BRIDGES: Academic Leadership for Women


Sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BRIDGES is an intensive professional development program for women in higher education who seek to gain or strengthen their academic leadership capabilities. It is designed to help women identify, understand, and move into leadership roles in the academy. An advisory board guides the program's activities. Through the program, participants will:

  • develop insights into leadership, with a particular focus on the special skills and attributes women bring to their leadership roles;
  • acquire an understanding of the many facets of colleges and universities;
  • refine and improve their cross-cultural communication skills; and
  • create a program of personal and professional development to benefit themselves and their institutions.

Who should participate? Women from four-year institutions of higher education, both public and private, who are:

  • faculty interested in developing their leadership skills;
  • faculty looking to move into academic administration;
  • administrators with managerial and supervisory responsibilities;
  • administrators seeking a greater range of responsibilities.

Program Format & Schedule

BRIDGES sessions are designed to meet program objectives with presentations by academic leaders who have been selected for their ability to provide information and improve skills. Small group discussions, panels, question and answer sessions, simulations, case studies, and formal presentations are used to create an atmosphere that encourages learning and interaction. Advance readings are assigned for many sessions and participants complete a leadership survey before the first session.

The curriculum is designed by members of the Advisory Board, who are women faculty and administrators from public and private North Carolina colleges and universities. Board members have significant leadership experience, and many are graduates of BRIDGES. All are dedicated to helping other women in higher education establish and attain their professional goals. There are four parts to the program:

Part I: Developing a Transformational Perspective
Part II: Using Our Resources in a Transformational Context
Part III: Transforming for Continuity and Change
Part IV: Transforming Together
Alumnae Session and Graduation

The program is organized into four weekend sessions, beginning on Friday afternoon and ending Saturday afternoon, with lunch and dinner served on Fridays, and lunch provided on Saturdays. The beginning and ending program sessions include an overnight weekend retreat (accommodations provided) at the Aqueduct Conference Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. To graduate from the program, participants must attend and actively participate in all class sessions. For more information on the curriculum, see the BRIDGES website.


BRIDGES XXII will be held in Fall 2014, from September 5 - November 22, 2014.

How to Apply

Individuals interested in the BRIDGES program must submit an application, a current curriculum vitae or resume, and two letters of reference. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2014.

NC State BRIDGES Graduates

This year marked the 21st year that BRIDGES has provided a professional development experience for women at universities across North Carolina. NC State has had over 150 graduates in the past twenty years.

Please see the BRIDGES Graduates page for the list of graduates.

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