Big Ten Academic Alliance logoThe Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program, (ALP) provides intensive leadership and managerial development, addressing the challenges of academic administration at major research universities, like tightening budgets, changing student populations, and increasing pressures from external sources. Many of the program’s nearly 1,000 fellows have gone on to serve as college presidents, provosts, and deans.

During the academic year, MSU ALP Fellows visit two or three Big Ten Academic Alliance universities. In addition, they meet with campus and community leaders of their choosing, to complement their knowledge of policy and institutional organization with local insights and contacts.

Applications are now open, due date extended to March 11, 2024! Submit your materials here.

Additional opportunity! The Big Ten Academic Alliance secured a Mellon Grant* to support one tenured faculty member from the humanities (**see list at bottom of this page) to participate as a Mellon Academic Leadership Fellow.  Mellon Fellows will participate in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program in the first year of their two‐year fellowship. In the second year, Mellon Fellows will complete an administrative/academic fellowship in a university-wide office, most typically the Office of the Provost or equivalent, while also participating in additional meetings with the other Big Ten Mellon Fellows.

*The Mellon Grant was initially secured to support two cohorts of Mellon Fellows and is currently selecting fellows for the second cohort.  We are not sure if this will be extended beyond this coming year.

Program Expectations

Fellows are expected to attend approximately 12 on-campus ALP sessions with MSU speakers; 3 three-day off-campus seminars; and 2 dinner events. MSU meetings will be scheduled after the Fellows meet to select speakers at the beginning of the 2024-2025 academic year.

  • 2024-2025 ALP Off-campus Seminars
    • November 7-9, 2024 at University of Wisconsin
    • February 6-8, 2025 at Big Ten Center in Rosemont, Illinois
    • April 3-5, 2025 at Rutgers University

Mellon Fellows will participate in all of the above during their first year with additional half-day sessions added to the off-campus seminars. Special group meetings for the Mellon Fellows will also take place throughout the year. In the second year, Mellon Fellows will take on an academic or administrative assignment that aligns with their institutional interests. Mellon Fellows will either receive compensation or release from duties equivalent to the responsibilities they assume.

Application Process

The Office of the Provost will provide funding for five individuals to participate in the Academic Leadership Program. MSU has two methods of selection to create a cross-institutional cohort of Fellows.

The Mellon Fellow will be selected from tenure-system humanities faculty who select to be considered for this additional opportunity at the time their application is submitted.

Tenure System, NSCL/FRIB, Health Programs Faculty, and Librarians

Four applicants will be selected through an application and interview process. Applicants should:

  • be appointed in the tenure system, NSCL/FRIB, Library, or Health Programs faculty appointment systems
  • have a strong faculty background and commitment to administration
  • have a minimum of five years of professional experience in a university setting

Other MSU Faculty and Staff

The Provost will select one to two additional member(s) of the cohort in consultation with senior MSU leaders, from among the rest of the MSU faculty, academic staff, and support staff.

If your MSU appointment is not as a faculty member in the tenure system, NSCL, Library, or Health Programs system, and you wish to pursue the ALP, please contact your dean, vice president, or other senior administrator who can indicate their support for your participation. Please have them send a letter addressing why you would be a good candidate for the program (no longer than one page) to Cindi Leverich at by March 11, 2024.  Applicants in this category do not need to fill out the application.

Application Submission

Tenure system, NSCL/FRIB, Library, or Health Programs faculty appointment systems applicants should submit materials by March 11, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.

 Anyone interested in applying for the Mellon Fellowship will be able to opt in to be considered for that opportunity when submitting their ALP application.

Required elements include:

  • Biographical statement (one-page limit briefly describing their career trajectory and experience most relevant to the program)
  • CV (please limit to six pages)
  • Letter of recommendation (two-page limit) from the applicant’s direct supervisor (dean or department chair/school director)
  • Letter from the applicant clarifying why they want to participate in the ALP (two-page limit).  This letter should include a brief synopsis of the applicant’s leadership trajectory (where they have been and where they want to go), an overview of the issues they see as critical for higher education leaders, an overview of their dedication to and involvement in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and a statement about their commitment to MSU.

A screening committee of administrators and past ALP Fellows appointed by the Office of the Provost will review the materials as a basis for selecting individuals to interview.

  • The screening committee is expected to interview selected candidates virtually in late March/early April.

MSU and the Big Ten Academic Alliance reaffirm their commitment to diversity by strongly encouraging the participation of women and individuals of color.

Criteria for Selection

  • Evidence of dedication to academic administration, leadership issues, and/or challenges in higher education (e.g., academic governance or significant leadership positions in public, private, or volunteer agencies or programs outside of higher education). Having a formal leadership role is not a criterion for selection but will strengthen the application.
  • Ability to present a coherent statement that relates the personal and professional benefits of the Fellowship to the needs of the University and the mission and goals of the academic unit.
  • Evidence that the nominee is committed and involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education.
  • Willingness to commit the time needed to benefit from the Fellowship year.
  • Evidence of endorsement from appropriate department/school or college level administrator (applicant’s direct supervisor).


Questions may be directed to Cindi Leverich (

**For the Mellon Fellowship, disciplines included in the humanities are broadly defined using this list as a guide:

  • American Studies
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • Architecture (historical or theoretical focus)
  • Area Studies (humanistic focus)
  • Art History
  • Classics
  • Communication (theoretical focus)
  • Comparative Literature
  • Comparative Religion
  • Cultural Studies
  • English
  • Ethics
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Film, Cinema and Media Studies (theoretical focus)
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Languages and Literatures, both modern and classical
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • History (including History of Science)
  • Literature
  • Medieval Studies
  • Musicology, Ethnomusicology and Music Theory
  • Performance Studies (theoretical focus)
  • Philosophy and Political Theory
  • Religion and Theology
  • Rhetoric
  • Theater (theoretical focus)