ORIGIN AND PURPOSE OF LEADERSHIP AND MENTORING INSTITUTE
The concept of the Leadership and Mentoring Institute was initiated in the fall of 1996 by members of the Black Caucus of the former American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). Concerned with the decline in professional development workshops the Caucus sought a way to address this issue. However, what became apparent while the idea was in its infancy was a need for more intensive, sustained, and coherent professional development opportunities for African Americans desiring to advance through the academy’s administrative and professional ranks. The Caucus wanted to provide an experience to mitigate the effect of the glass ceiling in higher education for African Americans, who would cite isolation and a lack of support needed to be successful. To this end, the Board requested that members of the AAHE Executive Board develop a program that would identify and encourage professionals to engage in professional development experiences in higher education. Discussions at two “Summits on Blacks in Higher Education” focused on gathering data and sharing ideas for how to address the problem. One concrete solution that surfaced was to sponsor a Leadership and Mentoring Institute for Caucus members and other African Americans to help them acquire information and skills to prepare for senior administrative positions and senior academic rank. The inaugural Leadership and Mentoring Institute, held in 2003 on the campus of Savannah State University under the leadership of Dr. Joseph H. Silver, Sr., instituted two tracks for participants. One track was for those seeking to move into senior administrative positions and the other track was for junior faculty hoping to move into the tenured senior academic ranks.
The Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI) was designed to help African Americans become acquainted with the issues and challenges they must be aware of so they can overcome them in order to be considered for senior administrative positions or gain tenure and progress through the academic ranks. Additionally, the LMI assists participants in addressing the unique and often difficult challenges they face as faculty or administrators of color. As a benefit to the colleges and universities, the Institute focuses on helping African American leaders to acquire the skills necessary to help move their institutions forward. The Institute develops the participants’ capacity to think through complex issues in a changing educational context as well as their capacity for collaborative leadership. Participants are exposed to leaders from various disciplines and functional areas, who have successfully navigated the higher education maze. A network of mentors to guide participants in moving to the next phase of academic leadership is offered through LMI alumni and members of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education.
The mission of AABHE LMI is to prepare African-Americans in higher education for leadership positions as faculty or administrators by providing a forum to acquire skills, knowledge, and networks to facilitate their aspirations.
The vision of AABHE LMI is to become the leading and relevant professional development experience for African Americans in higher education to enhance their leadership capacities and improve their opportunities for advancement in higher education.