Welcome to the Leadership Education for Advancement and Promotion program.
LEAP began at CU Boulder in 2001 as an Institutional Transformation Grant funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, 3.5 million, and the University of Colorado Boulder ($900,000). The following seven years were an effort to strike a balance between research, workshops and events with the goal to recruit and retain faculty on the Boulder campus. With a great deal of support from now Chancellor Phil DiStefano, LEAP has become an institutionalized program funded by the University of Colorado Boulder, located in the office of Faculty Affairs. Jeff Cox, AVC Faculty Affairs, has played an integral role in creating an appropriate home for the program, increasing in scope the role of Faculty Affairs in supporting faculty on this campus.
The goal of the LEAP Program is to support faculty at all levels: Assistant, Associate, Full Professors. For Assistant Professors, pre-tenured faculty, we run a 2 day skill-based workshop. Sessions include time management, negotiation, difficult conversations, tenure review and a conversation about teaching. The sessions are presented by tenured faculty and administrators and the workshop seeks to connect the participants to the larger community of colleagues on campus. In addition to the above material covered in each session, the participants have the opportunity to get to know others from across campus – realizing in the process they are not ‘alone’ in navigating this path to tenure. For the associate professor rank, each year LEAP awards Associate Professor Growth Grants. These small awards each academic year help faculty to fund changes in research direction as well as completion of projects/books/travel needed for a faculty member to go forward with the process of promotion to full professor. We have certainly discovered with these awards that a small amount of money can make a significant difference in a faculty member’s research progress. The call for the grants goes out in the month of March for the upcoming academic year.
The culture and leadership in an academic department has a significant impact on junior faculty in the unit. For that reason and more, LEAP provides leadership opportunities for department chairs and directors in the form of a one-day retreat as well as informal topic-based lunches during the academic year. These events are focused on current topics on campus and management challenges facing chairs and directors. The retreat is a one-day event and happens in August before the start of the fall semester. The lunches take place during the year in both the fall and spring semesters. Conversations with others in a similar role on campus can be very beneficial, allowing participants access to the wisdom of their peers across campus.
As LEAP moves forward, we are interested in creating an internal advisory board on campus, made up of faculty to assist in broadening the vision for the program. In addition, we are looking at creating more opportunities to include instructors and continue to develop and augment a mentoring connection for faculty outside of their respective units.
It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to continue with the management of this program. The potential for this LEAP to grow and develop is great, thanks to the support of the administration here on the Boulder campus.
LEAP Faculty Director