College of Charleston Introduces President's Leadership Academy

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The President's Leadership Academy aims to develop leaders, build connections and encourage innovation among the College's staff and faculty.

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Photo by Mike Ledford

The College of Charleston is always looking for ways to help its employees grow and develop. The President’s Leadership Academy is the latest such initiative.

The PLA will prepare leaders at the College of Charleston with essential leadership skills through sessions that help each participant leverage inherent strengths.

Rooted in the College’s strategic plan and core values, the PLA is a collaborative program that aims to develop leaders in support of our mission and vision. Over the course of the 2024–25 academic year, participants will attend eight sessions led by the College’s senior leadership, who will share their expertise in topics covering strategic planning; DEIB; funding; and the academic, student and employee experiences.

Participants will be challenged by comprehensive workshops with exercises and real-world case studies, developed in collaboration with the subject matter experts, that will enhance their leadership skills. During the program’s final session, participants will use information they have garnered through the PLA as part of their community service project presentation.

“I am excited about this new program and what it will mean for our greater campus community,” says President Andrew T. Hsu. “It is an excellent way to cultivate talent and prepare participants for greater leadership roles across campus. In our strategic plan, employee success is one of our three pillars, and this initiative dovetails nicely into our many other efforts to improve the workplace environment for faculty and staff.”

In addition to exposing participants to various leadership styles, essential topics and trends in higher education, the PLA will facilitate networking opportunities, collaborative experiences and knowledge to forge strong bonds, thereby building a robust support system and sense of belonging within the College community.

“This new initiative is more than a leadership ‘bootcamp’ – it’s a way to strengthen our connections to campus and foster a culture of community service and engagement,” says Provost Suzanne Austin, explaining that there will also be a community service project component to the program. “I think it highlights the creative, collaborative approach we at the College take to support one another and foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging. The President’s Leadership Academy allows our faculty and staff to grow – not just as individuals and professionals, but as a community.”

Indeed, by connecting leaders to the campus community, the PLA will foster collegiality and build a professional network for all involved. It will also encourage a culture of community, service and contribution to the institution’s overall growth and wellbeing, promoting service in support of the College’s mission and strategic plan initiatives and aligning participants’ leadership practices with that strategic vision.

Through comprehensive workshops and the resources they take away from the PLA experience, participants will enhance their leadership competencies, strategic thinking and decision-making abilities.


The President’s Leadership Academy is designed for full-time employees in leadership roles or with the potential to grow into such roles who have been employed at the College for at least one year. Nominations for the first cohort of participants will be made by the vice presidents or deans in their respective areas and endorsed by the applicable division head. Final selections will be reviewed and approved by the PLA Steering Committee.

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