SUNY Summer Leadership Retreat

NEXT DATES:  August 5-9, 2024

White Eagle Conference Center, Hamilton, NY

About the Retreat

The summer program is a week-long retreat to enhance the leadership skills of the participants, making them more effective managers on their campuses and preparing them to take on more leadership responsibilities within SUNY in the future.

The week is devoted to the personal exploration of individual leadership, as well as gaining mastery in interpersonal, team, and collaborative dynamics. Throughout the week, participants are engaged in scholarly readings, thought provoking lectures, and challenging exercises, assessments, and case studies. Evening hours are devoted to fireside chats with senior leaders, coaching team feedback, team building and reflection. Participants leave with a professional development action plan and a new network of colleagues to assist them in continuing their growth.


“In higher education we are often sent to a myriad of training opportunities, some of which land, and some that miss the mark.  The SUNY SAIL Summer Leadership program is a home run—hands down the best, most impactful leadership opportunity I have attended in almost 20 years in higher education.”

“An excellent experience from which I learned a great deal about myself and about leadership.”

“This was a wonderful experience… I will talk it up to my colleagues and encourage them to attend in the future.”

“Thrilled to have been included. Many interesting concepts, ability to learn from others and enthusiastic presenters!”

“Attending a workshop this intense and at such a high caliber is a real gift and opportunity. Ongoing benefits are what we learned and the colleagues we got to know.”

“Excellent program; it reinforced some of what I already knew, provided a framework, and taught me so much more!”

“The program provide a deeper sense of mindfulness and the importance of DEI in the work we do to support our learning and broader communities. Leadership is both an art and a science, and sometimes we don’t get it right but we learn. Keep learning and growing in your leadership role.”

“SUNY SAIL opens your mind, your eyes, and your heart, to fully embrace the opportunities and challenges of leadership.”

“This is the best professional development I have ever had. I learned so much about myself, different SUNY policies, and how those leaders manage their departments. I also learned how to improve myself and my team. I cannot recommend this training highly enough. I wish all leaders, new and seasoned, would participate in this training. If they did, our institutions would be much friendlier and cooperation would be much easier. Once we understand each other it is easier to work towards the common goal of helping students and each other be better partners.”






untiQuick Facts

WHERE AND WHEN:  The summer leadership week will be held at White Eagle Conference Center on Lake Moraine in Hamilton, NY ( Participants will be expected to arrive for the opening session on Monday at 1:00 p.m. and remain until 2:15 p.m. on Friday.

EXPENSES: Participants or their home institutions will be responsible for the registration fee of $750 as well as travel and accommodations. The fee for the program includes the associated costs for the speakers, all workshop materials including a bound participant workbook complete with exercises and readings, as well as two personal development assessments (a SUNY360 leadership inventory and Narrative Intelligence Story Type assessment). The SUNY SAIL Institute is committed to the advancement of the next generation of leaders supporting higher education, and because of this commitment the registration cost reamins low, especially relative to many other leadership development opportunities in the marketplace.

On-site lodging and meals cost approximately $155 per night (or current GSA Standard rate) and is paid directly to the White Eagle Conference Center upon check-in. SUNY SAIL provides the names of participants to White Eagle on a master rooming list in advance of the program, eliminating the need for individuals to make their own reservations beforehand. Payment will be expected upon check-in and is acceptable by either credit card, check; a campus may be invoiced in advance in order to process payment. Please also provide a tax-exempt certificate upon check-in.

Because of the highly intensive format of the week, space is limited to approximately 36 participants. This program routinely fills to capacity, and we encourage those interested to submit their nominations early in the calendar year. It is suggested to coordinate with a leader from your campus to make your nomination as strong as possible.

Campus presidents and other senior campus leaders are encouraged to nominate institutional leaders who they feel have the experience and potential to advance in their careers. This retreat is particularly relevant to deans, directors and other mid-level leaders on your campus.

The nomination period for the next program is open January 2, 2024. Priority consideration is given to nominations received until April 30, 2024. For any questions about the nomination process or timeline, contact

Why Attend

SUNY has offered the Summer Leadership Retreat since 2007, and boasts an alumni network with more than 500 graduates. Particpants credit the program with not only increasing their opportunities for advancement but also building the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in higher level positions in higher education. This unique leadership development program is a testimony to the investment that SUNY makes to build and sustain a pipeline of top talent.

This five-day leadership program focuses on discovering leadership (defining what leadership is, especially for oneself), and develops and applies skills around four broad areas of leadership experience: personal, interpersonal, team
and system mastery.

Personal Mastery. The ability to know oneself and learn from experience.

Interpersonal Mastery. The ability to communicate and work well with others, particularly in difficult conversations.

Team Mastery. The ability to develop and lead diverse groups of individuals towards common goals while promoting a healthy and inclusive environment.

Systems Mastery. The ability to think systemically and lead an organization through a strategic change process in a way that develops commitment and learning.

Additional Benefits

• Each participant is assigned a book to read in advance of the retreat, and as part of a small group will conduct a mini-teach session to their summer leadership peers. Each participant essentially walks away with a deep understanding of four relevant leadership texts.

•Each participant receives two printed, personalized assessment reports in their program workbook (SUNY360) which provides crucial data as they work through the leadership program.