HEI Visionary Presidents Institute:

The President as Entrepreneur

Executive Workshops, Training, and Certificate

Presidents Nine-Week Workshop Series

HEI offers presidential training workshops for current presidents.

The goal is to enhance creative, entrepreneurial, relevant, and innovative transformational leadership and is designed to help these leaders move their institutions to higher levels of success in times of radical change.

The series includes nine two-hour session workshops led by higher education experts. 


The cohort model has been extremely successful in creating a powerful brainstorming group, many of whom continue to collaborate and work together after completing the workshop series. We are seeing some big wins from our graduates!

Available Cohorts for Presidents Online Certificate Workshop


Cohort 5: OPEN

February 16-April 27, 2022 (No meetings on March 9 & 16)


Online Sessions:


Certificates are awarded at the end of the last session to all of those who have completed all nine.

Location: Online​ Zoom

Price includes:

  • Workshop Training and Materials (including several books)

  • One year of coaching access with presenters.  Appointments need to be scheduled, but there is no additional cost for up to an hour of individual coaching per expert.

  • Discounts for on-site team training and assessments

  • Cohort formation and networking with other presidents from various backgrounds

Note: Refunds available up to one month prior to first online meeting. A minimum of five participants are required for cohort to meet. Maximum cohort size is 15. 


Dr. Mary Landon Darden

From Survive to Thrive:  An Overview on Recent Research and the Future of Higher Education and What Presidents Need to Know

Rapid and radical change in higher education, along with predictions that half of the U.S. higher education institutions will close in the next decade makes understanding and plotting the future success for colleges and universities more important than ever.  Darden will share findings from research on the future of higher education and provide a landscape view of where higher education appears to be heading and what might be done to proactively set a course for maximal success.  Darden will also provide tools on how to create, launch, and plan from an institutional SWOT that is focused on innovation and the future.

Dr. Jay Box

Business and Industry Partnerships – How to Identify and Build Highly Needed Programs

The future is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Business and industry desperately need higher education to be responsive, innovative, and relevant in designing and delivering essential, custom-designed training programs. While serving as President of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in charge of 16 colleges, Box had  extensive experience building and facilitating innovative course-delivery partnerships with business and industry.  These customer-service focused, non-traditional programs established state-wide economic stimulation, well-paid employment opportunities, and continuous revenue for KCTCS while also creating prospective student pipelines.  Box will discuss his strategies and experience, and then work with the group on identifying opportunities and strategies for targeting partnerships within the leaders’ geographical regions.

Dr. Greg Leman

Innovation Part I: Sparking College-Wide Innovation from the President’s Office

Each president has a unique perspective on the challenges facing their institution and – better than anyone – may be able to clearly define exactly what is needed for both the institution’s survival and success.  And yet, almost no other organization or institution is so committed to the independence of its staff and faculty. Nowhere is leadership by inspiration and clarity of narrative more crucial than in higher education.  In this session, presidents will take their perspective, insight, and vision and frame a “call to innovation” that their entire campus can respond to in ways that are the faculty and staff’s own creation while remaining in alignment with the direction the president and Board know the institution needs to go.  With some follow up coaching, presidents will be able to launch a new kind of strategy-aligned invitation to innovation on each campus.

Dr. Richard Fossey, J.D.

Mitigating Legal Liability – The 10 Biggest Risks and the Best Plans

Colleges and universities are losing many millions of dollars and far too many hours in the courtroom.  This session will cover the current top ten areas that strike higher education, how to mitigate risk, and – as best as is possible – avoid the courtroom. 

Dr. Greg Leman

Innovation Part II:  Enabling On-Campus Self-Sustaining Innovation

The invitation crafted in Session One will be used to generate the first round of potential opportunities that align with the big picture view and fit into operational parameters.  These will be shared with co-participants, and a few will model the process of turning raw ideas into validated, actionable, excitement-attracting plans.  Armed with the new knowledge about facilitating that process, along with the work of the session on the ideas presented, presidents will return home ready to engage teams, and begin building a culture of sustainable innovation.

Dr. Mary Landon Darden

Research Findings on Future Institutional Success – Admissions, Recruiting, Retention, Messaging, and Customer Service / Micro-Target Marketing with Regional Businesses, Organizations and Institutions

​Colleges and universities have long depended on tradition, established practices, often siloed departments, and high levels of autonomy at many levels. When studying a number of institutions, we found that too often, rather than facilitating recruiting and admissions, they were actually better at discouraging students from attending.  Messaging was frequently negative and top administrators were often unaware of what students were hearing. We must learn from those who have successfully navigated these areas and who continue to improve in order to thrive in the future.  This workshop will contain specific examples and exercises in ramping up prospective student relations by developing micro-target marketing partnerships within a region.

Dr. Mary Landon Darden and Team

Identifying your Critical Pivots and Making Them / Revenue Stream Development -- Your Plan for the Future and the Legs on the Financial Stool

Tuition and Donors are no longer enough to fund higher education. Explore the possibilities of what potential revenue streams may be created and/or deepened at your institution.  Learn from what others are doing and brainstorm your own options.

Hon. Chet Edwards

How to Work Best with Legislators, and Access to Available Public Funding

Reaching and influencing local, state and national government leaders is a crucial part of insuring the best possible future for higher education and prospective students. The best way to learn how to reach out, connect, and influence these leaders is from someone who served in those legislative positions and knows what works and what does not.

Dr. Mary Landon Darden 

Assessing Your Institution – Finding Fertile Ground for Innovative Development and Student Services

Conducting an open and honest analysis of an institution and using the creative minds of those who truly see viable untapped opportunities and issues within can be an enormous asset and can fuel excitement and buy-in for moving into a “thrive” mode.  Learn how to turn this type of assessment into an engine that moves operations forward into the future.