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Vanderbilt Leadership Academy

Last Modified: 2017-03-02

Established by Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos in 2011, the Vanderbilt Leadership Academy (VLA) is a nine-month learning journey for high performing leaders in both academic and administrative areas that builds their knowledge, capability and passion for leading the institution. Each year, approximately 22 Participants are nominated by vice chancellors or division leaders. Nearly 90 leaders have completed the program since it began. 


VLA sessions feature speakers from both inside and outside Vanderbilt, roundtable lunches with senior leaders, and case studies in which difficult leadership challenges are discussed with a coach in a safe environment.  The program is designed to: 

  • Sharpen awareness of personal performance as a leader demonstrating the ability to receive feedback and self-adjust,
  • Promote behaviors that reflect learning and leading agility,
  • Demonstrate composure and presence, both internally and externally,
  • Build collaboration with colleagues across the University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and
  • Consider stakeholders’ interests, core values, and data in decision-making.

Common threads tie the sessions together and include a focus on:

  • Self- Who I am as a leader,
  • Others- How I effectively interact with others, and
  • Institution- How I prepare to lead the organization of the future.

Current/Previous Participants