The SAIL Vision & Mission

The mission of the SAIL Institute is to strengthen the pipeline of higher education leaders in the SUNY system and beyond by developing customized and scalable leadership development solutions.

The vision for the SUNY SAIL Institute is to support higher education leaders as they transform leadership theory into practical actions that positively impact their campus, their teams, and self. 

SUNY SAIL extends the arm of the SUNY Center for Professional Development by prioritizing leadership training unique to a changing landscape in Higher Education.

The SUNY SAIL Institute utilizes the Six Domains of Leadership framework as a roadmap to the Chancellor’s four Pillars. Graduates of SAIL programs are united as “one SUNY,” a network of capable higher education leaders ready to serve and lead.

Chancellor John B. King, Jr.’s Four Pillars

Six Domains of Leadership,
Jason Lane

Student Success

Know your Students

Research and Scholarship

Know your Skills.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Know Yourself

Know your Team

Economic Development and Upward Mobility 

Know your Institution

Know your Context


Programs include signature and specialized, customizable workshops to meet the leadership training needs at SUNY. Our programs have 14,970 total learning hours with connections to multiple universities, new programs, and higher education leaders.

The SAIL Philosophy

The SAIL Institute is grounded on the concept that colleges and universities need leaders who are strategic and innovative as well as have a firm understanding of the special nature of the academic core of the institutions that they serve. Through our programs, services, and analysis, the SAIL Institute seeks to advance understanding and development of the next generation of leaders in higher education.

Strategic Leadership: Leaders need to be able to create, execute, and communicate strategies that strengthen the long-term success of organizations and sustain (if not grow) their long-term financial stability. Far too many institutions of higher learning have sought to be all things to all people. However, in resource-constrained environments, leaders need to be able to identify strategies that strengthen and position their institutions for future success. Such strategies may include identifying niche programs, using data to identify strengths and weaknesses, developing internal and external collaborative (rather than competitive) relationships, and developing effective resource plans.

Academic Leadership: While certain aspects of leadership transcend organizational types, there are special characteristics associated with leading academic institutions like colleges and universities. Academic leadership entails a firm understanding of the education, research, and service missions of the institution; engagement with and respect for tenets of shared governance; and appreciation for leading organizations that have been referred to by scholars as both “professional bureaucracies” and “organized anarchies.”

Innovative Leadership: Higher education is entering an age of innovation as our sector grapples with new learning models, changing demographics, increasing swirling of students among institutions, greater expectations to produce research, enhanced scrutiny of our roles as anchor institutions, and an approaching tidal wave of data. Colleges and universities need leaders who can effectively lead them through the implementation of new innovations. We focus on developing leaders who can create environments that encourage others to think outside of the box, identify needed innovations and understand how they improve the organization, and foster an environment that supports the implementation and assessment of innovation.