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.

President Sheila K. Gestring supports this program as an opportunity to develop future university leaders, foster interdisciplinary collaborations and cultivate a strong connection to the campus community.

Join us in congratulating the 2023-2024 President’s Executive Leadership Institute fellows:

  • Stephanie Austin, USD Foundation Executive Director of Advancement Services
  • Chet Barney, Associate Professor, Division of Entrepreneurship, Management & Marketing  
  • Katie Brown, Director, Facilities Management Business Operations
  • Cody Burggraff, Director, University Housing
  • Daniel Crook, Consultant, Small Business Center Development Consultant
  • Hanna DeLange, Public Relations & Content Strategist, Marketing
  • Bridget Diamond-Welch, Director of Research & Innovation, School of Health Sciences
  • Janet Fulk, Assistant Director, Frontier and Rural Medicine  
  • Andy Hill, Senior Budget & Financial Specialist
  • Joe Hoose, USD Foundation Executive Director of Talent Management & Administration
  • Cori Hup, Senior Admissions Counselor
  • Joseph Knoer, Coordinator, Student Veteran Resource Center
  • Tammy Leitru, Curriculum Coordinator, Academic Affairs
  • Nicole Muehler, Human Resources Generalist
  • Melinda Robinson, Director, Sponsored Programs  
  • Brock Rops, Executive Director, SD HOSA-Future Health Professionals
  • Ashlin Schoenfelder, Career Advisor and Employer Relations Coordinator, Academic and Career Planning Center  
  • Leah Seurer, Chair, Communication Studies
  • Joe Thuente, Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs
  • Jacqueline Wilber, Director, Center for Student & Professional Services, School of Education
  • Kory Zimney, Director, PHD in Health Sciences Program


  • 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