The Case Western Reserve University Women's Leadership Development Institute (WSLDI) is a year-long program offering women professional staff an opportunity to enhance and energize leadership and career development skills through education, coaching, and the building of professional networks.  The purpose of WSLDI is to provide a university-based resource and support system for women professional staff seeking to further their professional skills, including better communication, more collaboration, and the development of trust across university units, helping to create a synergy that promotes the university's best practices. The Institute is designed to complement the supervisory development offerings provided by Human Resources. Intended to serve the needs of women in a supportive environment, the enrollment is limited to 12 participants per year.


Research has shown that women face particular challenges in the work environment. The Program is designed to address women's issues and challenges within the context of the overall leadership curriculum. While many of the content can and does apply to men as well, we know from similar programs that programs for women that focus on the circumstances of women's work lives within the overall context of work life are very beneficial to women.


Importance of Institute

  • This program helps to fulfill the university's strategic plan by promoting a seamless context of excellence and leadership in a collaborative atmosphere. The CWRU draft strategic plan calls for "highly collaborative and collegial functioning in an atmosphere characterized by support, mentoring, and inclusion." It also includes a focus on "distinctive opportunities for learning and discovery – both formal and informal" and the maximization of "student interactions with faculty and staff members." All of these goals are enhanced with the development of improved leadership skills for women professional staff across the campus.

  • Specifically, the program increases the numbers of women staff members with skills that enable better communication, more collaboration, and the development of trust across university units, which would create a synergy that promotes the university's best practices.

  • The program is intended to help the university retain talented staff and maximize the use of their skills in vital positions of responsibility.

  • The program helps to position the university as a leader in higher education, promoting diversity and leadership development, as well as cultivating a vibrant intellectual atmosphere.

Sample WSLDI Schedule


All meetings and sessions are mandatory. Meeting times are estimates. Programming starts at the beginning of the academic year.


Attending the four Weatherhead School of Management Executive Education Courses earns participants the Women in Leadership Certificate. See more information here: http://weatherhead.case.edu/executive-education/certificates/women-in-leadership



Orientation and Learning Styles
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Four WSOM Executive Education Courses
8:30 am - 4:30 pm


Panel Discussion with CWRU Staff Leaders
11:30am - 1:30pm
Panel Discussion on Diversity
11:30am - 1:30pm
Career Planning Workshop w/ Dr. Tom Matthews
9:00am - 12:00pm
Two Case Studies Workshop
9:00am - 12:00pm
Informal Cohort Meeting
12:00 - 1:00pm
End of Year Celebration
11:30am - 1:30pm
Three One-on-one Meetings w/ an Executive Coach
Independently Scheduled
~1.5 hours each
~60 Total Hours



Suggested Reading

We recommend the following book as a background for coaching sessions:

Boyatzis, R.E., Johnston, F., McKee, A. 2008. Becoming a Resonant Leader. Harvard Business School Press.




Applications currently closed

Listed below are general guidelines for each year.

(may be subject to change)

  1. Note from your director or chair agreeing to the following:

A commitment to contribute $350 to help defray the expense of the program – payable before the series begins (The actual cost per participant is much higher.) – Required, no points
Agreement that you may take the time off from your regular assignments to attend the mandatory classes and meetings – Required, no points

  1. An updated copy of your resume – Required, no points

  2. Letter of Intent – 30 points

In your letter, please describe your short-term and long-term career goals, how you believe WSLDI will benefit you and what you feel you will be able to contribute to the program. 

  1. Analysis of Current Position – 20 points

Please answer the following questions:

    1. What is the mission of my department/unit?

    2. Are there informal missions? If so, describe them.

    3. What are the resources of my department/unit (fiscal, political, etc.)?

    4. What are the constraints on my department/unit (fiscal, political, etc.)?

    5. Is your department/unit central or peripheral to the mission of the university?

    6. What are the major resources you have to do your job (fiscal, social, political, etc.)?

    7. What are the major constraints on your job?

    8. Over what policies and procedural decisions do you have authority?

    9. How are you regarded at the university?  What is your reputation? How do you know? 

    10. With who in the university have you shared your ambitions and/or career goals?  Who is the most senior person with influence who has shown an interest in my career?

    11. How have you gotten to know the university in your time here?

    12. How often do you participate in committees, task forces or other group work that include people from across the organization?

    13. What groups and professional associations do you belong to outside of the university?

5. Career Analysis – 20 points

(Please note: This is meant to be a first draft of your career plan.  If selected for WSLDI you will spend additional time refining this working document. ) 
Directions: Develop an action plan for your career using whatever format is most comfortable (essay, chart, graphs, etc.). 
A) Begin with your present position with a brief description of your current responsibilities. 
B) How do you see yourself growing as a leader?
C) Project your title, potential salary, and responsibilities over the next 5-10 years. What processes did you use to arrive at this conclusion?
D) Note any concerns or barriers in your career plan (i.e. conflicts with your value system, personal situation, etc.).

  1. Additional (Could be a tie-breaker)

Is there anything else we should know about you that would make you most qualified for the program?


Applications FAQs

Where do I get an application "form"?

There is no "form" per se but a list of questions that we ask that you answer. We also ask you to submit your resume and a note from your supervisor (see below).

How do I submit my application?

All applications are submitted online. Send your application to: Centerforwomen@case.edu and put WSLDI Application on the subject line. Please submit all documents in pdf form in a "pdf portfolio" (using Acrobat Pro) so that everything we need is together in one file.

How does the Board select the class?

Applicants' materials will be reviewed by the entire planning committee plus several former "graduates" of the program. We are looking for applications that are thoughtful, specific to you, show your motivation for being in the program, your commitment to the university, and that communicate with honesty and depth. We want to get to know you via your application. We want to know what you expect to gain from the program. We'd like you to tell us what is real about you, not what you think you "ought" to say. (NOTE: all applications are available only to the review committee and are kept confidential by them.)

Application Resources!

The following CWRU women are either current participants or "alums" of WSLDI. They are available to help you with your application – to answer questions, share their experiences, or just give you support! Feel free to contact them!

Betsy Banksewb@case.edu
Barb Boveington-Molter – bxb77@case.edu
Anne Brydenamb31@case.edu
Helen Jones Tomshlj2@case.edu
Debbie Faticadxf3@case.edu
JC Scharf-Deeringjcs12@case.edu
Mitzi Vazquez-Long- mxv32@case.edu


Deborah Bibb, Senior Director of Admissions, Weatherhead School of Management

Denise Douglas, Associate Dean, Executive Education, Weatherhead School of Management
Kathleen Dowdell, Administrator, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
Nora Hennessy, Assistant Associate Dean, Development & Alumni Relations, MSASS
Dorothy Miller, Director, Flora Stone Mather Center for Women
Kathleen O’Linn, Human Resources & Facilities Mgr., FBP School of Nursing
Tangela Scott-Jones, Administrator, Custodial Services
Wendy Shapiro, Senior Academic Technology Officer , ITS

Mitzi Vazquez-Long, Manager of Organizational Development & Learning, Human Resources