Breaking the M.O.L.D. Year 1

Breaking the MOLD initiative organized five joint cohort events during the last academic year (2022-2023), bringing together faculty from our partner institutions – UMBC, UMD and MSU. Additionally, all partner institutions held regular campus meetings to foster in-depth learning and to provide opportunities for focused conversations.

Discussion topics at the Joint Cohort Events included a detailed examination of Institutional Structures of our partner institutions, a deeper look into the work of senior administrators at, a thorough examination of our value systems and how they can be integrated into our work through the HumetricsHss workshops, as well as conversations about personal preparation for senior leadership.

Distinguished speakers from our partner institutions as well as from across the US included Dr. Valerie Sheares Ashby (President, UMBC), Dr. Valerie Smith (President, Swarthmore College), Dr. Gloria Thomas (President, HERS Network), Dr. E. Patrick Johnson (Dean, School of Communication at Northwestern University), Dr. Marion Gill (Director of Special Projects, Princeton University), as well as writer and executive coach Octavia Goredema, writers and UMD distinguished faculty Dr. Fries-Britt and Dr. Turner Kelly, and a partner of Isaacson/ Miller Executive Search Firm, Keight Tucker Kennedy. Panels of senior administrators from the partner institutions, including provosts and deans, gave our participants the chance to hear from their institutional senior leadership in order to create a more in-depth understanding of their respective universities’ organizational systems.

The joint cohort symposia gave our participants an expansive overview of the current leadership landscape here at home and across the country, as well as a varied perspective on the challenges, the hopes and the demands on leadership in academia. In our campus cohort meetings, we were able to break down the large issues and discussions started in the joint meetings. Some of the highlights of the campus discussions included perspectives on leadership found in literature and media, reflections by the participants on their goals and guidance on potential leadership paths, examination of conflict management, and consideration of the pressing issues in today’s Higher Education landscape. Participants also had the opportunity to interview senior leaders in academia whose administrative positions they were potentially interested in; they also learned directly from the academic executive search experts about the specifics of preparation and participation in an executive academic search – including application materials and interview expectations.

Some of our goals for the second year of Breaking the M.O.L.D. Initiative’s programming include establishing shadowing opportunities for our participants to observe current senior leaders, as well as mentorship networks, to create a pipeline to senior leadership within our institutions and/or perhaps within the Maryland University System.


Breaking the M.O.L.D. Opening Event
August 15-16, 2022
Skylight Room, UMBC

Photo credit: Jim Burger






Joint Cohort Meeting #1
UMBC Campus
October 28th, 2022

Photo credit: Marlayna Demond, UMBC