The ASA Leadership Academy: Educating Next-Generation Leaders in Aging

Article excerpt

The American Society on Aging (ASA) announces the ASA Leadership Academy, a three-month leadership development intensive that debuts February 2012. Long at the forefront of leadership development education for professionals in the field of aging, ASA is pleased to present this dynamic, fast-paced program that will cultivate the field's next generation of leaders.

ASA created the Academy's diverse curriculum to impart knowledge, foster insight and focus on individuals' leadership styles and preferences. Coursework is a unique mix of online learning, selfassessment, coaching, lectures and facilitated group discussion.

"Building a workforce to serve our growing aging population is a front-and-center concern right now-and also for the future. That workforce must necessarily include new generations of leaders who will advocate for the needs of older adults. The ASA Board is excited about the Leadership Academy, which is yet another example of how ASA serves not just its membership community, but effects positive change in the field of aging at large," said John Feather, ASA Board Chair.

Leadership for the Future of Aging

The field of aging has changed considerably over the past decades, beginning with the formation of the Administration on Aging and passage of the Older Americans Act, which influenced a sea change, attracting the best and brightest to the field. Now, as the current cadre of leaders nears retirement, who will succeed them? How can we build the next generation of leaders for our field?

For 20 years, ASA has been addressing the critical need for leadership in the field of aging. The New Ventures in Leadership (NVL) program, founded in 1990, has educated and mentored nearly 400 emerging leaders of color in their careers. A recent survey of NVL graduates revealed that 82 percent remained in the field, and more than 90 percent advanced substantially in their careers-an outcome they attribute to competencies acquired in their NVL education.

ASA's Leadership Academy is open to all professionals in aging who have at least three to five years' experience in the field, are interested in building leadership skills and capabilities, and want to develop a career plan. Academy students will have access to respected leaders in the field of aging through one of the curriculum's most important components: the five-day lecture series held during the Aging in America Conference.

"I have long been closely involved with ASA, with its advocacy efforts and its membership community. ASA continually looks ahead, always exploring new ways of serving the field. They creatively use resources at hand, finding new avenues to mentor leaders, champion diversity and support advocacy for elders. I feel that the Leadership Academy is an excellent example of how ASA is leveraging the expert talent that unites at the Aging in America Conference to build and strengthen a workforce for the future," says Robyn Golden, director of Older Adult Programs, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill..

Education: Virtual and Real-Time

The Leadership Academy educates students in both virtual and real-time, offering two online webinars; a DiSC self-assessment tool and consultant-supported analysis; an individualized leadership development plan; lectures by recognized leaders in aging; facilitated dialog sessions; networking opportunities; and leadership literature. Special emphasis is placed on leading multi-disciplinary, multicultural teams.

"Our members' voices are bringing the new ASA Leadership Academy to life," says ASA President and CEO Bob Stein. "The curriculum came from market and member research, from an analysis of what's available elsewhere and from the ASA Board and its broader leadership."

The Academy's inaugural class begins in late February 2012, involving students in a comprehensive self-assessment process, preliminary assignments and an introductory webinar, and ends in April with a five-day program of lectures (held during the 2012 Aging in America Conference in Washington, D. …