BRIDGES

BRIDGES 2023: Leading in a Time of Transformation

PLEASE NOTE: BRIDGES 2023 will be held September 8 – November 11, 2023.  Updated program and application information will be available in March.

Portions of the 2023 program will be offered as in-person sessions with remaining sessions offered online. We remain committed to providing the best possible program content, format, and experience for the upcoming BRIDGES class while also prioritizing the safety of our participants and presenters.

BRIDGES is an inclusive professional development program dedicated to supporting cisgender or transgender women and nonbinary colleagues in higher education who seek to gain or strengthen their academic leadership capabilities, and/or individuals who demonstrate a commitment to supporting women and gender issues and equity in the academy. It is designed to help participants identify, understand, and build their leadership roles in the academy. Through an intensive program, participants will:

  • develop insights into leadership, with a particular focus on the special skills and attributes unique to leadership roles
  • acquire an understanding of the many facets of colleges and universities
  • build strategic negotiation skills, and
  • create a program of personal and professional development to benefit themselves and their institutions.

Who should participate? Individuals of any gender identity, from four-year North Carolina institutions of higher education, both public and independent, who want to position themselves for advancement in the academy and/or who demonstrate a strong interest or commitment to supporting women and gender equity in the academy , including:

  • faculty interested in developing their leadership skills
  • faculty looking to move into academic administration
  • administrators with managerial and supervisory responsibilities
  • administrators seeking a greater range of responsibilities

BRIDGES represents the best of insightful, problem-based, and experiential learning! The program offers the opportunity to learn from one another, and the reassurance that the challenges across our campuses are more similar than different. A wonderful learning and networking opportunity!
–Program Participant

BRIDGES THEME: LEADING IN A TIME OF TRANSFORMATION

The BRIDGES Advisory Board has selected “Leading in a Time of Transformation” as the theme for BRIDGES. Transformational leadership, sometimes called “visionary leadership,” is a concept with a rich literature of theory and implementation studies. Three specific concepts have been selected by the Board as most important for participants developing their capacities as academic leaders today:

  1. Transformational leaders have values, not just titles. BRIDGES is committed to prepare and encourage participants to seek the highest positions of leadership. To accomplish this goal, we want BRIDGES graduates to be leaders in bringing equity, inclusion, and excellence to our campuses regardless of our positions.
  2. Transformational leaders facilitate the development of leadership in those around them and rally community members to tackle difficult problems together.
  3. Transformational leaders make informed decisions and influence change when required. They assess and recognize whether incremental change or large-scale transformation is needed. They understand themselves well enough to stay firmly grounded in their values while seeking broad perspectives and even conflicting views.

I was glad to have the opportunity to meet so many interesting and powerful women . . . No other program gives us the opportunity to see what our female colleagues across campus are accomplishing. That insight is, in itself, empowering . . . Opportunities like this, rare as they are, make a real difference.

–Program Participant

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The BRIDGES experience will include engaging keynote speakers, high-energy sessions, and many networking opportunities. Hear from recent graduates about their experience.

In the four weekends of BRIDGES, you will gain a better understanding of the academy, while looking at what is necessary for your own development as a leader, what you need to do to create new relationships with colleagues and allies, and what actions you may want to undertake to create innovative changes at your institution. Our program also emphasizes what we want to accomplish in helping North Carolina women and allies in higher education claim, strengthen, and exercise their leadership capacities:

  1. We will explore how exercising our leadership capacities to their fullest transforms the way we lead our lives and do our work.
  2. We will encourage the use of women and allies’ leadership capacities to transform our institutions and fields of expertise.
  3. We will reflect on how exercising our leadership as women or allies—individually and collectively—can provide models for transforming how we understand leadership in higher education.

Small group discussions, panels, case studies, and formal presentations are used to create an atmosphere that encourages learning and interaction. Advance readings are assigned for some sessions, and participants complete a leadership assessment in the summer before the first session.

BRIDGES will give you a chance to enhance key leadership skills by interacting with academic leaders from public and independent colleges and universities. You will learn about financial and legal issues facing higher education today, as well as some of the special human resources and risk management challenges we face in academia. You will also hear perspectives on the crucial roles of fundraising and politics on our campuses, as well as personal stories from a diverse group of academic leaders. You will evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a leader and can talk about your leadership challenges. BRIDGES will help you chart a course for your professional future, both in terms of your goals for advancement and contributing to your institution.

Participating in BRIDGES encouraged me to be bold in my pursuit of professional advancement, but to temper that boldness with grace and compassion for others, and of course, to take others along with me as I move up and over. I feel better prepared to take on new challenges, conquer professional fears, and realize the plans I have laid for myself. Equally as important are the relationships I formed with my BRIDGES sisters, who both listened to me and shared their wisdom freely. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and will certainly encourage other women to participate.

-Program Participant

SCHEDULE

The program is organized into four weekend sessions. Parts 1 and 4 are in-person sessions, and Parts 2 and 3, are synchronous, virtual sessions.  All sessions begin on Friday afternoon and end Saturday afternoon. To graduate from the program, participants must attend and actively participate in all class sessions.

Part 1:  Developing a Transformational Perspective. IN-PERSON

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, NOON-6:00 P.M. AND SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 9 A.M.–5 P.M.

Part I allows participants to get acquainted and be involved in the many facets of transformational leadership—theory, practice, and self-knowledge. Team building will be a focus of this session. This session is held in-person at the Rizzo Conference Center.

Part 2: Transforming for Continuity and Change. ONLINE

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, NOON–6:30 P.M. AND SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 9 A.M.–5P.M.

Part 2 gives participants the opportunity to continue exploring leadership through experiential learning and practice. Implicit bias, networking, and crisis leadership  are the focus of the sessions. Participants work with case studies and reflection activities on multiple topics.  Both sessions are held live, online via Zoom video conferencing platform.

Part 3: Enhancing Our Resources in a Transformational Context. ONLINE

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, NOON–6:30 P.M. AND SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 9 A.M.–5 P.M.

Part 3 focuses on organizational structure and behavior, financial resources, strategic negotiations, and human resources. Participants work with case studies and hypothetical situations on multiple topics. They will focus on both the specific institutional context of the case studies and the broader implications for higher education. Both sessions are held live, online via Zoom video conferencing platform.

Part 4:  Transforming Together. IN-PERSON

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, NOON–6:30 P.M.

Part 4 allows participants to work as individuals and members of a team in reflection activities, as well as preparing a focused leadership plan for personal and professional transformation. This session is held in-person, at the Rizzo Conference Center.

Reflection with Alumnae and Graduation

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 9 A.M.–2 P.M.

This session will provide opportunities for reflection, sharing ideas and challenges while cultivating a network that extends beyond the life of the program. Activities will involve BRIDGES alumnae and the BRIDGES graduation ceremony. This session is held in-person, at the Rizzo Conference Center.

COST

The cost of BRIDGES is $2,500, payable by July 15, 2022. This fee includes all instruction, educational materials, 360 leadership assessment and meals for in-person (Parts 1 and 4) weekend sessions at the Rizzo Conference Center.

Participants must reserve and pay for overnight accommodations for Parts 1 and 4 in-person program sessions (however meals for those sessions are included in the fee).

Departments and administrative units are encouraged to provide financial support to participants.

Payment can be made by MasterCard, VISA, institutional or personal check made payable to the Friday Center (Federal ID# 56-6001393), institutional purchase order, or UNC-Chapel Hill online account adjustment. We accept only VISA or MasterCard. We do not accept debit cards.

Full refunds, minus a $600 administrative fee, will be given to participants who cancel in writing by August 26, 2022. No refunds will be made after August 26.

LOCATION

Parts 1 and 4: IN-PERSON

BRIDGES Parts 1 and 4 will be offered In-Person at the Rizzo Conference Center at Meadowmont

The Rizzo Conference Center is a short distance from the UNC-Chapel Hill main campus and is located across from the UNC Friday Conference Center. The Rizzo Center provides sophisticated meeting facilities with a serene setting, upgraded accommodations, and quality service in an environment that inspires learning, stimulates instruction, and encourages interaction.

Parts 2 and 3: ONLINE

BRIDGES PARTS 2 AND 3 WILL BE OFFERED COMPLETELY ONLINE, IN A SYNCHRONOUS VIRTUAL CONFERENCE FORMAT.

Classes will use Zoom video conferencing platform.  Technical support will be provided by the Friday Conference Center and UNC Digital and Lifelong Learning Technology Group.

Technology requirements

We recommend participants  have a laptop or desktop computer (PC or Mac) with the following:

  • Internet access and browser (Google Chrome is recommended, but most will work)
  • Email address
  • Functioning camera, speakers & microphone (earbuds/headphones recommended)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Zoom video conferencing software (you can download the application, or simply access sessions through your browser). Zoom links will be provided prior to Parts 2 and 3weekend sessions.
  • Microsoft Word or other word processing software

Please Note: while you may participate in class sessions using a tablet or phone, you will find that some lessons will be more difficult on the smaller screen size. We highly recommend you connect to class sessions using a laptop or desktop.

HOW TO APPLY

Your completed application packet consisting of an application form, résumé/curriculum vita summary (limit to two pages), essay, and two letters of recommendation must be submitted online and received by May 20. All components of your application packet must be ready to upload during the application process and submitted together as a complete application. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted. Admissions decisions will be communicated by June 15. Payment is due by July 15.

Essay

  • What are your goals with respect to leadership in higher education?
  • How will the BRIDGES experience help you accomplish those goals and overcome any challenges you may face?
  • Describe the benefits to advancing inclusion and gender equity across leadership in higher education.

Your answer should be the equivalent of no more than one letter-size page, Times New Roman font, point size 11.

References

Two letters of recommendation are required, one of which must be from your institution. Letters are not confidential and must accompany your application. Recommendation letters should address the following areas:

  • How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  • How do you think BRIDGES will impact the applicant’s potential for leadership and fostering an inclusive culture in higher education?

Some institutions submit applicants through an internal screening and selection process. However, final admissions decisions rest with the BRIDGES Board.

The University of North Carolina maintains a policy of equal educational opportunity.

Apply Now

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Contact:

Annette Madden, Program Director
UNC Digital and Lifelong Learning
Friday Conference Center
919-445-4653
email 
madden@email.unc.edu