Three Locations, One Curriculum


…HERS has lived up to its promise; it has provided a toolkit that any woman aspiring to a leadership position would give anything to have.

Since 1976, over 5,000 women in faculty, staff, and administrative roles in higher education have further developed their leadership ability by attending the HERS Institute.

The deeply thoughtful online application process prepares every participant for the work she will embark on to strengthen and expand her leadership skills. Her viewpoint, enriched by working closely with HERS faculty, staff and alumnae, can immediately impact her campus and higher education at the Institute’s conclusion. While critically assessing intersectionality and reflecting on her experiences in higher education, she will also chronicle which transferable skills she has and which skills will require additional development.

Participants find the Institute to be a safe environment to share confidential matters. The active learning style utilized by HERS faculty also leads to meaningful collaboration. The end of the HERS Institute is the beginning of something new—new methods for transforming higher education and a new professional network which possesses a deep understanding of all facets of higher education.

The Institute is offered at three locations and in two residential formats.

  • Wellesley: Core curriculum delivered in cumulative, multi-weekend sessions held throughout the academic year; traditionally in October, November, and March
  • Bryn Mawr: Core curriculum delivered in a concentrated, 12-day campus residency format;  traditionally held in June or July
  • Denver: Core curriculum delivered in a concentrated, 12-day campus residency format;  traditionally held in June or July

2018/2019 HERS Leadership Institute


The HERS Institute is one of the most compelling leadership development opportunities in higher education. All participants, whether selecting the Bryn Mawr College, University of Denver, or Wellesley College location, experience the same transformational curriculum and have a chance to shape the Institute to meet their unique professional needs. Prior to the Institute, participants start exploring the 3-pronged leadership development model by completing assigned reading materials and other assignments to help determine what matters most to them and their institutions. Additionally, the readings and assignments help participants start considering how they may positively lead and influence higher education.

Leadership Development Model

  • Self-Knowledge
  • Networking
  • Institutional Awareness

HERS has a legacy of inspiring women to change higher education by creating a community where sharing and reflecting is core. Are you ready to change higher education?

Readings and Assignments

The reading materials include pieces discussing current trends as well as some to address the evolution of higher education.

To give you a glimpse of the work participants do before starting, we highlight three of the key assignments that, according to alumnae feedback, have produced great benefits for all participants.

Interviewing senior officers on your campus

  • Academic (e.g. dean or vice president of academic affairs)
  • Financial (treasurer, comptroller, vice president of finances and administration)
  • Information
  • Student Affairs (dean or vice president)
  • Diversity
  • Development or Advancement
  • Executive (e.g. president, chancellor or system head)

Creating a project to change something within your unit, on your campus, or within higher education

  • Sharing impact, scope, potential barriers and path
  • Summarize your project in 75 words or less

Taking center stage on your leadership development

  • Revisit self-descriptive letter submitted during HERS Institute application process
  • Consider your personal financial plan for current goals and retirement
  • Noting current or prior leadership on resume or curriculum vitae
  • Uncover facets of your personality type
  • Self-assessment to better understand how you direct your energy between work and family

Who Should Attend?

HERS attracts hundreds of diverse and dynamic women leaders each year seeking to attend the Institute to share and learn from multiple institutional perspectives with guidance from women faculty with experience in higher education, national academic organizations, government and foundations.

Institute participants generally hold mid to senior-level positions and bring expertise from all parts of a college or university. They also represent a range of ethnic and national groups, ages and years of experience in higher education and other fields.

Applying to the Institute

A complete online application includes:

  • CV/Resume
  • Letters from two recommenders; one from your institution’s president/CEO or senior officer AND one from your direct supervisor (e.g. president/CEO, chief officer in your area, and/or direct supervisor)
  • Information for Leadership Development Essay
    • Short and long term career goals
    • Expectations for your HERS Institute experience
  • Information for Leadership Project Initiative
    • Project you’ve been assigned or you’d like to initiate on your campus

Inclusive Excellence Tuition Rate

In keeping with the HERS mission of “equality and excellence in higher education” and acknowledging campus missions which support and educate diverse communities, we proudly offer traditionally under-resourced institutions designated as a tribal college or university, historically Black college or university, or community college an inclusive excellence tuition rate.

Applicants representing these institutions, who are considered full-time faculty and/or staff, and who cannot secure funding from other sources, can request to be considered for this rate while completing their Institute application.

If awarded, the inclusive excellence tuition rate will be equivalent to half of the regular HERS Institute tuition, not including early application discounts or accommodation packages specified at each location.

Because the goal of offering this special tuition rate is to build the strength and diversity of the HERS Institute classes, priority in awarding will reflect different institutional types, regions of the country and other factors relevant to the learning and growth of the class.

HERS Institute Staff

  • Judith S. White

    President & Executive Director

    Dr. Judith S. White has been President and Executive Director of HERS since June 2005. During her tenure, HERS Institutes were redesigned so that the three Institutes could offer an enhanced curriculum to serve 200 women participants annually. She now directs HERS leadership and partnership initiatives, including the HERS Summits for Women Presidents & Chancellors and research collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership.

    Before coming to HERS, Dr. White was an administrator and faculty member at Duke University, Dartmouth College, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She has been a Senior Fellow at the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) and serves on the board of Re: Gender. She earned her A.B at Princeton, M.A. at Columbia, and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Dr. White is a HERS Bryn Mawr alumna 1996.

  • Raymonda (Ray) Burgman

    Director of the HERS Institute

    Dr. Ray Burgman began her tenure as Director of HERS Institutes June 2013. In this role, she leads the planning and delivery of the three signature HERS programs for leadership development for women in higher education – the HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, the HERS Denver Summer Institute and the HERS Wellesley Institute.

    Prior to this appointment, Burgman served as Associate Provost at New College of Florida and Associate Professor of Economics and Management at DePauw University. She received her doctorate in Economics from the University of Florida. Burgman is an alumna of the HERS Wellesley Institute, 2006 and the Harvard Institute for Educational Management, 2009.

  • Christy-Dale L. Sims

    Program Manager

    Dr. Christy-Dale Sims joined HERS as the Program Manager in June 2017. In this role, she brings together her experiences event planning, developing curricula and training resources, online teaching, intercultural and interpersonal communication training, and advocating for social equity.

    Prior to this appointment, Sims was a teacher-scholar at the University of Colorado Boulder, James Madison University, and University of Denver. She received her doctorate in Communication and graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder.


HERS Institute Core Faculty

  • Elizabeth Suárez

    HERS Core Faculty Member

    Elizabeth Suárez, a Puerto Rican native, serves as a HERS Core Faculty Member in negotiation and conflict resolution. Previously she served as Director of the HERS Institute at the University of Denver. Concurrently, she serves as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Leadership Studies faculty member at University of Denver.

    Elizabeth brings over 20 years of corporate executive management and small business owner experience to her work in the fields of leadership, conflict resolution, negotiation, persuasion, and inclusiveness. Mrs. Suárez received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA for the Wharton School of Business. She is an alumna of Harvard’s Executive Management Program and the National Hispania Leadership Institute.

  • Estela López

    Senior Associate, Excelencia in Education

    Estela López brings significant campus and organizational experience to her position of Senior Program Associate at Excelencia in Education. Senior administrative roles at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Northeastern Illinois State University and the Connecticut State University System and positions with leading national higher educational associations have shaped her leadership skills and made her an effective change agent for student success.

  • Nancy Martin

    Principal, Archer~Martin Associates

    Nancy Martin is an executive search consultant, an innovative career counselor, and a best-selling author. A co-founder of Archer~Martin Associates, Ms. Martin has exceeded clients’ expectations in finding top talent for colleges and universities. According to one, “For a recent search I chaired, we did not simply hope for the best—we went to the best and signed them up. As in every previous A~MA search, the university found just the right person to fill the position.”



  • “The leadership training I received at HERS, as well as the sense of community and camaraderie established with my HERS sisters, was instrumental in giving me the skills and confidence I needed to ‘lean in’ to this opportunity.”

  • “An experience of a lifetime and I feel very privileged to be a participant. My HERS experience has made me more confident about being able lead effectively and make a difference in higher education. It has helped me to better understand my strengths and areas where I have challenges to work on to be a more effective leader.”