. The table is set for robust examination of leadership theory, strategic communications, leading for equity and institutional change. Institute themes are tailored to community college senior leadership needs and the current California context.  

Additional curricular components include:

Self-assessment and mentorship: Taking stock of strengths and challenges through comprehensive self-assessment developed by Wheelhouse for future community college leaders. Mentoring and coaching will guide reflection and goal setting.

Communicating vision: Crafting and effectively communicating a vision for your institution—a key capacity for any aspiring CEO.

Development of policy savvy and political currency: Real-time learning on California policy developments in motion and guidance on successful engagement in the policy arena.

Board and community dynamics: Communicating with and managing the relationship with elected boards.  

Positioning for the next move: Exploration of the right timing for ascendancy, examining “fit” between candidates and colleges, the importance of success in the first presidency, and how to position CVs and other collateral to qualify for the interview round.

The ALI Funders

Wheelhouse is grateful to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and ECMC Foundation for their generous support of the Advancing Leaders Institute. Because of our generous funders, Wheelhouse is able to cover tuition through scholarship for the 2024 ALI Cohort 2. 

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