NAU, Chair Academy partner to develop next generation of higher education leaders

President Rita Cheng and CEO of The Chair Academy announce new partnership

A need to develop leaders who can navigate the fast-changing landscape of higher education has led to a new partnership between Northern Arizona University and The Chair Academy, a Mesa Community College-based organization that offers leadership development programs for college and university faculty and administrators.

Under the partnership agreement, participants who complete The Chair Academy’s Foundation Academy Program can apply the credits to a graduate certificate or a master’s degree in community college and higher education leadership at NAU. The partnership brings together two organizations with a long history of developing cutting-edge leadership programs in higher education.

“This agreement is a natural next step for our very productive relationship, which is based on a shared passion for training the higher education leaders of tomorrow,” President Rita Cheng said. “The new generation of presidents, deans and chairs must be well-equipped to lead and thrive in an era where rapid change is truly our new normal, and the shared dynamic and rigorous curriculum of this program recognizes the complex issues we face.”

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, half of the 1,100 community college presidents in the United States may retire during the next decade. Leaders at all colleges and universities face challenges as traditional higher education business models change due to disruptive technologies, increased demands and limited public funding.

“The Chair Academy is honored to partner with NAU and share our mission of advancing academic and administrative leadership,” said Rose Marie Sloan, chief executive officer of The Chair Academy. “Our goal is to provide relevant, learner-centered training and professional development for higher education leaders that is engaging, meaningful and practical. This agreement is a positive step forward in implementing our collective vision of developing transformational leaders globally and influencing positive change.”

Students completing The Chair Academy may be eligible to enroll in up to six credit hours of NAU graduate education credit. For more information on earning NAU graduate-level credit for Chair Academy leadership training, contact Richard Heath at or call (928) 775-4567.