Executive Summary of Advanced Leadership
A collaboration of faculty at Harvard University has developed a bold, academic innovation that has the potential to become another facet of higher education, change the concept of "retirement" and help change the world for the better. The Advanced Leadership Initiative is a new third stage in higher education designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector where they potentially can make an even greater societal impact than they did in their careers.
The Advanced Leadership Initiative was formed by faculty drawn from Harvard's professional schools of law, business, government, education, medicine and public health to build knowledge about societal challenges requiring interdisciplinary leadership skills and to capitalize on demographic changes that create opportunities to educate and deploy accomplished leaders at later life stages in public service.
Systemic problems such as poverty, global health, environmental degradation, and basic education also have political and technical dimensions that cannot be solved by a simple one-off approach. Research universities are uniquely positioned to close knowledge gaps by finding new ways to develop and implement comprehensive solutions through integrative research and educational innovation.
Through the Advanced Leadership Initiative, Harvard is seeking to tap the experience of a socially conscious generation of leaders and help redirect and broaden their skills to fill critical leadership gaps in solving major social issues. Starting in January 2009, a select group of Fellows from diverse sectors with a track record of achievement and accomplishment have come to Harvard to transition from their primary income-earning careers and prepare for their next phase plan as change agents for society.
During their year at Harvard, Fellows will be able to take advantage of the vast intellectual resources of the University to learn, teach, mentor, consult, reflect and plan in preparation for their post-Fellowship project. Click here to view the 2013 Program Calendar.
Challenges and Opportunities in Advanced Leadership (COAL), the Core Course, is conceived as a developed whole, with a flow of topics that build on one another. Fellows will participate in a series of faculty lead sessions that focus specifically on the leadership dimensions of their learning about problem areas: leadership gaps, leadership skills, and opportunities for intervention. There are extensive readings and preparation assignments for each session. The Core Course will include dinner and will provide a unique peer learning experience as well as an opportunity to learn from guest speakers who have successfully made the transition to new leadership roles in their later stages of life.
Fellows will participate in intensive problem-focused interactive modules called "Think Tanks." Think Tanks provide deep dive investigations into the substance of a target field to provide knowledge about important ideas, forms of practice, problems, and opportunities to apply advanced leadership to fill a gap and address problems. Think Tanks provide the opportunity to think about the similarities and differences among institutional sectors, and develop an understanding of the common challenges and leadership skills required to address social problems in domains such as education, health, urban life, conflict or poverty. Think Tanks ask Fellows to think critically about current practices and look beyond established norms to seek new solutions.
Through a global conference or field experiences, Fellows will have the opportunity to understand global and regional issues first-hand. These experiences also provide an opportunity to meet with community leaders, NGO's and global thought leaders engaged in compelling research and work around the world. This will include faculty led programs as well as individual on-site experiences that Fellows develop for themselves.
Course audits offer Fellows another opportunity to customize their learning to their project areas. With faculty permission, Fellows audit one to two courses per semester, subject to availability. Courses are available in many parts of the University. Course audits provide Fellows with in-depth knowledge in a particular subject field, and contribute to an integrated program of study related to their desired next pursuits. Courses may be in wide ranging areas, such as applied skills (e.g. finance, marketing, non-profit governance), regional studies, or other areas of professional interest.
Through their interaction with students, Fellows will be able to share their life experience and wisdom. Fellows will be expected to participate in or lead study groups in which they would explore their topic of interest. These study groups will have a multiplier effect by expanding opportunities for degree students in the professional schools to learn from these accomplished leaders and to co-construct with them action plans and designs to intervene in improving social sector conditions around the world.
Individual project development is a major outcome of the fellowship year. With guidance from core faculty, Fellows will be able to develop and refine their specific plan for their public service project such as a social venture, book project, joining an existing non-profit foundation launch, or a campaign for a cause.
The capstone of the Fellowship year will be the Final Symposium where Fellows will present their social purpose project plans to an audience of their peers and beyond. The Advanced Leadership Initiative will continue to recognize the accomplishments of the Fellows and foster a network where Fellows from across cohorts will be able to interact and provide support and advice as they advance their social sector projects.
The Advanced Leadership Initiative is embracing a historic opportunity to leverage the experience and wisdom of a generation and to mobilize it as a force for positive change addressing some of the most pressing and urgent global and social issues of our time. By establishing a new higher education pathway, the Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellowship seeks to educate, engage, and inspire experienced leaders to find new meaningful vocations that will benefit society as well as enrich Fellows' own lives and sense of purpose.