Academic and Administrative Leadership

ODL 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.

ODL 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. RLA is a two-year program for mid-career faculty and staff who aspire to broadened leadership roles within their units, the University and/or higher education, more generally. The Academy is offered by the Center for Organizational Development 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:

RLA 2015-2017

Rutgers Academic Leadership Program (ALP)

The Rutgers Academic Leadership Program (RUALP) provides Rutgers-New Brunswick Deans and Chairs with a forum for addressing theoretical and practical problems of academic leadership, 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.

The program is sponsored by ODL; the Graduate School-NB; Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers-NB; Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; and the School of Communication and Information. Dr. Barbara Bender, Associate Dean, Graduate School-NB; and Dr. Brent Ruben, Distinguished Professor of Communication and Executive Director of ODL serve as program co-chairs. For further information, contact ODL at

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

PreDoctoral Leadership Institute (PLDI)

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 Institute, doctoral students from Rutgers New Brunswick 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.

PLDI is sponsored by the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership (ODL), the Graduate School-New Brunswick, Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers-New Brunswick, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the School of Communication and information. The Click here for details about the Institute

Click here for PreDoctoral Leadership Institute Brochure

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 or Dr. Ralph Gigliotti at 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 Development and Leadership, Leadership Faculty)


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


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


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


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


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

  • Budgeting and Finance in the Academic Health Center


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

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


  • Communication Strategy and Implementation (Center for Organizational Development and 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.

Leadership Assessment

ODL offers the administration, interpretation, and use of assessment tool results for individual leaders and groups and customized facilitation based on the needs and goals of the unit or department. These assessments may be used in conjunction with other ODL programs (i.e., Excellence in Higher Education, Strategic Planning) or offered as a stand-alone two-hour session using:

Clifton StrengthsFinder – Based on a 40-year study of human strengths, Gallup created a language of the 34 most common talents and developed the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment to help individuals discover and describe these talents.

Leadership Competencies Scorecard – The Leadership Competencies Scorecard, developed by Dr. Brent Ruben, provides a competency-based framework that identifies and integrates a diverse array of characteristics described in scholarly and professional writings as being important for effective leadership.

Leadership and Communication Style Inventories – The Leadership Style Inventory and Communication Style Inventory was designed to assist in the reflective learning process and to help people explore and better understand their own approach to leadership by distinguishing two leadership and communication style preferences.

For more information regarding these assessment tools or to discuss how your unit or department may benefit from the inventories, contact Ralph Gigliotti, Assistant Director for Leadership Programs.

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, 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 ODL leadership programs and others on a space available basis. Contact Ralph Gigliotti for information on space availability.

Leadership Lecture Series

The Leadership Lecture Series was created as a forum for the discussion of leadership frameworks, perspectives and experiences, and as a way to showcase research and practical application of such topics as:

  • Critical Issues in Academic Leadership: Findings from the Inside Higher Ed National Survey
    Doug Lederman, Co-founder and Editor, Inside Higher Ed.
  • Ethics in Leadership
    P. Roy Vagelos, MD, Retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co., Inc.
  • Perspectives on Leadership Around the Globe
    Denis Hamilton, Retired Vice President, Business Diagnostics, Johnson & Johnson
  • Change Has No Constituency
    Harvey Nagler, Vice President, CBS News, Radio
  • Accidental Leadership: The Perils of Managing a Business That Gets Everyone’s Attention
    David Stern, Commissioner, NBA
  • Leadership and Civic Responsibility
    Dr. Reginald Jackson, Pastor of St. Matthew African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • How to Be a Leader in Fast Changing Environments…Who You Need to Be
    Mary Baglivo, former President of Arnold Worldwide, NY, and former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Going the Distance
    Dr. Kevin Kennedy, CEO of JDS Uniphase
  • Leading Complex Organizations
    James Cullen, Former President and Chief Operating Officer, Bell Atlantic (now Verizon)
  • Building Knowledge Networks
    Larry Prusak, Consultant and Researcher, Knowledge Management
  • Leading with Vision: Addressing the Challenges of 21st Century Higher Education
    Dr. John Byrne, President Emeritus, Oregon State University and Former Executive Director of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities
  • Leadership Roles in Creating and Evolving a Knowledge-Enabled Organization
    Michael Burtha, Executive Director, Johnson & Johnson Knowledge Networking Group
  • The Role of the Responsible Leader: Building Organization Trust Through Integrity and Service
    Dr. Regan Kenyon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB)
  • Leaders are Great Listeners
    Dr. Steve Adubato, Broadcast Journalist, Lecturer, Author
  • The Emotionally Intelligent Leader
    Dr. Cary Cherniss, Professor, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University, and Co-Chair, Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations
  • Preventing Burnout and Building Engagement
    Dr. Christina Maslach, Professor, Department of Psychology and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • Communicative Imagination
    Dr. Mark Aakhus, Assistant Professor of Communication
    School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University
  • Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Leadership
    Sanford Jaffe and Linda Stamato, Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Rutgers University
  • Relational Leadership in Communities of Practice
    Dr. Susan Komives, Director, College Student Personnel Administration Program,
    University of Maryland, College Park
  • Making Successful Leadership Skills Your Own
    Michael St. Clair, President, Travelers Educators Retirement Services, CitiStreet
  • Leading Change, Leveraging Culture
    Carlos Dominguez, Area Vice President, U.S. Sales, Cisco Systems, Inc.
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