Doerr Institute for New Leaders receives top national honor

Just four years after its founding with a mission to “elevate the leadership capacity of Rice students across the university,” the Doerr Institute for New Leaders has been recognized by the national Association of Leadership Educators (ALE) with the Outstanding Program Award.

The Doerr Institute team at the annual Association of Leadership Educators conference: back row, from left, Brooklyn Holt, Tom Kolditz, Ryan Brown and Chase Crook. Front row, from left: Ruth Reitmeier, Lillie Besozzi, Lebena Varghese, Sarah Sullivan and Stephanie Taylor.

The award, which was presented to Doerr Institute leadership and staff July 9 at the annual ALE conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, recognizes leadership programs developed or implemented by educators. The Doerr Institute, one of two recipients, received the award for its out-of-classroom, non-credit program.

Doerr Institute postdoctoral research fellow Lebena Varghese won the award for Outstanding Innovative Practice Paper for her paper titled “How to Evaluate In-House Leadership Programs? A Scientific Attempt to Link Objectives to Outcome Metrics.” The paper says that current assessments of the efficacy of leader development programs lack scientific rigor. It also suggests enhancing the impact of programs by collecting data that goes beyond measurements of satisfaction.

Stephanie Taylor, assistant director of leadership development at the Doerr Institute, and Lillie Besozzi, senior associate director, won the award for Distinguished Innovative Practice Poster. Their poster, “University-Wide Approach to Leader Development: A Playbook,” highlights a comprehensive, principle-based and universitywide approach to leader development that establishes a framework and measurement strategies.

The Doerr Institute, established in 2015 with support from a significant gift by alumni Ann ’75 and John Doerr ’73, is the United States’ first professional and comprehensive leadership development program. Led by executive director Tom Kolditz, a retired brigadier general, the institute provides all Rice students with individualized guidance from credentialed coaches at no cost.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.