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Northwestern University Leadership Education Advancement Program

Providing a collaborative environment for emerging leaders.

Our Goals

The Northwestern University Leadership Education Advancement Program (NU-LEAP) provides a unique opportunity for Feinberg School of Medicine faculty to develop as a cohort of emerging leaders who can draw on each other to leverage opportunities and solve problems as mentors, investigators and practitioners.  Participants will work with program faculty in a collaborative environment to gain a better understanding of:

  • Their strengths and challenges as leaders
  • Feinberg/NMHC/Lurie Children's/SRALab as an academic medical center and Feinberg as a unit within Northwestern University
  • The challenges driving organizational change in academic medical centers

This program is offered by the Dean’s Office at the Feinberg School of Medicine.

Program Schedule

The program will meet approximately once per month between September 2023 and May 2024. Each session is four-to-five hours (a half-day), except for Sessions II and IX, which will be full-day retreats. Participants should also expect to spend approximately four hours monthly preparing for sessions.

Sessions VIII and IX are dedicated to the required team project. A list of projects will be provided during Session II. Participants will use the projects suggested by their peers to form teams of four to five. As a project team, they will then refine and advance their selected idea. Each project will also have an executive sponsor who will work with the team. Teams will work on their projects throughout the program to present in May.

Session I

Personal Leadership Part I: Introduction to Leadership
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Through a review of fundamentals, self-assessment, and discussion, we will look to understand what personal leadership means, who we are as leaders, how to develop leadership in others, and how to exercise personal leadership every day.

Session II

Leading at Feinberg: Conversation with the Dean and Overview of the Institution - Personal Leadership Part II
Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This session will frame the goals of this program in the context of challenges and opportunities facing medical schools and academic healthcare centers. We will look to understand the structure and governance of our institution.

We will continue looking to understand what personal leadership means, who we are as leaders, how to develop leadership in others, and how to exercise personal leadership every day.

Session III

Leading Teams & Projects - Fundamentals of Accounting & Finance Part I
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, from 1 to 6 p.m.

The objective of this session is to learn the needed skills and competencies of a successful leader in academic medicine, understand which ones may be most critical at our institution and identify opportunities for individual leadership growth. We will begin to review the basic framework of accounting and finance. We will learn how to evaluate a financial report and to understand the financial state of our institution through case studies.

Session IV

Fundamentals of Accounting & Finance Part II - Negotiating & Managing Change
Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, from 1 to 6 p.m.

We will conclude our review of the basic framework of accounting and finance from Session III. We will then review and discuss strategies for managing and approaching change. We will learn about specific strategies for change management that have been successful at our institution.

Session V

Power & Politics in Organizations
Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, from 1 to 6 p.m.

What are the behaviors that separate the successful leaders from the less successful leaders? During this session, we will explore the behaviors that allow you to be more effective in a senior leadership role.

Session VI

Strategies for Successful Negotiation - Strategic Process & Decision-Making
Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Through a case study and other materials, we will introduce concepts for effective negotiations. Specific attention is paid to distinguishing between positions and interests, and how those affect the ability to successfully negotiate with others.

Then, we will look at the strategic process more generally, how it’s applied to the field of healthcare and how the process works at our institution.

Session VII

Leadership Crucible: Learning from Risk, Challenge, and Failure
Tuesday, March 12, 2024, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Leading through crises offers some of the most powerful learning for leadership, especially personal insights. We will particularly focus on how those insights can aid your future leadership.

Session VIII

Project Team Meetings
Tuesday, April 9, 2024, from 1 to 6 p.m.

During this session, teams will fine-tune projects and course faculty will be available for questions and feedback. Program alumni will join us for an overview of past projects and a panel.

We will also hold a panel on enterprise leadership and the realities of problem-solving.

Session IX

Team Project Presentations and Graduation
Tuesday, May 21, 2024, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Teams and their sponsors will present their projects to the group, institution leadership and department chairs.

How to Apply

The application period is now open.

To apply, download and review the LEAP 2024-2025 Application. Browse the categories below for application information.


Participants must be assistant professors (with between four and 10 years in rank) or associate professors (no more than five years in rank) at Feinberg School of Medicine. The program is limited to no more than 25 participants.

 Application & Deadline

To be considered for the program, submit your application via the online application form no later than 10 p.m. on Monday, April 8, 2024. If you have questions, please email

Applications must include:

  • A Letter of Interest (no more than 750 words) that expresses why you want to be in this program (why you are interested, how participation in this program will help you as an academician and a brief description of a project or change that you would like to bring about as a result of this training) and links your interest in the program to a personal or professional experience
  • A letter from your chair on why they are nominating you for this program and how they see you benefiting
  • Your CV
  • A completed LEAP Application Form.
All the items listed above should be attached as one document to the online application form when submitted.

 Application Review Process

Final participation will be determined based on your demonstration of interest and needs assessment and considers the following:

  • Your motivation for participation
  • Your personal goals for the program and how they relate to your career development and goals
  • What are the skills you need to develop and why
  • Assembling a diverse cohort that enables interaction across a broad range of experiences, disciplines and institutions that comprise Feinberg’s academic community

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your materials by end of day on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.