Wheelhouse Institutes


Wheelhouse Institutes

Our yearlong professional and personal development Institute on Leadership is designed for current and aspiring CEOs and senior executives of California community colleges. Using a multi-discipline, multi-lens curriculum, the Institute on Leadership taps the everyday experiences of community college CEOs for intense discourse on organizational change and assumption-challenging debates with business, academic and philanthropic innovators. This is both safe ground and a place to stretch professionally, a venue for exploring individual leadership performance and the collective intelligence of CEO-led executive teams for the ultimate success of students. For 2017, a cohort of 21 Wheelhouse Fellows made up the inaugural class. 

​Three convenings annually: The Institute on Leadership experience includes a 2.5-day foundational convening in March with provocative speakers, compelling case studies, personal and organizational analytics, and reflective assessments of your wheelhouse…the individual and collective zones of power that will advance personal and organizational impact. The March session is followed by two additional two additional convenings, including a 4-day intensive session in July and a 2.5 day culminating session in October.

Tailored themes: Each Institute’s theme is tailored to community college CEO’s needs and interests as identified in the latest Wheelhouse survey research and reflective of current contextual issues and higher education challenges. Session topics focus on leadership performance and analytics, individual, team, and organizational agility, and research and policy know-how.  

Peer learning and support: CEO participants are guided through the Institute experience as a cohort. Individuals will also be asked to bring forward personal goals or college/district-level case scenarios for rich discussion by the group. This workshop-style feedback provides real-world, real-time benefits to both the individual and the group.   

Year-long benefits: Throughout the year, Institute participants will receive communications to enrich and continue relevant discussion. They will be the first to receive new briefs and studies by Wheelhouse research affiliates, and will have unique opportunities to discuss local institutional data with university research staff and develop leadership perspectives, case studies, and policy viewpoints though the Wheelhouse website. The October session will conclude the Institute’s year-long leadership program and each CEO participant will receive a Wheelhouse Leadership certificate issued by the UCD School of Education. 

Q&A: More Information about the Wheelhouse Institute on Leadership:

Why should college leaders challenge their thinking at Wheelhouse?

  • The effectiveness of public higher education is being questioned by students, their families, and by leaders in economic and political arenas because of poor accountability and limited data.
  • Success for all students requires strategic reallocation of resources and optimal use of personnel, financial, technological and physical assets.
  • The pipeline of future community college leaders is severely constricted and the turnover rate of current college CEOs is rising, leaving an essential educational and economic system in jeopardy.
  • Community colleges need thoughtful leaders and focused decision makers to achieve their multi-fold mission.
  • Average CEO tenure is far too brief to ensure leaders can support lasting institutional change and improved effectiveness.

How does a CEO apply for the Institute on Leadership?

  • The initial Wheelhouse Institute is expected to accommodate 20-25 individuals, with the cohort size and shape based on a breadth of experience and diversity of responsibilities that will support engaged group learning.
  • If you are a current or aspiring community college or district CEO, and are interested in participating or learning more, please indicate your interest here.

What distinguishes the Wheelhouse Institute from other leadership programs?

  • Founding organizations, UCD and CCCCO, have merged their research capabilities and field networks to design a program in which sitting and aspiring college CEOs can readily explore and apply new leadership theory, policy development and actionable research.
  • The institute provides a high-support, high-challenge environment for learning and leadership development, a small cohort “space” where leaders can test assumptions and cross-pollinate new ideas in a forward-thinking, bias-free, protected environment.
  • The institute emphasizes contextual learning through diverse and stimulating inputs, drawing from a broad range of experts both within and beyond the field of education.
  • The Institute provides a unique focus on challenges and opportunities that face leaders in the California context. 
  • A Certificate of Completion will be awarded to participants who complete the institute.

What does the Wheelhouse Institute on Leadership aim to instill?

  • Leadership acumen and capabilities for resilient and long-term stewardship.
  • The importance of research and actionable strategies/frameworks for decision-making and institutional transformation.
  • One-on-one and group feedback-seeking techniques and practices to enhance personal and organizational receptivity to change.
  • Ongoing and supportive problem-resolution communications with peers, colleagues, researchers and policy advocates external to CEOs’ home institutions.
  • Commitment to facilitating systemic and lasting positive institutional change.

How do leaders and their organizations benefit from the Wheelhouse Institute on Leadership?

  • Development of individual leadership capabilities and organizational capacity for change.
  • Strategies for creating a collective intelligence with senior level reports and a college-wide energy for innovation and growth.
  • Models and case study references for responding to emerging organizational challenges and issues.
  • Access to a community of trusted colleagues and advisors within the Wheelhouse and among the Institute cohort.
  • Knowledge and skills necessary to support longevity in leadership positions that will ensure the lasting impact of CEO commitment to a college or organization.

Sign up here to join the Wheelhouse email list and receive periodic updates about our research, publications, and leadership institutes.

Sign up here if you are interested in learning more about participation in our institutes.

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Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Visits Fellows
Chancellor Ortiz and Dean Lindstrom engage with Wheelhouse Fellows

During Session 3 of the Wheelhouse Institute on Leadership, the Fellows engaged California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley in a conversation about the important and ambitious goals attached to his strategic vision for the colleges. This session took place in an informal setting conducive to candid sharing of ideas, challenges and aspirations. We’re grateful to the Chancellor Oakley for joining us at UC Davis. 

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Inaugural Class of Wheelhouse Institute on Leadership
Case study with Dr. Miller; research discussion with Professor Kurlaender

On Feb. 3, 2017, Dr. Matt Miller guided the first class of the Wheelhouse Institute on Leadership through its first case studies. He is a lecturer on education and associate dean for learning and teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education specializing in higher education. 

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Wheelhouse Institute welcome reception and dinner
21 Wheelhouse Fellows make up the inaugural class

The inaugural class of Wheelhouse Fellows got together with others from the Wheelhouse program on Feb. 2, 2017 for a reception and dinner. Our yearlong professional and personal development Institute on Leadership is designed for current and aspiring CEOs and senior executives of California community colleges.

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