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ARL Leadership Fellows Program


The ARL Leadership Fellows program, the flagship offering of the ARL Academy, develops and prepares the next generation of senior library and archival leaders. Since 2004, the ARL Leadership Fellows program has successfully equipped and supported library and archives staff throughout the profession who have the desire and potential for leadership in a variety of research settings, including ARL member institutions, other research libraries and archives, public and private institutions, knowledge and cultural heritage institutions, and private enterprise worldwide.

In 2020, the program was redesigned based on a comprehensive review, building on program strengths and best practices in contemporary leadership development, while integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion principles and perspectives throughout the curriculum.

The ARL Leadership Fellows program provides exceptional opportunities for growth in research library and archives leadership; enriching exposure to innovative and successful leaders in libraries, public policy, scholarship, research, and higher education; and an extraordinary community of supportive fellows that extends far beyond the program. Each cohort is guided by a robust curriculum designed to strengthen leadership foundations and enhance leadership skills. Embracing ARL’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of leadership, the Leadership Fellows program will equip fellows to better meet the call to action for systemic change across research libraries and archives.

Through a revised design that includes a formal curriculum, coaching, mentoring, individualized learning, and site visits, the program aims to achieve the following goals: 

  • Create an exemplary developmental and exploratory experience for senior research library and archive leaders who seek to make a difference, from ARL member institutions and across the profession
  • Expand the diversity and overall pool of talented leaders for research libraries and archives
  • Provide guided, structured, learning opportunities for senior library and archive leaders to build relationships; encounter and learn from top-level leaders in higher education, public policy, and the research and learning enterprise; and cultivate a network of community support
  • Equip aspiring senior library and archive leaders with the skills and knowledge to navigate intense and ongoing challenges
  • Prepare emerging senior leaders to steer institutions through productive and inclusive change that responds to and engages key stakeholders
  • Supply emerging senior leaders with the knowledge and skills to build diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations that exemplify the potential of broad-based, socially conscious change in learning and research communities and which recognize the opportunities and challenges within parent institutions 
  • Nurture a diversity of talent that can further the capacities and capabilities of research libraries and archives as collaborative partners in the broader research and learning ecosystem

Past fellows have emerged as successful leaders in a wide array of settings, including as deans and directors of research libraries and archives and as leaders at all levels in various organizations. After they complete the program, fellows find continued support through peer-to-peer relationships and a lifelong professional network of colleagues.

The call for applications for the redesigned program will be announced in early 2021, with the selection of the 2021–2022 cohort occurring in spring 2021. Information on how to apply will be released shortly.

For more information, contact John Ulmschneider, Leadership Fellows program director, at leadershipfellows@arl.org.


  • Sponsors of ARL Leadership Fellows

    ARL Leadership Fellows Sponsor Directors are expected to contribute to the program planning and to host a weeklong Institute. A Sponsor Director's institution and/or library strength(s) add value to the...

  • Past ARL Leadership Fellows

    Below are rosters of past cohorts of ARL Leadership Fellows. Professional titles and institutional affiliations listed below were current at the time of fellowship and may no longer be accurate....


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