Clark Atlanta University’s Executive Leadership Institute Announces Its 2024 Distinguished Community of Fellows

Innovative Program Addresses Critical Need to Nurture Next Generation of HBCU Leaders 


ATLANTA (January 12, 2024) – The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Clark Atlanta University proudly introduces its 2024 cohort of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) fellows, a remarkable assembly of individuals poised to emerge as the next generation of HBCU leaders. To view the full list of ELI’s 2024 community of fellows click here. 


Clark Atlanta University, the first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans, serves as the home of ELI. The groundbreaking initiative acknowledges the critical urgency to attract, employ, and retain a fresh wave of leaders within the HBCU community. 


Amid this evolving landscape, ELI remains steadfast in its commitment to nurturing leadership and excellence. The 2024 cohort, which boasts individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences, will undergo an intensive program purposefully designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge essential to lead HBCUs into a new era of success. Through a comprehensive curriculum, participants will earn micro-credentials in pivotal areas for effective executive leadership. 


“Over the next several months, we will embark on a transformative journey with our new cohort of HBCU fellows,” said Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Executive Director of the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute and a driving force behind ELI’s mission. “These individuals represent the future of leadership in the HBCU community, and we’re excited to welcome them to a rigorous curriculum designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to become legacy leaders at their respective institutions.” 


As part of ELI’s expansion, the program now includes an enhanced curriculum for existing and interim HBCU Presidents. To view a full list of the inaugural President’s Program participants click here. 


Recognizing the pressing need to cultivate leaders with versatile skill sets, ELI ensures that fellows engage in rigorous training across 13 core competencies. Each focus area is essential for navigating the complex terrain of higher education administration. These competencies include, but are not limited to: 

  • Academic Excellence: The program emphasizes the importance of academic leadership, equipping participants with the skills needed to enhance the quality of education and academic programs offered at their institutions. 
  • Fundraising: Fellows will gain expertise in securing financial support for their institutions through effective fundraising strategies, ensuring the sustainability and growth of their respective HBCUs. 
  • Finance & Budgeting: The program will provide in-depth training on financial management, budgeting, and resource allocation, enabling fellows to make informed decisions contributing to the fiscal health of their institutions. 
  • Navigating Board Governance: Fellows will develop a strong understanding of board governance structures, fostering effective collaboration between executive leadership and governing bodies and informing strategic decision-making. 


In light of the 2023 Supreme Court ruling that dismantled affirmative action in higher education – a decision with potential repercussions on Black enrollment at institutions nationwide – ELI recognizes the imperative to actively contribute to the development and support of a new generation of HBCU leaders. According to the Brookings Institute, Black enrollment in higher education is projected to decline by 10%, making the need for HBCU investments and leadership more important than ever. 


ELI’s emphasis on practical skills, combined with a focus on the unique challenges and opportunities within the HBCU landscape, ensures that participants are prepared to lead in excellence in this evolving environment. For more information about the Executive Leadership Institute and its new cohort of fellows, please visit 


About the Executive Leadership Institute at CAU 

The Executive Leadership Institute, affiliated with Clark Atlanta University, is dedicated to empowering leaders within the HBCU community, providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in executive roles. Through innovative programs and a commitment to diversity and inclusion, ELI is actively addressing the critical need for new leadership within the HBCU community. Join the conversation on social media @hbcueli; #hbcueli. 



Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Executive Dir., ELI

Jolene Butts-Freeman, CAU 

Lalohni Campbell 

Per/Se Media Group