This month marks the launch of a new fellowship intended to bring more Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) into the ranks of senior leadership within higher education information technology.


The Next Leaders Fellowship (NLF) is a partnership between Bowdoin College, EDUCAUSE, and the NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP). During the one-year fellowship, participants will be mentored by accomplished higher education senior leaders.


“More diverse teams working in inclusive environments are better at solving complex problems because they have access to a wider array of novel approaches, and they are more willing to consider and pursue them,” said Michael Cato, NLF director and senior vice president and chief information officer at Bowdoin College. “This is IT’s core job.”


According to NLF’s website, the fellowship will provide professional development experiences covering topics that include emotional intelligence, organizational behavior, budgets, and financial planning, and design thinking. NLF also said that through mentoring by a group of senior information and technology leaders, the cohort will “have a space to explore how their identities as BIPOC professionals may influence and shape how they navigate their careers.”


Fellowship mentors include the CIOs at Bowdoin College, Northern Arizona University, University of Richmond, Morehouse College, Prairie View A&M University, Pomona College, University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, and other IT leaders from higher education and the private sector.


In a press release, NLF said the new fellowship “does not seek to replace existing leadership development programs, but instead will complement them by explicitly recruiting a cohort of diverse candidates, creating a community around them, and providing mentorship and coaching throughout the program year.”

The fellowship will kick off at Held in conjunction with NERCOMP’s 2022 annual conference by engaging fellows, mentors, and sponsors in a series of conversations and exercises to identify areas of focus and develop plans of action for the program year.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs