HBCU Executive Leadership Institute

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Why Eli? Goals Description Outcomes

Why ELI?

Between 2010 and 2014, HBCU presidents' tenures lasted for an average of 3.3 years (Kimbrough, 2017) while the average tenure of presidents across all 4-year higher education institutions in the same years was 7 years (Gagliardi, 2017).  Therefore. a central challenge for the future of these institutions is the need for outstanding leaders with skills that continue and expand upon that historic role.

There are inherent challenges facing HBCU leaders and Board of Trustees tied to accessibility of finance, human capital, and physical and technological infrastructure.  Attracting and retaining students who persevere through graduation takes money, especially when scholarship offers are not backed by funding from endowment income.  HBCU students come from families of little or modest means…not able to make endowment gifts.  Nonetheless, HBCU’s continued to attract and nurture thousands of students, still often first in their families to attend college, as their graduates enrich African-American communities and the nation.


*The average retention rate of an HBCU president is 3.3 years.
(*Source – Kimbrough, 2017)


1. Focus on the preparation and development of HBCU presidents and executive leaders

2. Increase the supply of qualified candidates to serve as HBCU presidents and other executive-level leaders.

The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Clark Atlanta University is a groundbreaking initiative that serves as an incubator for recruiting and developing future presidents for over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).



The first competency and performance-based program of its kind,  ELI will help preserve and strengthen HBCUs as a hub for education, opportunity and uplift in the community they serve.

The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) has developed a robust program for knowledge delivery, hands-on skills, and intuition based on know-how for Fellows who are aspiring executive leaders and change agents for the future of HBCUs and for chairs and members of these institutions.

The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will provide a Certification program that trains future presidents for the nation’s HBCU’s.



As the HBCU ELI looks toward engaging the first few cohorts of Fellows over the next three years, the focus is on the implementation of a high-quality performance-based preparation program. Specifically, the outcomes are to:

1. Recruit and select up to 30 HBCU ELI Fellows each year through the implementation of a rigorous, competency-based selection process.

2. Increase the number of prospective HBCU Presidents and executive level leaders who demonstrate competence in the areas addressed through the HBCU ELI Competency Model.

3. Create a series of competency-based credential courses to provide Fellows with a personalized leadership pathway based on their professional and career development goals.

4. Establish a “Fellow Alumni Network” program framework to sustain engagement and support Fellows progress in their careers.


* The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute exists to change the narrative and construct long term success for the next generation of HBCU leaders. 





Need More Information?
Click here to contact an ELI Representative
HBCU Executive Leadership Institute 
Clark Atlanta University
School of Education 
Rufus E. Clement Hall, Suite 110
223 James P. Brawley Dr., SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
Phone: 404-880-6012
Email: hbcueli@cau.edu