About the ASU Leadership Institute

Each year, the ASU Leadership Institute, sponsored by ASU Alumni, accepts a cohort of up-and-coming and current leaders for a professional and personal leadership development program. This structured nine-month program takes an in-depth look at the university and its institutional objectives to demonstrate excellence, access and impact, and the importance of higher education. During the program, participants meet ASU renowned professors, practitioners and executive leaders. 

The ASU Leadership Institute broadens the perspectives of leaders on critical issues facing our region. During ASU Innovation Days, the program increases awareness of how higher education, business and community can succeed together. The ASU Leadership Institute works to enlighten, inspire and transform leaders from diverse professions and communities.

Participants must demonstrate a strong commitment to leadership, civic engagement and making a difference in their communities. Successful candidates from the private, public and nonprofit sectors are chosen through a competitive selection process held in late spring through early summer. The program is specially designed to help participants develop and understand critical leadership skills. The cohort will participate in a leadership assessment tool that will provide in-depth analysis and insights that identify key strengths to further develop and areas to enhance. Each ASU Innovation Day will feature a leadership panel or program showcasing top educators and experts in many fields, including business, consulting, nonprofit management, ethics, media and military service.

The ASU Leadership Institute immerses participants in the culture and assets that are essential to ASU’s future with behind-the-scenes tours. The institute provides a transformative experience, inspiring leaders to innovate and strengthen the community. After completing the program, leaders will be equipped to serve on ASU boards, mentor students, create scholarships and serve as community ambassadors.

Questions about the ASU Leadership Institute? Contact  Alissa Serignese at 480-965-2133.

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Application to the ASU Leadership Institute is open to all degreed ASU alumni who have demonstrated community involvement through participation in at least two organizations and who were involved as a student in organizations and clubs on campus or are currently involved with ASU. The application for the upcoming leadership class opens every January.

The application for Class 4 is now closed. Check back in January 2022 to apply for Class 5.

The written application is weighted equally as the candidate interview. It is important that candidates devote adequate time to the written application. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. To complete the written application process, you must submit the online application and provide the following:

  • Your resume.
  • A personal statement of 300–500 words.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
    • One must be from your current employer.
    • One must be from a community organization in which you are involved or have been involved.
  • A nonrefundable application fee of $50.

The program fee for the ASU Leadership Institute is $1,750 and is due by Aug. 31. Participants can avail of an early bird fee price of $1,500 if paid in full by Aug. 15. The program fee covers full participation in all ASU Innovation Days, all materials, and meals during the Institute.

A select number of candidates will be interviewed for approximately 30 minutes each by an ASU Leadership Institute selection panel. Applications will be scored by how well candidates demonstrate leadership competencies during the interview and the written application.

The ASU Leadership Institute selection panel will approve members of the upcoming class in the summer of each year. All candidates will be notified after the approval process, and those who are not selected will be encouraged to apply for the next class.


The Class 4 program runs from August to June, beginning with an orientation, continuing with one full program day each month and concluding with a graduation ceremony. In addition to attending the program, participants will be required to complete a team-based community impact project.

The requirements below must be met to qualify for successful completion of the program. Attendance is mandatory at orientation, the first ASU Innovation Day and graduation (no exceptions). If you cannot commit to the schedule, please consider applying at a time when you can commit to the time requirements. Requirements:

  • Attendance on all program days. One excused absence is allowed to meet graduation requirements.
  • Participation in an ASU/Sun Devil Impact Project. 
  • Attendance at orientation.
  • Attendance at graduation.
  • One-time participation in a panel.

Schedule for Class 4

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Innovation Days*
September 24, 2021
October 15, 2021
November 19, 2021
December 10, 2021
January 14, 2022
February 11, 2022
March 11, 2022
April 8, 2022
Graduation — May 13, 2022
*Dates are subject to change

The curriculum elements of the ASU Leadership Institute include Innovation Days, social events and the opportunity to participate in a panel.

  • ASU Innovation Days
    Once a month, from August to June, participants spend a day focusing on critical components of higher education and ASU. Each ASU Innovation Day features guest speakers who are experts in their respective fields. A tour of resources on ASU campuses is also included. Innovation Day themes include: Foundations in Leadership, On the Cutting Edge – Science and Research, Redefining Success – Knowledge Enterprise and Community Development, Excellence in Academics, Tomorrow’s Technology at Polytechnic, New Year, New You, Downtown’s Professional Buzz, Culture of Student Success and Champion Mindset.

  • Social events
    Social events include opportunities to interact with your institute classmates through the ASU/Sun Devil Impact Project, opportunities to attend ASU athletic events and a leadership-style exercise.

  • Panel element
    Participants will be asked to share their insights with current ASU students, members of future ASU Leadership Institute Participants of the program, the ASU Alumni Association Board of Directors and National Alumni Council, or the Trustees of ASU. This is a one-time commitment.

What is the ASU Leadership Institute?
The ASU Leadership Institute immerses leaders in the culture and assets essential to ASU’s future and the impact of higher education on society. During this structured nine-month program, participants will meet renowned professors and practitioners at ASU as well as university executive leaders. ASU Leadership provides a transformative experience inspiring leaders to innovate and strengthen our community.

Where can I get more information on the program?
This website serves as a guide to provide information about the program, application and selection processes, and answers to frequently asked questions about the program.

Who can apply?
The program is open to all ASU alums who are interested in serving their community and ensuring the future of higher education. We’re looking for Sun Devils who will enjoy spending focused time at their alma mater and with the leaders of the country’s No. 1 university in innovation (U.S. News & World Report, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), who will successfully complete the program, and who will stay involved with ASU upon completion of this program.

How do I apply?
The application process is open from January to June annually. If you’ve missed the deadline, please feel free to submit your interest for Class 5 to Alissa Serignese at Alissa.Serignese@asu.edu.

Will you consider applicants from outside the Phoenix metropolitan area?
Absolutely. All participants will be required to fulfill time and project requirements at their own expense in addition to the application and tuition fees.

What is the time commitment, and how long are the program days?
The time commitment for the ASU Leadership Institute includes nine ASU Innovation Days (8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.), the program orientation, graduation, ASU/Sun Devil Impact Project and one-time service on a leadership panel. Attendance is mandatory for the orientation, ASU Innovation Day #1 and graduation (absolutely no exceptions). If you cannot commit to the full schedule, please consider applying at another time when it better suits your schedule.

What is the schedule for the program?

  • Orientation
    Thursday, August 12, 2021
  • Innovation Days
    September 24, 2021
    October 15, 2021
    November 19, 2021
    December 10, 2021
    January 14, 2022
    February 11, 2022
    March 11, 2022
    April 8, 2022
    Graduation — May 13, 2022

How much does the ASU Leadership Institute cost?
The program fee is $1,750 and due Aug. 31. There is early bird fee is $1,500 if paid in full by Aug. 15. The program fee covers full participation in all ASU Innovation Days, all materials and meals during the institute.

Is there a tuition refund policy if an employee withdraws or leaves the company?
The ASU Alumni Association will reimburse 50% of the program costs if the participant withdraws prior to the start of the program. Due to the nature of the program, reimbursements are not available after the start of the program, and both the participant and their employer will be liable for any unpaid fee balance.

How do employers benefit by sponsoring an applicant?
Employers benefit from an employee’s improved leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills. Through their employee’s involvement, employers gain access to a broad network of prestigious leadership contacts, extensive knowledge of higher education and its impact on society, and how the No. 1 university in innovation prepares the next generation of leaders. Through this nine-month program, participants will learn the value and strength of individual influence on effecting change.

Does an individual need their employer’s permission to apply?
Yes. All participants must have their employer’s permission to participate, and the participants must indicate the commitment on the application form.

I do not work for a company; I own my business. Can I apply?
Absolutely. In this case, please submit a letter of recommendation from another source such as a mentor, business partner, former professor, former colleague, etc.

What are the expectations upon completion of the program?
After successful completion of the program, we want participants to stay involved in the ASU Leadership Institute, become involved in the university by serving on a board or council, help create and/or fundraise for student scholarships, serve as ambassadors for ASU in the community, and help ensure the ongoing success of this program.