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On Her Bucket List

Institute for Educational Management alum Lori Reesor discusses why HGSE's professional development program was a valuable experience.

Lori ReesorFor more than 40 years, the Institute for Educational Management (IEM) — one of the flagship leadership development programs offered by the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education (HIHE) at HGSE — has brought together participants with a variety of perspectives, from a broad range of institutions, to focus on the challenges of organizational change and leadership.

Among the higher education leaders who convened in Cambridge last summer for IEM was Lori Reesor, the vice president for student affairs at the University of North Dakota. Having heard positive things about the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education and IEM from colleagues for many years, Reesor decided to cross IEM off what she calls her “professional education bucket list” in 2014.

“Everyone told me attending IEM was the best professional development experience of their careers and I would wholeheartedly agree,” she says. “The reputation of Harvard and the quality of these specific programs is outstanding and this was my experience as well.”

Looking for a challenge, as well as for networking opportunities, Reesor was one of the 108 attendees of last summer’s institute. “I liked that the program covered broad topics in higher education; the readings were relevant, useful, and practical; [and] the discussions were lively, engaging, and challenging,” Reesor says. “I appreciated that I was learning with colleagues from all aspects of higher education. We all brought unique and valuable perspectives to the discussions which allowed for richer conversations and networking opportunities.”

Although she acknowledges that finding the time to attend a program such as IEM may be difficult for some, the benefits of the experience – including learning from and with an “outstanding faculty” and “talented colleagues” – are well worth it. In fact, she recommends IEM and HIHE to other leaders in higher education.

Designed to provide practical frameworks and leadership skills that participants can leverage as soon as they return home to their campus, the programs can have an immediate impact, Reesor says. “By attending an HIHE leadership program and implementing what you learn, you will be a more knowledgeable and effective leader — allowing us all to serve our institutions, students, and society more effectively,” she says. “It is worth it! I highly recommend it!”

You can learn more about Reesor’s experience and how she put her learning into practice first hand, during the upcoming HIHE webinar on January 28. Reesor will be joining Senior Lecturer James Honan, IEM faculty co-chair, as they discuss how the program can have a direct impact on your work.

Apply to attend IEM and other HIHE programs. The application deadline is February 13, 2015.