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Brown Executive Scholars Training Program

Meet current and previous BEST scholars from 2017201620152014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

The Brown Executive Scholars Training (BEST) Program is designed to expose doctoral students and advanced master’s students to careers in higher education administration. Every fall eight to 10 graduate students are chosen to participate in this 12-week mentored, education and training program. This program was established in 2010 and is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Office of Institutional Diversity. 

To help prepare graduate students for future leadership roles in higher education administration through a semester-long, mentored education and training experience.


  1. Educate graduate students about university administration and the roles and responsibilities of senior administrators.
  2. Expose graduate students to senior administrators through one-on-one mentoring relationships and professional development activities.
  3. Enhance the leadership skills of graduate students who aspire to pursue careers in academic administration.

Key Activities

  1. Attend weekly BEST Program seminars and roundtables (weekly meetings are most often scheduled for Thursdays of the week; depending on speaker availability, some lunch seminars may be on Wednesdays.)
  2. Meet at least once each month with assigned administrative sponsors
  3. Create a career development plan
  4. Complete a mini-practicum project (optional)

Hear from program alums about their experiences!

Alexandra Collins Mathwig, doctoral candidate in the History of Art & Architecture

Branta Lockett ’16 AM in Urban Education Policy


Lawrence Were '16 PhD


Acey Sieffert '16 PhD

Scholars will be allowed two excused absences throughout the duration of the program. Scholars with excessive absences may be dismissed from the program and will not receive certificates of completion. The program will run from late January to late April.

Roundtables and Professional Development
Scholars will spend up to 30 minutes reflecting on topics related to each seminar either before or after the presentation. These discussions will be facilitated by BEST Program staff. Scholars may also engage in professional development activities such as CV-resume writing and receive tips on how to identify and highlight transferrable skills.  

Administrative Sponsors
Scholars will be paired with administrators from key areas of the university to learn about their specific role, the function of their area and to receive advice and support related to their own pursuit of a career in academic administration. Scholars are expected to meet with administrative sponsors for no less than one hour at least once each month and may engage in an optional mini-practicum project. 

Senior administrative staff from across the University will help select a diverse and cross-disciplinary cohort of promising scholars. Meet previous BEST scholars from 201720162015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011

Scholars will complete a skills and expectations pre-survey, individual seminar evaluations and an overall program-ending post-survey. 

Applicants must be an advanced master’s student or doctoral student. Master’s degree students must have completed at least one semester of full time coursework in their current graduate program prior to the beginning of the B.E.S.T. program. 

Application Requirements:

  1. Letter of Recommendation from department chair
  2. Obtain Director of Graduate Study approval (an email message from the DGS confirming academic standing and support of the application)
  3. CV or resume
  4. Personal statement of 300 words or less that: 
    - outlines the applicant’s educational and professional career aspirations
    - states how participation in the BEST Program will assist in meeting those goals
    - ranks the top three areas of interest from the following: Academic Affairs, Diversity, Education and Training, Faculty Affairs, Governance, Student Support

Letters and messages of support from the department chair and DGS may be emailed separately to Pamela Gaddi.
Student application materials should be submitted as one document to Pamela Gaddi.

For any questions, please contact: Vanessa Ryan, Associate Dean of Student Development, or Pamela Gaddi, Manager of Student Development

Application deadline: November 12