Central Michigan University's Leadership Standards Initiative (LSI)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Here at CMU, we do great things with great people.

We know organizational culture can change over time, particularly in the absence of deliberate and conscious direction. Current employees may leave or retire, taking with them accumulated knowledge and history that has helped shape our unique culture, and new employees join CMU w​ith their own accumulated history and ways of doing things.

To continue improving the student experience and delivering on the mission of CMU, we want to focus on strengthening and preserving the leadership culture at this great school. The Leadership Standards Initiative will result in more engaged and satisfied employees, who will impact student recruitment and retention, as well as alumni and community relationships.​

At Central Michigan University, a strong sense of community drives a culture of collaboration, excellence and leadership, making CMU a best-choice place to learn and work. At CMU, we value students as our top priority and work to ensure their personal and professional growth. Employees are engaged, appreciated and have extraordinary opportunities to make a difference.

The Leadership Standards Initiative provides a framework for employee recruitment, orientation, development, retention, evaluation and leadership accountability. It builds upon CMU's core values of integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness, social responsibility, excellence and innovation, and supports the strategic priority of hiring, maintaining and developing quality faculty and staff.

The leadership initiative establishes clear, consistent and transparent leadership expectations that permeate campus and serves to preserve and strengthen CMU's culture of collaboration, excellence and leadership.


In 2013, Central Michigan University's human resources approached the university's executive leadership with a proposal to develop a common set of desired leadership expectations. These were integrated into the CMU culture, a culture which is built on compassion and community that has become part of the university's value proposition for students and employees.

Much of what would later come to be known as CMU's Leadership Standards already existed elsewhere: President George E. Ross' expectations for his senior staff, CMU's seven Core Values, the Service Excellence Values and others. This proposal suggested formally integrating these already overlapping values into a cohesive framework and articulating clear, consistent and transparent leadership expectations that permeate all levels of the organization in order to preserve and strengthen CMU's culture of collaboration, excellence and leadership.

Under the proposal, a variety of mechanisms would then be aligned with these expectations to ensure consistency among leadership behaviors and to provide necessary feedback.

The outcomes achieved through this initiative will fortify CMU's culture and result in more engaged and satisfied employees, who will impact student recruitment and retention, as well as alumni and community relationships. The ultimate result of strengthening and preserving the leadership culture at CMU will be an improved student experience.  

The Leadership Standards Initiative task force is continuing its work to implement a phased introduction of the standards to the campus community, with a goal of fully adopting them for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The project timeline includes:

  • November - December

    Cascading communication plan, including verbal communication and letters to all supervisors

  • January
    • Hold informal open forums for supervisors interested in more information about the background and rollout of this initiative and for Q&A opportunities
    • Conduct pilots of the trainings to gain feedback before conducting trainings for all supervisors across campus
  • February - March

    Trainings for Supervisors of Supervisors on their role in implementating this initiative:

    • Gaining clarity on the six leadership traits
    • Tools for recruiting, screening and hiring staff aligned with the six leadership traits
    • How to have conversations about these traits with supervisors they supervise
    • Tools for soliciting input from their teams about their own leadership skills, encourage their reports who are supervisors on how to solicit such information, and generate team discussions about these traits

    Begin broadly announcing the LSI to all of campus through the spring of 2017

  • March – May (June for make-ups)

    Trainings for all supervisors on campus

  • Fall 2017 and beyond
    • Provide deeper levels of training for each of the leadership standards
    • LSI tools and systems fully operationalized to provide guidance and support for supervisors in the six leadership traits
  • Alli Baxter, Human Resources
  • Harley Blake, Human Resources
  • Cali Clark, Human Resources
  • Jerry Dimaria, College of Business Administration
  • Mary Jane Flanagan, Office of the President
  • Jody Hassen, Student Services and Enrollment Management
  • Mary Hill, Financial Services and Reporting
  • Shaun Holtgreive, Student Affairs
  • Anne Margaret Hornak, College of Education and Human Services
  • Michelle Howard, Academic Advising and Assistance
  • Kathy Irwin, Libraries
  • Jeffrey Mcdowell, Office of Information Technology
  • Ann Miller, Faculty Personnel Services
  • Marcie Otteman, Alumni Relations
  • Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, College of Education and Human Services
  • Cindy Schumacher, Gov. John Engler Center for Charter Schools
  • Kevin Smart, Human Resources
  • Kevin Williams, Admissions
  • Administrative Support
    Doris Ann Nestle, Financial Services and Reporting
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