Monday, September 14, 2009

MLIDr. Valerie S. Fields, associate vice president for Student Affairs, was nominated by President George E. Cooper to attend the Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI). The American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) MLI is a premier leadership development program that provides individuals, traditionally underrepresented in the highest ranks of higher education, the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview, and build the network needed to advance to the presidency.

According to Dr. Fields, the experience was invaluable. “I was able to interact with some of the most prestigious presidents and chancellors,” said Fields. “The experts in the media relations, advancement and fundraising, executive contract negotiation, financial management, accreditation, and the executive search process provided excellent training experiences. I am pleased that Dr. Cooper provided the opportunity,” continued Fields.

Ironically, Fields also met with SC State University student Deon T. Tedder while walking the halls of the Senate. Tedder is an SC State Honors Program Scholar who was selected for a summer internship in the office of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

MLI provides these invaluable experiences for many individuals who wish to progress in their careers. MLI was originally conceived by AASCU’s African-American presidents to ensure that the next generation of leaders in higher education reflects the diversity of our nation. The program identifies African-American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, and Pacific Islanders in senior-level positions who are interested in career advancement, and helps them achieve that goal. MLI, however, accepts all qualified applicants who meet the requirements.

For a decade, MLI has reinforced the vital role that diversity plays in the institutional mission; assisting participants to advance in their careers, and helping institutions diversify their executive leadership.