HEI Visionary Presidents Institute:

The President as Entrepreneur

Executive Workshops, Training, and Certificate

HEI offers presidential training workshops for current presidents.

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

Workshops are limited to 15 members in order to ensure optimum interaction and team building.

The series includes nine 2 hour session workshops led by higher education experts. 

Available Cohorts for Presidents Online Certificate Workshop: 

Cohort 2:

Wednesdays, 1-3 p.m. CT

January 6 - March 3, 2021
(9 sessions)

Cohort 3:

Fridays, 1-3 p.m. CT

April 9- June 4, 2021
(9 sessions)


  • 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. Mary Landon Darden – 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. Dr. Darden has experience building innovative course-delivery partnerships with business and industry and with those has created established ongoing relationships with prospective student pipelines.  These customer-service focused; non-traditional programs established consistently high retention rates of more than 80%.  Darden will discuss her strategies and experience, and then work with the group on identifying opportunities and strategies for targeting partnerships within administrators’ 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. Robert C. Cloud & 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 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 Innovation 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.

Certificate are awarded at the end of the last session for all of those who have completed all nine.

Cost:  $3890 for workshop series package

Location: Online

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 on on-site team training and assessments

  • Cohort formation and networking with other presidents from various backgrounds

Note: Refunds only available until 1 month prior to first online meeting

The Presenters:

Dr. Mary Landon Darden:

Dr. Mary Landon Darden is the President of Higher Education Innovation.  She holds a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Baylor University. Darden has 25 years of successful, innovative and award-winning higher education leadership experience and is currently working with colleges and universities to assist with leadership training and institutional critical pivots and entrepreneurial development and enhancement in order to move from “survive to thrive.” She is the author of a book co-published with the American Council on Education and Rowman and Littlefield titled Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America, which was adopted as a textbook in the higher education administration doctoral program at Harvard University and is also being used as a strategic planning tool for a number of universities nationwide.

Dr. Greg Leman

Greg Leman is a Clinical Professor in Entrepreneurship at Baylor University. His current role is focused on gaining early stage funding that enables Baylor-research-based tech companies to launch in the local region. He recently served as a Loaned Executive, filling the role of Executive Director for Start Up Waco, a newly founded nonprofit whose mission is to formalize and optimize the greater Waco ecosystem for entrepreneurship.  He is the Founder and of the LAUNCH Innovative Business Accelerator at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC).  Over the past 11 years as a tech-biz venture coach he has accumulated a 75% success rate in taking teams to their next major strategic milestone, and his clients include national innovation competition winners.

Dr. Robert C. Cloud

Dr. Robert Cloud is a professor of higher education and long-time chair of the Department of Educational Leadership (EDL) at Baylor University. He holds four academic degrees and is a former community college administrator, having served as president of Lee College in Texas for ten years and as vice president and dean in three other Texas colleges. Dr. Cloud’s current research interests include higher education leadership, educational law and policy, current issues, governance, the federal student loan program and student debt, and organizational behavior. He is the author of a number of articles and books on higher education law.

Dr. Richard Fossey

Paul Burdin Endowed Professor of Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr. Fossey has a doctorate in Educational Policy and Planning from Harvard University and a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law. He taught Higher Education Law for 25 years and was lead editor of a higher education Law text titled Contemporary Issues in Higher Education Law (2nd and 3rd editions). He conducts research and teaches graduate-level courses in education law and policy. Prior to pursuing a higher-education career, he practiced law in Alaska, where he represented a number of rural school districts in Alaska Native communities.

Hon. Chet Edwards, U.S. Congress 1991-2010, Texas State Senate 1983-1990

Chet Edwards served for 8 years in the Texas Senate and 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In the Texas Senate, Edwards was a Member of the Senate Education Committee, and Texas Monthly named him “One of Ten Outstanding Legislators.”  In the U.S. House, Edwards was a Chief Deputy Whip and served on the Budget, Armed Services, Veterans Affairs and Appropriations Committees. He wrote the 2009 law that  provides a full GI college scholarship to every military child in America who has lost a mother or father in service to country.  Edwards graduated in 1974 with a BA in Economics from Texas A&M University and in 1981received an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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