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The A.A.U.A. Professional Development Fellows Program

Individuals who have current administrative appointments in colleges or universities and who wish to enhance skills through an individualized, year-long program are invited to submit a professional development plan which, when approved and implemented, will carry the designation of American Association of University Administrators Professional Development Fellow. This program is limited and competitive; no more than 10 Fellows will be accommodated in any single year.

The professional development proposal is designed by the participant and must be completed for submission no later than October 15th. (Earlier submissions are encouraged.) Proposals are reviewed by a committee of three senior college/university administrators (or recently retired former administrators). The committee will approve and/or make recommendations for improvements in the proposed professional development plan. Implementation and follow through will be the responsibility of the candidate, with guidance from both a local mentor and one appointed from among the membership of AAUA. Participants will be expected to consult regularly with both mentors and will also regularly participate in an online Fellows discussion group. 

The Fellowship year will run from January through December. Two fellowship group seminars will be required—a two-day meeting in February, and a one-day meeting in late October.

Cost of Participation

Upon acceptance of the candidate's individual professional development plan, a program fee of $500 is required. (NOTE: All participation costs in the AAUA Professional Development Fellows Program including, but not limited to, travel and lodging for Fellows group meetings are the responsibility of the participant.) 


Application to the AAUA Professional Development Fellows Program consists of an individually developed proposal to be submitted no later than October 15, 2016. Proposals must be submitted electronically as an MSWord document to fellowsprogram@aaua.org. Each proposal must contain the following sections: 

  1. Identification of the applicant:
    Name -
    Job/Position Title and Institution -
    Complete Postal Mailing Address -
    Email Address -
    Telephone -
  2. A narrative, reflective self-assessment of the applicant's professional capabilities and overall professional development needs.
  3. The description of one or more delimited and focused administrative/leadership skill(s) to be addressed for development during the fellowship year. This section should include a detailed description of the processes through which the identification and need for professional development of this (these) skills were identified, and should draw a clear link between the reflective self-assessment described in item 1 and the identified professional development need. (This section should not exceed three pages in length.)
  4. The proposed plan for professional development including –
    1. strategies to be implemented.
    2. the identification and resume/c.v. of an on-site administrator who is willing to serve as local mentor throughout the fellowship year. (Note: AAUA provides no stipend for any services associated with the AAUA Professional Development Fellow program. Furthermore, it prohibits participating fellows from paying individuals for such services. All on-site mentors will be asked to verify that they are performing this service without remuneration, as a service to the advancement of the professional of higher education administration.)
    3. a timeline for the professional development year (January 1 – December 31) with clearly defined beginning, progress points, and ending dates.
    4. a description of whatever final product(s) will be produced to bring closure to the professional development year.
  5. At least two letters of recommendation from individuals who have reviewed and can comment on the candidate's proposed professional development plan.
  6. A letter from an administrator at the applicant's institution who has appropriate personnel authority clearly giving give permission for the applicant to engage in this activity while continuing his/her employment. (It is acceptable for the provider of this letter to also serve as one of the two required references describe above in item #5. The required administrative approval may be incorporated into the recommendation letter, however, the permission requirement must be directly and clearly stated.)
  7. A statement from the applicant, counter-signed by the administrator giving permission for participation (referenced above in item #6) attesting to knowledge of and agreement that this fellowship experience is a voluntary, professional development activity that does not constitute an employment status of any type and that—as such—all employment and professional regulations and standards remain with the home institution.
  8. The applicant's complete resume or curriculum vitae.

The specific requirements for the professional development plan proposal are intentionally less- rather than more-specific. This allows candidates the greatest flexibility in designing a personal professional development plan, and it challenges candidates to develop a proposal from which the reviewing committee will be able to determine the seriousness of thought and purpose associated with the plan.

In some cases, the AAUA review committee may invite an applicant to participate in a telephone interview prior to making a decision. Decisions on all applications will be sent within 30 days of receipt of the application.

Following the Professional Development Fellowship Year

Upon successful completion of the professional development plan, a participant will be formally certificated as an American Association of University Administrators Professional Development Fellow. In addition to this certification, Fellows will receive a waiver of AAUA annual membership dues for a period of ten years following the completion of the program. (Current value of the ten-year waiver is $1000.)



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