This article is published in the September 2023 issue.

CRA’s Inaugural Leadership Academy

By the CRA Leadership Academy Program Committee

CRA held its inaugural CRA Leadership Academy to inform and cultivate future leaders in computing and computing research in Chicago May 22-23, 2023.

There were 36 attendees from institutions across the United States and Canada. All attendees were recently promoted to full professors or likely to be promoted in the near future. Attendees completed pre-reads before the training and then participated in a series of interactive sessions in person, including:

  • Dinner and fireside chat with Georgia State University president M. Brian Blake and host Juan Gilbert
  • What makes a good leader
  • Search firms: roles, mechanics, and wisdom
  • Leading and Managing 360
  • Flexing your leadership muscles

Panel discussion from CRA’s inaugural Leadership Academy in May 2023

The speakers and organizers included those with a wide range of leadership experience, including a university president, a provost, three deans, four department heads, leaders at NSF and DARPA, and leaders of ACM, CRA, and various conferences.

The after-event survey indicated that the Academy was extremely well-received (with 81% of the respondents rating the academy as “excellent” and the remainder as “good”). Among the favorite pre-reads were the Harvard Business Review Who’s Got the Monkey? article (Dec.1999) and the video of a 2022 Interview of Carla Harris by Adam Grant. 94% of participants agreed that the pre-reads were “engaging.” All of the workshop sessions received strong positive reviews, with the most popular session being “Search firms: roles and mechanics, wisdom”, which was led by partners from the search firm Isaacson, Miller.

Attendee comments made at the end of the in-person component included:

  • I now have a better understanding of leadership opportunities.
  • I had a vague idea about leadership, but now it’s more concrete.
  • I was inspired to be more deliberate and methodical in thinking about leadership.
  • The event reminded me of the importance of building and maintaining a network.
  • I am now more sure that I want to be a leader.

A detailed agenda, readings on leadership, and more are available on the CRA Leadership Academy website. A series of follow-up virtual meetings are being planned for the Academy cohort in the Fall of 2023. These meetings will focus on (i) leadership “book group” discussions and (ii) building a leadership CV. The virtual meetings will be held as smaller breakout groups, to encourage interaction and networking. Discussions are also underway for a future second CRA Leadership Academy, likely to be held in February 2025.

The 2023 CRA Leadership Academy program committee was:

  • Carla Brodley (co-chair), Northeastern University
  • Juan Gilbert, The University of Florida
  • JimKurose (co-chair), The University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Manuel Pérez Quiñones, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Rachel Pottinger, The University of British Columbia
  • Nigamanth Sridhar, Cleveland State University