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Senior Academic Officer Named to Prestigious Initiative

Monica Terrell Leach, Ed.D.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has named North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Senior Associate Vice Chancellor Monica Terrell Leach, Ed.D., to its 2019 Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI). 

Leach leads the Division of Enrollment Management and Academic Affairs at NCCU, while also serving as an academic officer charged with executing key academic strategic initiatives. Before assuming the role, she served as associate vice chancellor of the division for almost two years.

The AASCU initiative assists professionals with backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in higher post-secondary education appointments by providing them with an opportunity to hone skills, develop a philosophical overview for their work, and build a network of colleagues to help advance their careers.

Leach was among 29 senior-level higher education professionals from across the nation chosen as MLI participants. She participated in a four-day intensive conference as part of the program and was paired with a mentor who could provide guidance in leadership development.

Leadership gems that Leach plans to apply to her career include: 

  • Student success must be paramount in everything;
  • Know and be yourself;
  • Communicate effectively while also listening and being humble and strategic;
  • Pay it forward and support the next generation of leaders;
  • Find your work-life balance and always keep your sense of humor; and 
  • Be innovative and entrepreneurial.

“It was a great honor to be selected to participate in this prestigious higher education leadership program with colleagues from around the country. This opportunity broadened my lens as I expanded the knowledge and expertise gained during my 27-year career,” Leach said. “I am grateful for Chancellor Akinleye’s support as I represented NCCU.”

Leach joined NCCU in 2014 as director of the Division of Enrollment Management after it was structurally realigned within the Division of Academic Affairs. Before arriving at NCCU, Leach was in a variety of leadership roles at North Carolina State University for almost 20 years, serving as assistant dean for Academic Affairs, a tenured associate professor, and as assistant vice provost for Enrollment Management.

In 2016, Leach was a participant in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Women in Education Leadership program. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in education from North Carolina State University.

“Every leader must be anchored in their own personal values and integrity, build a strong team that embodies the vision of the organization and provide strategic direction to the organization,” Leach adds.  

The MLI reports that several of its graduates have gone on to serve as presidents or chancellors in higher education, and more than one-third have advanced significantly in their careers.

AASCU is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise of Opportunities for All.


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