IAspire Leadership Academy


The primary purpose of IAspire Leadership Academy is to develop and train the next generation of underrepresented (URG) leaders in STEM higher education. This program will equip these individuals with skills to lead more effectively in an increasingly complex environment and gain the confidence to influence institutional transformation either in their current position or as they rise to other positions of leadership. This program is open to academic leaders at both 2 and 4 year institutions.

IAspire Fellows will:

  • Enhance their leadership skills and knowledge in nine critical competencies.
  • Develop a peer leadership network in order to enhance personal leadership practice, collaboration, and diversity of perspective.
  • Prepare and implement an individual leadership development process and institutional action project to influence institutional change.

Program Details

The one-year IAspire Leadership Academy core curriculum includes three 1-week in-person sessions, peer coaching sessions, and a concurrent individual learning component (institutional action project). Leadership competencies are enhanced using a combination of exposure, information, knowledge and practice.

  • Session I – Focus on Self. Utilizing a variety of self-assessments, participants will examine personal leadership strengths, weaknesses, and styles. Additionally, session I equips participants with various leadership skills and tools designed for practical application.
  • Session II – Focus on Groups/Teams. Participants will get a hands-on experience exploring group/team dynamics and interpersonal relations helping them enhance their leadership capabilities and influence.
  • Session III – Focus on Organization. This session focuses on understanding the broader educational system, public leadership, and institutional change.

Between sessions, fellows will meet institutional leaders, compare institutional cultures within their learning community, and work on institutional action projects (in collaboration with their chair, dean, or provost) that add value to their institution. This design allows the fellow to apply leadership skills gained in the program and provide a tangible return to the supporting institution.

Diversity and Cohort Selection

IAspire Leadership Academy values participants from a broad range of experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, roles, and institutions, to build an inclusive learning community within which they can learn from both their differences and similarities.

The selections team considers many characteristics of candidates, including professional aspiration, demonstration of leadership capacity, achievements and challenges along their pathways to leadership, underrepresented populations in academic STEM fields, and institutional characteristics such as geographic region, private/public status, and mission focus.

Program Contacts

Rochelle Sapp Headshot

Rochelle Sapp, Ph.D.

Leadership Development Specialist

Office of Learning & Organizational Development

College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

University of Georgia

Phone: 979-571-3067

Email: rsapp@uga.edu

Suzanne Barbour Headshot

Suzanne Barbour, Ph.D.


Graduate School

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

University of Georgia

Phone: 706-542-6392

Email: sbarbour@uga.edu

Karen Argabright, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Office of Learning & Organizational Development

College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

University of Georgia

Email: karen.argabright@uga.edu