Main content
Valeda F. Dent, vice provost of libraries and museum, chosen for leadership institute
Valeda Dent

Valeda F. Dent, Emory’s vice provost of libraries and museum, has been accepted to the Academic Leadership Institute, an organization founded by two former Emory provosts that focuses on strengthening DEI principles in leadership.

— Emory Photo/Video

Valeda F. Dent, Emory University’s vice provost of libraries and museum, has been selected for the next cohort at the 2023 Academic Leadership Institute (ALI) Residential Program, which will be held July 30 – Aug. 3, 2023, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, on the campus of Swarthmore College.

Dent says she was attracted to this leadership conference because of its emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles in leadership.

“ALI has a strong history of connecting leaders within higher education who are committed to belonging, justice and equity,” Dent says.

Incoming Emory College of Arts and Sciences Dean Barbara Krauthamer is also in the 2023 ALI cohort.

The Institute is a collaboration between Earl Lewis, founding director of the Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan, and Dwight A. McBride, president of The New School University in New York City (McBride will leave the position in mid-August to begin a distinguished professorship in African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis and serve as a senior adviser to the chancellor). Lewis was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory from 2004-12, and McBride held the same positions at Emory from 2017-20.

ALI established itself and convened rising academic leaders in summer 2021 to achieve goals that include:

  • Creating a space where diversity, equity, access and inclusion are foundational values
  • Providing a safe place to share challenges, successes, hopes and ambitions, and sparking a leadership movement that centers on talent cultivation, networking and sourcing
  • Developing leaders who will shape the future of American democracy
  • Building a group of mentors focused on furthering DEI principles in leadership

According to the ALI website, “while most programs for higher education leadership focus on the skills required of a leader, the ALI goes beyond that to talk about the experience of being a leader within the academy from an individual perspective. Each day’s curriculum is explicitly organized around identity as it relates to the various streams of university business: the sense of self as a leader, in relation to institutional frameworks, in relation to the team, and in relation to the community and the public. The institute will be the first major professional development event of its kind to have an explicit focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and the first to aim to equip leaders to change their institutions. In addition, the nature and size of the program allows its scope to be tailored to the expectations of its participants, providing a personalized five-day course guided by successful collegiate heads.”

Dent, whose nomination was supported by the Office of the Provost, hopes to return from the conference with insight into how institutions can weather the growing onslaught of challenges to belonging, equity and inclusion, and how leaders can become more mindful in supporting their staff during these times.

“The opportunity to connect with likeminded peers from across the nation is a rare one,” Dent says. “I hope to deepen my understanding of some of the threats facing higher education at this point in our existence — in particular, how these threats are impacting our communities, our schools, and local and federal funding structures. Being able to engage in unstructured, authentic conversation will also be important. I’m looking forward to learning from the collective wisdom of the cohort.”

Recent News