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Leadership Development Program

Leadership Development Program

About the Program

The University of Missouri System Manuel T. Pacheco Leadership Development Program (LDP) is a prestigious program that affirms the vital role of faculty leaders and seeks to enhance their leadership competencies within the academic setting. LDP recognizes that the university's current and emerging faculty leaders define the direction and values of their department and school. In turn, these leaders shape how our university discovers, disseminates, preserves, and applies knowledge. 

Since 2000, the LDP has supported an annual cohort of 30 to 35 academic department chairs, directors, and assistant deans who demonstrate leadership and leadership potential. The LDP program, one of the first of its kind in the country, has persisted even during tough financial times in higher education because of the commitment to the importance of faculty leadership. To date, the program has served nearly 400 academic leaders across the four UM System universities.

Program Goals and Benefits

The goal of the program has been to develop academic leaders who will guide the University into the future. Through the program, members are able to come together for further development and growth as leaders, while expanding and enriching professional networks on personal and institutional levels. Upon completion of the program, LDP members will have gained practical skills to:

  • Offer guidance and support to the faculty managed by LDP members
  • Strategically plan for the future of an academic school or department
  • Work with a network of peers to tackle leadership concerns
  • Build commitment among department colleagues toward academic excellence and the UM mission

Current and past participants have spoken to the quality and effectiveness of the program:

Application Timeline


To participate in LDP, faculty members need to submit an application via Qualtrics form (Application open February 8 - April 14, 2021).  Within this form, applicants will be asked to expand on the following:

(1) Please tell us about leadership experiences you have had. (1200 character max.)
(2) What are your personal and professional goals for participating in LDP? (1200 character max.)
(3) How will your participation in LDP benefit your department and institution? (600 character max.)

The university provosts and the UM Office of Academic Affairs will select the final cohort. Candidates will be notified of selection decisions in early June. Due to the large number of highly competitive applications, not all who apply will be accepted to the program.

The LDP Fall Launch will be held on September 13-14 and 17th, 2021

Program Timeline

Those selected to participate in the LDP will join a network of faculty dedicated to quality leadership and advancing academic excellence. Each cohort follows a similar timeline:

For the 2021 Cohort

Event Dates Location

Kickoff meetings

June 2021

Participants will be asked to attend one of four Zoom (video conference) meetings held in June 

Fall launch

September 13-14 and 17, 2021

Columbia, MO for September 13-14th and Zoom for September 17th


Dates TBD (one 2-day session and one 1-day session)



This professional development opportunity is provided by UM Academic Affairs, with no cost to cohort members. Individual members' home unit may be expected to cover any travel and lodging costs.


“There is a wealth of knowledge, experience, networking and sharing across the system that is priceless."
–Member of LDP Cohort 2019

“It's a great combination of practical and theoretical ideas, and the space that you are given to actually be able to think about these ideas cannot be replicated."
–Member of LDP Cohort 2019

“This experience was much more positive than I went in anticipating....This program is very well designed and led, and most importantly, the participants were all excellent. We came from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, but the program created an environment where we could all work together to learn from each other in a meaningful way"
–Member of LDP Cohort 2018

“By far, the best experience I have had with professional development. I learned so much, met great colleagues to learn from, feel I walked away with so much."
–Member of LDP Cohort 2018

I went into the retreat hoping to learn a few things about leadership but unsure what to expect. It was awesome! I learned way more than a few things, in a friendly, supportive environment. Thank you!”
–Member of LDP Cohort 2017

“I deeply appreciate the expertise of the facilitators to transition topics to meet the needs of the group as they unfolded.”
–Member of LDP Cohort 2017

“Thank you! This program has been (and continues to be) a great experience for my professional development.”
-Member of LDP Cohort 2016

“You learn so much about the other campuses and system as a whole, as well as meeting colleagues who are in similar situations and who can offer helpful advice while you are learning how to become a better leader. Really great opportunity.”
-Member of LDP Cohort 2016


Contact the UM Office of Academic Affairs at The Leadership Development Program team includes:

  • Steven Graham, Ph.D., Senior Associate Vice President, UM Academic Affairs
  • Jill Wood, Ph.D., Director, UM Academic Affairs
  • Astrid Villamil, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, MU Communication
  • Carrie Nicholson, Administrative Consultant, UM Academic Affairs
  • Lauren Reedy, Program Coordinator, UM Academic Affairs

Current and past participants are also good resources.

Reviewed 2021-05-10