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About the Leading Change Institute

For information about the LCI application form, selection process, and tuition, visit the Apply page. Click here for prior Institutes’ participant lists.

The Leading Change Institute is designed for leaders in higher education, including CIOs, librarians, information technology professionals, and administrators, who are interested in working collaboratively to promote and initiate change on critical issues affecting the academy.

LCI fellows are willing and eager to explore different models and take risks. They have a commitment to, and talent for, leadership within higher education. They understand and appreciate the environment outside their immediate surroundings; they strive to build bridges between people, departments and institutions; they are critical thinkers and dynamic and creative problem-solvers. Successful candidates demonstrate their strengths and leadership ability in these areas in their applications.

Selection to the Institute is competitive. Each class cohort reflects the diverse and dynamic spectrum of experience found in the current higher education workplace. Leaders with at least seven years’ experience in the college or university environment are invited to apply, as are those who come from business, governmental or non-profit backgrounds. Because the Institute is continually evolving to reflect and address current issues, those who have attended previous Institutes are also welcome to apply.


Joanne Kossuth and Elliott Shore, leading LCI since 2013

Photo: Joanne Kossuth
Joanne Kossuth

Joanne Kossuth is the chief operations officer for Lesley University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is responsible for academic and online learning, administrative and enterprise computing, library information services, business intelligence, facilities, dining, events, campus planning and project management, transportation, and public safety. Current initiatives include campus master planning, capital planning, identity management, remote work facilitation, hybrid classroom technology upgrades and student services improvements.

Joanne also serves as principal in her consulting services company, 1MountainRoad. 1MountainRoad specializes in strategic business process re-engineering, aspirant and leadership development, human capital management and team building, and collaboration and services implementations. Recent work includes leadership institutes for digital professionals on a variety of campuses, faculty engagement sessions, and planning for change initiatives.

Photo: Elliott Shore
Elliott Shore

Elliott Shore served as executive director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), a North American membership group of 125 research libraries, from 2013-2017 and then as senior advisor to the board in 2018. He engaged in a listening tour of three-quarters of the 125 member institutions and led a strategic thinking and design process that developed a system of action for the organization to innovate change in research library management. During that period, he was appointed to the executive board of the American Council on Education (ACE). His previous service includes library director at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton New Jersey and library director, chief information officer and professor of history at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.


The Digital Leadership Institute

In 1995, CLIR and Emory University jointly sponsored a meeting to consider the mix of skills and educational background necessary for the successful management of 21st century information services. The meeting was attended by library directors, provosts, directors of information technology, library-school faculty, and a library school dean. As a result of this meeting CLIR and Emory University commissioned a plan for a new Institute, to be called the Digital Leadership Institute (DLI), “to effect fundamental change in the way universities manage their information resources in the new digital era…instilling new methods and practices and creating a new information culture.” The mission:

To provide continuing education opportunities for individuals who currently hold, or will one day assume, positions that make them responsible for transforming the management of scholarly information in the higher education community. These individuals are likely to be mid-career and come from libraries, administrative staffs, computer centers and information-technology divisions, and faculties.

CLIR formed a small advisory group and attended the December 1997 CAUSE conference to discuss the need for such a program. CAUSE was then in the process of merging with EDUCOM, and they were also running a successful management institute. CAUSE – soon to become EDUCAUSE – believed the DLI would be complementary to existing opportunities, and they became a full partner in the enterprise.

The Frye Leadership Institute​

Photograph of Billy Frye
Billy Frye, 1933-2017

In 1999, funding from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation supported the launch of the Institute, which was designed to run for ten years. At that time it was renamed the “Frye Leadership Institute” in honor of Billy E. Frye, who served as provost, and later chancellor, of Emory University; as a member of CLIR’s board; and as a distinguished leader in higher education.

The Frye Leadership Institute welcomed the first class of students in 2000. During its initial 10-year run, the Institute established a curriculum wherein students participated in a two-week series of lectures at Emory University followed by a year-long independent practicum at their home institution. Between 2000 and 2009, more than 450 professionals from the U.S. and around the world participated in the program and it became recognized as one of the finest of its kind in the United States.

In 2010 CLIR and EDUCAUSE called for a one-year hiatus in the program in order to assess and articulate the depth and consequence of changes that had taken place in the field of higher education since the Institute’s conception. They evaluated the feedback provided by Institute participants over the previous ten years and explored several different models reflecting higher education’s emerging challenges and leadership needs. Their analysis brought them to a view of leadership development not as a program where participants are taught, but as an exchange among colleagues.

A New Approach

In 2011 the Institute’s organizers tested several new approaches focused on the curriculum and general program. These included a greater emphasis on student projects; a more conversational approach between speakers and students; and a shorter time span, from ten days to six, to better accommodate participants’ increasingly busy schedules. After surveying the class of 2011 and following extensive interviews with the class mentors, all of whom were Institute alumni, the program sponsors decided to relocate the Institute to Washington, D.C. in 2012. The new location conformed to the recommendations of the students and mentors: to have easy and close access to different venues beyond the host hotel for project planning; a more varied setting to strengthen the social network so essential to the Institute experience; and to provide a venue whereby distinguished guests could more readily join the Institute’s conversations.

The Leading Change Institute​

As the successor to the Frye Leadership Institute, the Leading Change Institute is built upon the very successful model introduced in June 2012. The landscape of higher education has evolved considerably since 1995 and, as reflected in the Institute’s new name, the need for creative, visionary leaders is vital.

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