Program Overview

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How was the NLI Fellowship structured?

During the active Fellowship, 15-18 executives were selected globally per year as Noyce Leadership Fellows to participate in a year-long, intensive program of professional development and personal growth.  Using “action learning” principles, NLI’s concepts, tools, and resources were coordinated closely to ensure immediate applications of the learning in the Fellow’s work environment.  Throughout the program year, Fellows brought real-life issues into the program – seeking insights and solutions from interaction with faculty, executive coaches, other program advisors, and their peers.  NLI provided leaders with access to knowledge, alternative approaches, promising practices, and professional networks to sustain and advance innovation in their own institutions and in the field.

Three Residential Intensives (retreats) provided opportunities for Fellows to meet leading experts in leadership, strategy, governance, organizational change, nonprofit management, and fundraising.  Before and between retreats, Fellows exchanged information and ideas with faculty, peers, and executive coaches through audio conferences, telephone calls, and a private website.  The program also included direct contact with “leaders in residence”, accomplished executives from science centers and related fields who attend portions of on-site retreats and participated in audio-conferences as content experts.  The cohort design and the learning from peers are central to the program. During the program year, Fellows met monthly in small groups (“peer application groups”) via audio conference to share insights into the strategic issues they faced and to form a community with a high level of collegiality, confidentiality and trust.[a1]

In addition, each Fellow worked on a major “strategic initiative,” which was designed as essential work that their institution desired to undertake to address a current challenge and/or extend its reach and impact in its community or region.  This initiative also served as a focal point for applying new knowledge and leadership skills that Fellows honed via the program.   Strategic initiatives did not have to be completed within the program year, but Fellows were expected to make significant progress during this time.