Premier leadership program designed to diversify and enrich higher education leaders
Indiana University Northwest Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Vicki Román-Lagunas has been selected to participate in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) 2023 Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI), a rigorous program designed to prepare higher education leaders to advance to the highest ranks of postsecondary education.
Through its rich network of faculty, alumni and other key campus leaders, MLI participants receive a realistic look at what the role of a higher education president entails, including navigating the current landscape of political polarization inequities and funding shortfalls.
“I am truly honored to be selected to participate for the 2023 MLI cohort,” said Román-Lagunas. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance my academic expertise and experiences to further enrich the Northwest campus, the most diverse campus within IU.”
Román-Lagunas joined IU Northwest nearly six years ago. In her role, she oversees all aspects of the academic and student dimensions of the campus in close coordination with Chancellor Ken Iwama and other university leaders.
She has furthered the campus’ commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, including successfully leading efforts to designate IU Northwest as a Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution. As a result, IU Northwest has received $8 million in federal grants; funding that has led to bold student success initiatives and projects.
MLI's impact and success
Since MLI’s inception in 1999, nearly 700 individuals have completed the program, with 153 going on to become university presidents or chancellors and 40 serving multiple presidencies or chancellorships.
Counted among its success stories is IU Northwest Chancellor Ken Iwama, a 2014 MLI graduate and current member of the initiative’s national executive steering committee.
“I could not be prouder of Vicki,” Iwama said. “The MLI program offers an invaluable opportunity for individuals, including myself, who have historically not advanced to the role of president or chancellor.
“The impact of this program is significant as it helps to build a strong pipeline of academic leadership that reflects the increased diversity of students enrolled in higher education institutions — first generation, low-income and students from historically under-represented backgrounds.”
Prior to IU Northwest, Román-Lagunas was acting provost and professor of Spanish at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She has a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and Culture from Florida State University and graduate and undergraduate degrees in Spanish from the University of Arizona and College of William and Mary, respectively.
Programming for the 2023 cohort begins this month in Washington, D.C. Members of the 2023 cohort can be viewed here.
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of 350 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise.