Leaders in Enrollment Advancing Diversity (LEAD)

ASCEND Leadership Development Program

A unique and affordable leadership development program for mid-level managers in admissions, advising, financial aid, records and academic services. The program aims to diversify the leadership in the enrollment management profession by recruiting and developing a diverse cohort of mid-level professionals and preparing them to take on roles in enrollment management in North America and around the globe.


Our institutions are facing challenges ahead: negative public perceptions of higher education,  ongoing budget shortfalls, free speech and race relations crises, spiraling student debt, increasing regulatory restrictions, and the approaching student enrollment cliff in 2025. Recruiting and retaining talented and diverse campus leaders will be a crucial factor in institutional success.

Why Now?

Recent data from the 2019 CUPA-HR association survey on Administrators in Higher Education give us troubling benchmarks. Results indicate 85% of those who hold the role of Senior Enrollment Management Officer and 89% of those who hold the role of Director of Admissions are white. We know that 22% of the non-white population in the US holds a bachelor degree or better. If the most traditional and obvious path to Senior Enrollment Officer is through the admissions office, the fact that Directors of Admission are currently less diverse than the qualified field means we must act now to ensure our institutions have a strong set of professionals to fill the roles of enrollment leaders in the future.

Program Cost - $1500

SEM 2019 Conference*$1325
Online Course: Essentials of SEM$495
Books and Materials$200
Personal Program Coach$1200
Monthly Virtual Education Sessions$1200
SEM 2020 Conference*$1400
Total Value     $5820



    Faculty will lead the inaugural cohort through a year-long curriculum that incorporates the essential competencies required to take the next step in enrollment management leadership. The curriculum design will incorporate the AACRAO Professional Competencies and Proficiencies and leverage existing professional development opportunities offered by AACRAO.


    Coaches will be assigned to each participant as additional support and guide customized to the individual needs and goals of the participant. Those admitted to the program will participate in monthly cohort meetings plus no less than one hour meeting with their coach.

Thank you for your interest in joining the ASCEND Leadership Development Program.

Submissions are CLOSED.

Join the email list to receive updates on this Signature Initiative.

Important Dates

November 2018
LEAD Initiative Kick-Off

December 2018
Curriculum Development Committee Established

May 2019
Recruitment and Selection of Faculty

July - August 2019
Application window

September 2019
Selection of First Cohort

November 2019
Program Begins

Give to the LEAD Fund