What are the Institutes?


…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 a HERS Institute.

The deeply thoughtful 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 Institutes 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 Institutes 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 a 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 Institutes are offered at three locations and in two residential formats.

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


The HERS Institute experience 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. We send participants information for a secure HERS website following their acceptance. This website contains all the information a participants needs to successfully complete a HERS Institute. She will find the assigned reading materials and other assignments directly related to the curricular themes we plan to survey during the Institute at this site. Once participants complete and submit assignments on the same secure site, we share responses with the appropriate faculty members. The assignment due dates are spread over several weeks and do require good time management for full completion prior to your arrival on campus.

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 an 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.

For more information on who attends the HERS Institutes, please see the participant profiles below.

Application Process

The HERS application process begins with an applicant selecting a HERS Institute.  Once an Institute is selected, an applicant begins working on the application which may be completed in one sitting or saved and returned to at a later date before submission. A complete application includes:

  • Personal Contact Information
  • Professional History
  • Personal Essay
  • CV/Resume
  • Two Letters of Support & Recommenders Contact Information
    • Institute President/Chancellor
    • Direct Supervisor
    • (HERS will contact your identified recommenders directly for letters of support; however, we encourage applicants to contact recommenders prior to this solicitation.)
  • Funding
    • Will your institution be sponsoring you?
    • Will you be sponsoring yourself?
    • Will you have third-party funding (foundation, professional organization, etc.)?

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.

Participants representing these institutions, and who cannot secure funding from other sources, should first complete the Institute application. The participant’s two recommenders must both check the appropriate “inclusive excellence tuition rate” request box upon submitting their letter of recommendation.

The inclusive excellence tuition rate will not exceed half of the tuition charged annually. 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.

CBL Awards

In November 2015 HERS was awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in celebration of 25 years of extraordinary support for individual women students and faculty in science through the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program.  Agreeing with the Luce Foundation that the advancement of women in STEM higher education requires advancing more women into leadership roles in STEM fields and into senior positions supporting STEM, HERS will draw upon over 40 years of providing leadership development experiences for women in higher education through its intensive residential programs, the HERS Leadership Institutes.

More specifically, the two Summer Leadership Institutes – HERS Denver and HERS Bryn Mawr – will host 6-woman STEM-focused cohorts 2016-2018, with 36 women completing the HERS-CBL program over the next three years.  HERS Summer Institute tuition, accommodations, meals and travel are covered for HERS-CBL participants.  In addition to receiving targeted support from HERS Alumnae in STEM during the selected Summer Institute, HERS-CBL participants will also make key connections with the larger group of HERS participants; connections and mentorships that go far beyond the two weeks spent at the Institute.

HERS is eager to prepare a core group of senior women leaders in STEM and to connect the core group with HERS Alumnae from STEM disciplines in a Women’s Leadership Community for STEM Higher Education.

Applications Available: December 10, 2015

HERS-CBL Scholarship Application Deadline: March 15, 2016

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 HERS Institutes

    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.

  • Elizabeth Suárez

    Director of HERS Denver Institute

    Elizabeth Suárez, a Puerto Rican native, is the Director of the HERS Denver Summer Institute, as well as one of the HERS core faculty in negotiation and conflict resolution. In this role, she is responsible for curriculum development, participant evaluation, and faculty placement. 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.

  • Hillary Riposo

    HERS Wellesley Program Coordinator

    Hillary S. Riposo is the Program Coordinator for the HERS Wellesley Institute. Ms. Riposo earned her Ed. M. at Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Administration, Planning and Social Policy. She has held positions in higher education administration at Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, Brandeis University, and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. She attended the HERS Wellesley Institute in 1989-1990.

  • Erin Oglesby

    Program Manager for the Summer Institutes

    Erin Oglesby joined HERS as the Summer Institutes Program Manager in March 2014.  In this role, she supports both the HERS Denver Summer Institute and HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute by managing day-to-day operations, faculty support, and assisting with participant communication.  Ms. Oglesby serves as the first point of contact for HERS constituents including host site staff, participants, and faculty.

    Previously, she served as the Assistant Director of Development Events at Johns Hopkins University managing conferences, graduations, and other advancement programs on the Baltimore campus.  Ms. Oglesby also has experience working with alumni relations and school admissions.  She received her B.A. in Psychology from Georgetown University.


HERS Institute Core Faculty

  • 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.”