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ARL Leadership Fellows Program

2021–2022 ARL Leadership Fellows at University of Calgary

Program Goals
Program Schedule
How the Program Works
Applying to the Program
Host Site Institutions
Current ARL Leadership Fellows
Past ARL Leadership Fellows


The ARL Leadership Fellows program, the flagship offering of the ARL Learning Network, 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.

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.

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.

Program Goals

The leadership development goals of the program uphold the overarching goal of the ARL Learning Network, which has been created to “foster the development of an agile, diverse, and highly motivated workforce as well as the inspiring leadership necessary to meet present and future challenges.” The program’s combination of curriculum, coaching, mentoring, individualized learning, and site visits will:

  • 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 that 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

Program Schedule

The 2022 Leadership Fellows concluded in December 2022. The next Leadership Fellows cohort will convene in January 2024, with orientation in fall 2023. The application window for the 2024 cohort will open in summer 2023. Please check this web page periodically for more information as the application window period approaches.

How the Program Works

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. 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.

Each cohort is guided through a multi-faceted curriculum designed to strengthen leadership foundations and enhance leadership skills:

  1. 360° assessment and career coaching: Each fellow will complete a 360° assessment coupled with a series of career coaching sessions to help fellows understand their individual strengths and challenges as emerging leaders.
  2. Monthly online sessions focused on different aspects of leadership in complex organizations: Nine monthly learning sessions on topics such as values-driven leadership; leading for diversity, equity, and inclusion; strategically managing budgets and other institution assets; fundraising; navigating internal organizational politics; and more.
  3. Guided individual learning: Monthly readings, videos, and other exercises related to the monthly session theme.
  4. Team projects: A leadership experience for small (four-person) cohort teams, structured around an ambitious project that spans the entire length of the program.
  5. Individualized mentoring: Each fellow works directly with an ARL library director in an individual mentoring relationship.
  6. Site visits: Two multiday visits to distinguished host site institutions include enriching engagement with institution leaders, special events, and tours.
  7. Conference visits: If possible, fellows will attend at least one ARL Association Meeting and one CNI Membership Meeting, and participate in planned sessions for the cohort at each meeting.

Fellows will have many opportunities to guide and shape the learning experience of the cohort through their suggestions and feedback. Monthly evaluations of their experience by fellows will ensure continuous feedback and adjustments as the year progresses.


Please feel free to contact learn@arl.org.

  • 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....

  • How to Apply to the ARL Leadership Fellows Program

    The application deadline for the 2021–2022 ARL Leadership Fellows cohort has now passed. The application cycle for the 2024 ARL Leadership Fellows cohort will open in summer 2023. Here’s how...

  • Host Site Institutions: ARL Leadership Fellows Program

    Overview The ARL Leadership Fellows program is ARL’s flagship executive leadership development program. Integral to the program are three daylong institutes that bring together fellows and practicing library leaders around...

  • Current ARL Leadership Fellows

    Below is the roster of the 2021–2022 ARL Leadership Fellows program cohort. The Leadership Fellows program is funded in part through generous support from EBSCO Information Services. ...