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Brown Executive Scholars Training Program

Meet current and previous BEST scholars from 20182017201620152014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2019

The Brown Executive Scholars Training (BEST) Program introduces students to academic and higher education leadership skills. Designed for doctoral and master’s students, the program brings together eight to 10 graduate students, who are chosen to participate in this 12-week  program. The BEST program was established in 2010 and is sponsored by the Graduate School. 

To help prepare graduate students for future leadership roles in higher education through a semester-long program of mentorship, education and training.


  1. Educate graduate students about university leadership and the roles and responsibilities of senior academic leaders and administrators.
  2. Expose graduate students to administrators through one-on-one mentoring relationships.
  3. Enhance the leadership skills of graduate students through engaged discussion and professional development activities.

Key Activities

  1. Attend weekly seminars and roundtables 
  2. Meet at least once each month with assigned administrative sponsors
  3. Participate in weekly professional development activities
  4. Complete a mini-practicum project (optional)

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
Each week, BEST Scholars are joined by senior University leaders for a presentation and discussion, followed by a group reflection, conversation, and professional development activities. 

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 career pursuits. 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.

Hear from program alums about their experiences!

Mai Hunt, PhD Student in Hispanic Studies




Ben Wilks, doctoral candidate in Biomedical Engineering



Emily Drennan '19 PhD in Egyptology & Assyriology


Senior administrative staff from across the University will help select a diverse and cross-disciplinary cohort of promising scholars. Meet previous BEST scholars from 2019, 2018201720162015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011

Scholars will complete an overall program 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 BEST program. 

Application Requirements:

Student Application 
Complete through UFunds, See under “Graduate School Distinctive Opportunities.”

Components to prepare: 

  1. CV or resume
  2. Personal statement of 500 words or less that outlines the applicant’s educational and professional career aspirations and states how participation in the BEST Program will assist in meeting those goals
  3. Statement that ranks the top three areas of interest from the following: Academic Affairs, Diversity, Education and Training, Faculty Affairs, Governance, Student Support

Components to request:

Through UFunds: 

  1. Message of support from your DGS (affirming student standing)
  2. Message of recommendation from a faculty advisor, thesis/dissertation committee member, or department chair who can affirm why participation in the program will be valuable for you. (If your DGS can affirm student standing and recommend you to the program, this may be sent as one combined message.)

For any questions, please contact Byrd McDaniel.

Meeting Times: Thursdays from noon to 2 pm (Occasional alternative meeting times may be needed to accommodate guest speakers’ schedules.)

Application deadline: December 16, 2022