The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

  • VA

About Us

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute was established in May, 1999 by the Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors in recognition of Dr. Harris upon her retirement from the position of Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs. Harris has served the university for 40 years and was the highest ranking woman and African-American in VCU’s history. She is currently a Distinguished Professor at VCU.

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute promotes the development of current and emerging leaders in academic institutions, other public, private and nonprofit organizations, and communities. Consistent with the mission of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Institute is committed to identifying and nurturing the next generation of leaders through leadership training and public policy research.

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute sponsors the VCU Leadership Development Program which is designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and experience of current and emerging leaders at VCU who represent the academic and administrative units of the University and the VCU Health System. During this program, participants learn about VCU’s structure and leadership, address both local and national issues in higher education, examine their own leadership strengths and challenges, meet with a mentor from senior administration/faculty and immerse themselves in team projects for the benefit of the university.

The Department Chairs Certification Program develops the leadership capacities of unit leaders at Virginia Commonwealth University. The curriculum for department chair training is designed with input from the provost, deans and other senior administrators. Designed for both long-term and new department chairs, the program is presented over three sessions in the following tiers of information: (1) Visioning and strategic planning; (2) Excellence in day-to-day operations; and (3) Responding to “red flag” or crisis issues.

The “HIGHER Ground” Women’s Leadership Development Program brings current and emerging women leaders who are committed to investing in their careers and organizations. The program is designed to benefit women at all career levels in public, private, nonprofit and entrepreneurial positions. Training opportunities promote personal and professional growth through leadership development, education, mentoring and networking. By engaging in intellectual and experiential workshops, participants learn key principles aimed at enhancing their leadership styles to help them hone in on and successfully leverage opportunities for advancement.

The Minority Political Leadership Institute (MPLI) is a collaborative initiative of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. MPLI is an intensive seven-month experience designed to promote leadership development for individuals interested in issues important to minority communities including: community economics, political climate, civic engagement, and racial equity. MPLI offers insights regarding leadership legacy and culture, personal leadership, policy and legislative processes, responsible stewardship, public service and integrity for future leaders. Each program year participants engage and interact with communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia and learn about unique strengths and issues facing different regions of the state.


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