Braving the Academic Leadership Landscape: A Case of Shared Leadership Model at the College for Financial Planning

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The Provost Leadership Team at the College for Financial Planning employs a shared leadership approach, which embraces various leadership styles, ensuring the inclusion of multiple perspectives on the issues at hand with open communication. The preliminarily noticeable results are a culture of empowerment and equity, improved morale, and enhanced student success.

Extended Abstract


Braving the Academic Leadership Landscape: A Case of Shared Leadership Model at the College for Financial Planning

Presenters: Dani Langworthy, David Mannaioni, Ashley Moran, Dr. Amy Rell, Dr. Aman Sunder

The College for Financial Planning (CFFP) was founded in 1972 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1994. Its programs include the well-known Certified Financial Planner© education program, which originated at the College, 13 certificate programs, 3 Master of Science degree programs, and the Certified Financial Planner© Exam Prep Review. Currently, CFFP serves the educational needs of approximately 10,000 students every year. Since Kaplan acquired CFFP in 2018, CFFP’s Academic Affairs division has navigated tumultuous changes expertly, thanks to implementing a collaborative, shared leadership model for governance via a Provost Leadership Team (PLT). This team draws upon the expertise of the Provost, Director of Academic Assessment, the College’s Deans, Registrar, and Academic Affairs Coordinator.

We identify the leadership styles among the PLT members using the available literature. Research has found that different leadership styles can have a distinct impact on the performance of an organization and provide frameworks that link academic leadership to student learning. The shared leadership framework requires shared accountability and teamwork among the stakeholders and has documented cases of success and challenges in academia. In this interactive session, the CFFP Provost Leadership Team will share how their collaborative, shared leadership approach has contributed to their successes and helped them navigate challenges and process and learn from failure.  PLT’s shared leadership approach has allowed academic administrators at CFFP to cultivate change through self-reflection on how they deploy one leadership style naturally and by stepping outside their comfort zone to adapt their approach situationally. While it can slow decision-making, it has ensured the inclusion of multiple perspectives and strengths, careful consideration of the issues and decisions at hand, and the ability to use the leadership style appropriate to the situation. In addition, the PLT’s actions have created a cultural sea-change of empowerment and equity and have broken down silos to open up lines of communication across the division.  Examining these successes and challenges exhibits how the leadership team grapples with individual differences to arrive at collective results that enhance faculty and staff morale and ultimately improve student success.


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