A growing libary of collaborative projects and publications by ELI cohorts and alumni.



Overcoming Obstacles to Progress
Vol. 1: Inaugural Edition

Published July 2020

The articles in this collection endeavor to identify and respond to wicked problems. Not all of the topics are specifically wicked, but they are obstacles to progress for enterprise leaders and any effort to overcome them would improve the organization.


Download PDF of Overcoming Obstacles Volume 1



Learning from Leaders EBook PDF

Learning from Leaders:
Advice from Presidents, Provosts, and Deans

Copyright 2019

James C. Votruba
Carole A. Beere
Gail W. Wells

There is an abundance of higher education leadership literature that offers significant insight into the challenges that colleges and university leaders confront. This brief volume focuses on the voices of those currently in leadership positions. The authors surveyed university deans, provosts, and presidents, asking them: “What is the best advice you received, or wish you had received, about how to be a successful (president, provost, or dean)?” This monograph captures their advice in their own words.


Download PDF of Learning from Leaders


Video Resources


Saying ‘Goodbye’ to 2020

Experience with the 2020 Executive Leadership Institute Class and the 2020 Tennessee Higher Education Innovation and Leadership Fellows class their salute to the end of 2020. Aided by two facilitators, participants spoke eloquently about the lessons they take away from these “unprecedented times” and their resolve to build a better future. This special presentation was recorded December 16, 2020.


  • Dr. Lori Bruce, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Tennessee Technological University
  • Mr. David Mills, Director, Health Sciences Government Relations and Advocacy, University of Tennessee System Administration


Nimble Adaptability In The New Normal World of COVID-19

Learn from two presenters whose leadership adaptability helped their organizations move forward successfully during this pandemic. You will hear from a COVID-19 survivor about her personal experience when the entire executive team at her university came down with COVID-19. How did they sustain order and resilience within their institution? What were the personal challenges? What advice can we take for leading under such circumstances? You will also discover how a large complex corporation pivoted to work-from-home and the amazing ways they actually increased employee engagement. It is a success story made from of dozens of actions and strategic communications you can use to effectively turned a crisis into success. This special presentation was recorded December 11, 2020.


  • Dr. Deborah Crawford, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Mr. Scott Wilson, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee


Agile Leadership In A Pandemic World

Discover ideas for responding to the challenges of living in a COVID-19 world. Hear ideas you can implement and how to connect with others in Tennessee in similar circumstances. You will hear examples from a COVID-19 survivor for balancing workload while in quarantine and how to help colleagues and co-workers face the mental stress of the illness. Learn how Tennessee higher education is responding to the challenges of sustaining our institutions, including examples of addressing enrollment, recruitment and retention and explore successful ways to tackle student health, safety, and manage behavior. This special presentation was recorded December 1, 2020.


  • Dr. Bruce LaMattina, Associate Vice Chancellor, Strategic Research Initiatives, Office of Research and Engagement, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Dr. David Butler, Vice Provost for Research & Dean, College of Graduate Studies, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Dr. Frank Cuevas, Vice Chancellor for Student Life, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Dr. Steven Gentile, Chief Policy Officer at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission


4DX Revisited

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a formula for executing important strategic priorities during chaos. By following the 4 Disciplines – focusing on the wildly important, acting on lead measures, keeping a compelling scoreboard, and creating a cadence of accountability – leaders can produce breakthrough results. 4DX is not theory. It is a proven set of practices that have been utilized by hundreds of organizations and thousands of teams over many years. This webinar features experts who are implementing 4DX institution-wide, specific to a department, or across strategic planning, and more. This special presentation was recorded October 28, 2020.


  • Bo Drake, vice president for economic and workforce development, Chattanooga State Community College
  • Michael Carter, assistant vice president of advancement services, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Kelli Chaney, president, Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Knoxville
  • Michael Hoff, chief planning officer, East Tennessee State University