Our Team – Academic Leadership Institute

Our Team

The Academic Leadership Institute was founded by a group of highly experienced academic leaders who recognized a need in higher education to better prepare and connect rising leaders. Read more about our leadership team below.


Earl Lewis, Ph.D.

ALI Co-Founder

Noted social historian, award-winning author, and educational leader, Earl Lewis, is the founding director of the University of Michigan Center for Social Solutions, as well as the Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor of History, Afroamerican and African Studies, and public policy. Lewis is president emeritus of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2013-18), former Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and provost at Emory University, and former Vice Provost and Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan.

– Director, Center for Social Solutions, University of Michigan
– Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan

– President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
– Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Provost, Emory University
– Vice Provost; Dean, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan

Dwight A. McBride, Ph.D.

ALI Co-Founder

With nearly three decades in higher education, Dwight A. McBride is an experienced leader and accomplished educator and author. Throughout his career, Dr. McBride has encouraged innovation in scholarship and teaching, launched initiatives to build interdisciplinary strength around global challenges, created environments that foster inclusive excellence, and expanded opportunities for experiential learning. Prior to his appointment at The New School, Dr. McBride was the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Emory University, where he also held the position of Asa Griggs Candler Professor of African American Studies, Distinguished Affiliated Professor of English, and associated faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

– President, The New School
– University Professor, The New School

– Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs, Emory University
– Asa Griggs Candler Professor of African American Studies, Distinguished Affiliated Professor of English, Emory University
– Dean; Associate Provost for Graduate Education; Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English, and Performance Studies, Northwestern University
– Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

Jonathan Holloway, Ph.D.

ALI Planning Committee

Jonathan Holloway is the president of Rutgers University and a U.S. historian whose scholarly work specializes in post-emancipation U.S. history with a focus on social and intellectual history. Dr. Holloway began his academic career at the University of California, San Diego, followed by academic and leadership positions at Northwestern University and Yale University. He serves on boards of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Academic Leadership Institute.

– President, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
– University Professor; Distinguished Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

– Provost; Chief Academic Officer, Northwestern University
– Dean; Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies, Yale College

Lynn Perry Wooten, Ph.D., MBA

ALI Planning Committee

Lynn Perry Wooten is an innovative leader and prolific author and presenter whose research has informed her work in the classroom and as an administrator. Dr. Wooten also has had a robust clinical practice, providing leadership development, education, and training for a wide variety of companies and institutions, from the Kellogg Foundation to Harvard University’s Kennedy School to Google. With leadership at the core of her work, Dr. Wooten’s research has ranged from an NIH-funded investigation of how leadership can positively alleviate health disparities to leading in a crisis and managing workforce diversity.

– President, Simmons University

– David J. Nolan Dean; Professor of Management and Organizations, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
– Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Excellence, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan


Dahlia Petrus

Project Coordinator

Dahlia F. Petrus serves as project coordinator for the Academic Leadership Institute through building an institute that supports future leaders with demonstrated commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a former Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Public Humanities Fellow, NYU Press Academic Press Researcher and Digital Literacy and Educational Researcher for the Arab American National Museum.

Melissa Eljamal

Chief Administrator

Melissa serves as Chief Administrator to faculty directors in three units at the University of Michigan: the Center for Social Solutions (and ALI by extension), Organizational Studies, and the Barger Leadership Institute. Melissa’s passions at work include student administration, staff mentoring and development, strategic planning, and change management.

Victoria Fisher

Communications Lead

Victoria Fisher is the communications lead for the Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan. With Dahlia, she handles ALI’s communications efforts, covering everything from press releases to webinars. Contact Victoria at ALinstitute@umich.edu or fisherv@umich.edu for any media requests.

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