Leaders in Enrollment Advancing Diversity (LEAD)

ASCEND Leadership Development Program

Launched in 2019 as a part of the LEAD initiative, ASCEND is 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.

The ASCEND Program is designed to prepare midlevel professional in the competencies required to take the next step in enrollment management leadership. The year-long intensive program seeks to:

  • advance the careers of program participants and provide them with important professional development;
  • help AACRAO and regional associations develop a “deep bench” of talented, motivated leaders from diverse backgrounds; and
  • provide individuals from identified under-represented groups in the association community (i.e., people of color, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, people with disabilities) with support, access, and opportunities for leadership.


  • Application Open: 8/19
  • Application Closed: 9/16
  • Applicants notified: Mid-October
  • Program kick-off: Sunday, Nov 13 in Toronto, CANADA
Details & Costs
Program fee: $899*

Each ASCEND participant receives free registration for the next two AACRAO SEM Conferences.

Participants should budget for travel & accommodations to SEM meetings (est. $1500-$2000 for each meeting).

*Institutions may be eligible to take advantage of Cares Act funds to promote professional development within their teams. View recent guidance from the Department of Education, specifically §200.430 Compensation—personal services, paragraph h to learn more.

Applications closed 9/16/22