Rutgers GSE CMSI

The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions Hosts Second MSI Aspiring Leaders Forum

Contact: Brandy Jones
Telephone: 848-932-0788
Newark, NJ (October 31, 2019)— This weekend, the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) will host its second MSI Aspiring Leaders Forum from Friday, November 1 through Sunday, November 3. The three-day forum will convene prominent MSI presidents and Aspiring Leaders to discuss a myriad of issues, scenarios, and events that may arise on the path to the collegiate presidency.
“We are far more intentional for the second forum of MSI Aspiring Leaders. We have really honed in on the skills that presidents have told us are critical for the role, and embraced the feedback from previous Aspiring Leaders to create a program that offers an essential foundation for professionals who are five to eight years out from the presidency,” said Paola Lola Esmieu, the Director for Programs and Strategy at the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. “We are excited to host another great forum with wonderful mentors and incredible Aspiring Leaders.”
Similar to the inaugural forum, this year’s forum will include a series of interactive sessions that will provide Aspiring Leaders with the skills essential to securing the role of president at a Minority Serving Institution (MSI). All of the sessions have been crafted based on the experiences of current MSI presidents and designed to prepare Aspiring Leaders for common challenges that MSI presidents face. Some of the sessions include, “The Role of Search Firms,” “Managing Board of Trustee Relationships,” “Presidential Fit Panel,” and “Budgeting and Finance for Presidents.”
Each session, moderated by invited speakers and/or CMSI staff, will spotlight the lived experiences of the program’s 15 MSI presidential mentors, mentors who are current or recently retired MSI presidents, and will provide Aspiring Leaders with real-world strategies to actual institutional dilemmas. In addition to the sessions, the forum will also include a keynote address entitled, “Road to and Lessons Learned from a University President,” delivered by Morgan State University president, David Wilson, and will detail the experiences that influenced Wilson’s journey to leading the storied institution.
Using case studies that simulate crises, Aspiring Leaders will also work with their MSI presidential mentor to develop solutions to institutional challenges. These solutions will be presented at the end of the forum and Aspiring Leaders will receive feedback from both mentors and peers on how to enhance their strategies.
“The MSI Aspiring Leaders forum is not only a convening to dissect the often-daunting challenges that arise in the MSI presidency, but it is also a space for both Aspiring Leaders and MSI presidential mentors to share strategies and engage in learning that honors the perspectives of each person in the room; this is how we build community,” shared Marybeth Gasman, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair, Distinguished Professor, and the Executive Director for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice and the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions.
Supported by $815,000 in grants from The Kresge Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Apple, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Intel, and Pinterest, the MSI Aspiring Leaders program includes both a leadership forum and a mentorship program. Following the forum, mentors and Aspiring Leaders will participate in a one-on-one relationship over two years. CMSI will facilitate these relationships and provide benchmarks to be completed at various points throughout the two years, with the hope that these relationships may be part of a future longitudinal study to measure the influence of such mentorship on mentees’ aspiring leaders’ career trajectories.
In an effort to encourage attendance and minimize financial burden, MSI Aspiring Leaders is free of program fees to all invited participants. Participants also receive travel stipends to offset the cost of their travel and lodging.
Learn more about this year’s MSI Aspiring Leaders and MSI presidential mentors here.

About the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions
The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity and Justice (Proctor Institute) at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. For further information about CMSI, please visit

Thursday, October 31, 2019
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