Wheelhouse Institutes

Wheelhouse Institutes


Each year, Wheelhouse curates and convenes two leadership development institutes:

Through both institutes, sitting and aspiring presidents, superintendent/presidents and chancellors build know-how and tenacity, hone student-centered, equity mindsets, and establish lasting and valuable peer networks. 

We tap the experiences of California community college leaders in active learning sessions that challenge assumptions and promote purposeful disruption with the ultimate goal of equitable student success. The curriculum for both institutes features compelling case studies in the California context, experienced and inspiring speakers, personal and organizational analytics, and purposeful time to build lasting professional relationships. The institutes provide both safe ground and spaces to stretch professionally. They are venues for exploring individual leadership performance and collective intelligence for the success of community colleges and the students they serve.

Experienced leadership, curated curriculum: Led by Wheelhouse Chancellor-in-Residence Francisco C. Rodriguez (LACCD) with key contributions from the UC Davis team, the institutes bring participants into dialogue with experts and leaders who help them examine and refine their approach to the students, teams, and institutions they serve. Faculty include:

  • Ed Bush, Cosumnes River College President and Wheelhouse Senior Fellow
  • Matthew Miller, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Team communications and feedback expert Elaine Lin Hering
  • Equity Literacy Institute Founder Paul Gorsky
  • College Presidential Historian Eddie Cole
  • Current and retired CEOs, including Helen Benjamin, Michael Crow, Brice Harris, Thuy Thi Nguyen, Gary May, Eloy Ortiz Oakley and Eduardo Padrón​

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Institutes with an Impact – Wheelhouse Fellow Reflections

“The Wheelhouse team [has] created a safe space to explore, articulate, challenge, develop and model high-impact leadership. Thank you for curating a professional development experience that has been a gift in many ways. The readings have provided critical frameworks for understanding leadership and the changing demands and expectations of the CEO role. The visits from elders…were instructive and provided a counterbalance to the hyper-focus on the urgency of the moment we contend with daily. The words of wisdom, the experience of leaders of color and women inspire and motivate. The respite from the treadmill of our daily existence has been a treasure. Thank you for the time to reflect, to take off the mask and for the time to vision together. Many a week, I call upon the strength and fortitude of Wheelhouse. The relationships developed and fostered at Wheelhouse will sustain me for a life time.”

“This institute impacted my leadership in ways that were tangible, relevant, and grounded in community college students in California. The caliber of learning in this institute makes me want to write and contribute to the literature for our profession. It has been a long time since I have felt this inspired and motivated. I believe that this institute helped me to understand what is possible in my leadership of [the] College.  I feel like I have found my authentic voice as a CEO do good, hard, student-centered, and equity-minded work.”

” I deeply appreciated all the information provided by previous CEOs on the big things like contracts and self-care and the hard things like facing being let go. I learned so much … about approaching the job and about being honest with myself about what my non-negotiables are.”

“The focus on authenticity was refreshing and affirming. The institute allowed me to see the value of my leadership style irrespective of how it aligns with the “norm” and emphasized the value versus the deficit. I feel much more confident in how I show up to lead and engage with my college.”


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