Program Description

Academic institutions are complex organizations. Employees at all levels and in all departments must contribute to coordinated, effective action in the service of the mission of the institution. Effective leadership, at all levels of the organization, is necessary to facilitate the coordination of the functions of the institution.

In the 1819 Dartmouth College v. Woodward case, Chief Justice John Marshall described the university as an “artificial immortal being,” which lives beyond the lifespan of individual persons.

The university is an entity not limited to the lifespan of a particular board, or administrative team, or group of faculty, students, and alumni. As such, it is necessary for the institution to strategically develop new leaders as the institution evolves and experienced leaders transition to other positions or into retirement.

Program Goals

The goals for the John Marshall Leadership Fellows Program are to:

  • create opportunities for critical thinking;
  • cultivate leadership knowledge and skills;
  • expand understanding of university operations and processes;
  • create networks of collaborative colleagues;
  • build capacity in knowledge and skills for institutional leadership;
  • promote a collegial and collaborative institutional culture;
  • advance capacity for high-level university service and administration;
  • optimize functioning in all university units; and
  • explore effective responses to emerging issues at the institution and in higher education.


An important element of the program is mentoring by experienced institutional leaders. Once the cohort is selected, each fellow will be matched with a mentor with appropriate institutional and leadership experience. Mentors are expected to meet with the fellow at least every two weeks to discuss questions and insights emerging from the training, as well as more informal discussions of leadership experiences and personal and professional development principles and practices.


Each cohort will be composed of a select group of faculty and staff who are interested in developing their leadership potential; learning more about how the university functions and institutional policies; and, collaborating as a team to complete a special project (see below). Weekly sessions through the spring term will focus on principles of leadership as well as leadership practices as outlined here (link to be added). Weekly sessions will be three hours long, and fellows can expect to spend approximately two additional hours per week reading, in meetings, or completing other preparatory activities. Supervisors of cohort members agreed to make accommodations in schedules to permit fellows to meet these time requirements. Academic fellows will receive one course reassignment; staff fellows will receive a similar time release.

Special Projects

Each cohort of fellows will be charged with developing a special project relating to the program theme. Fellows will identify a specific and current institutional issue relating to the theme; explore that issue through the review of existing data, acquisition of new data, and review of model programs; and develop a proposal for addressing and alleviating that issue at Marshall University. Near the end of the spring semester, the fellows will present proposed solutions to the president and senior leadership team.

The topic for the 2024 cohort is Designing the Future of the Marshall Experience.

Spring 2024 facilitators include Robert Bookwalter, April Fugett, Julie Snyder-Yuly, and Ben Eng.



For additional information about the John Marshall Leadership Fellows Program, please e-mail