President's Executive Leadership Institute

Explore the complex world of higher education and gain valuable and transferable leadership skills through the President's Executive Leadership Institute.

Through this unique professional development opportunity for campus-based administrators and leaders, program fellows will learn about issues facing higher education broadly and the University of South Dakota specifically.

This program is an opportunity to develop future university leaders, foster interdisciplinary collaborations and cultivate a strong connection to the campus community.

Join us in congratulating the 2024-2025 President's Executive Leadership Institute fellows:

  • Jama Christopherson, Admissions Officer, Enrollment Processing Center
  • Jordan Decker, Associate Director, Admissions USD – Sioux Falls
  • Bridget Diamond-Welch, Director of Research & Innovation, School of Health Sciences
  • Trish Felecos, Executive Director of Gift Stewardship and Administration, USD Foundation
  • Hannah Haksgaard, Professor, Knudson School of Law
  • Whitney Lucas Molitor, Chair and Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy
  • Peggy Mach, Vice President of Finance, USD Foundation
  • Shirley Mays, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor, Knudson School of Law
  • Anneka Mikel, Assistant Director, Parry Center
  • Gina Mockler, Senior AD of Internal Operations and SWA, Athletics
  • Daniel Mourlam, Chair and Associate Professor, Teacher Residency & Education
  • Joe Palleschi, Sergeant, University Police Department
  • Chris Phillips, Procurement and Campus Business Services Manager, Finance
  • Bailey Quanbeck, Interim Senior Director, Marketing & University Relations
  • Shauna Rich Jacobson, Program Director, Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP)
  • Gabrielle Strouse, Chair and Associate Professor, Counseling and Psychology in Education
  • Kelli Susemihl, Assistant Director for Sorority and Fraternity Life, Student Services
  • Melissa Tabke, Coordinator, Opportunity Center
  • Mandy Whechel, Assistant Comptroller/Internal Auditor, Accounting


  • Increase knowledge and awareness of issues and challenges facing higher education and the University of South Dakota
  • Enhance leadership, management and decision-making skills 
  • Learn about the relationship between the South Dakota Board of Regents and the University of South Dakota
  • Explore the role of strategic planning and budgeting in advancing department and unit interests in alignment with the overall mission of the university
  • Identify appropriate strategies in addressing key issues and achieving organizational goals
  • Understand state and federal government issues that affect higher education
  • Expand networking opportunities and resources available at the local, state and national levels in sustaining the university and its mission