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Career Development for Women Leaders Program


2015-2016 CDWL Class Photo

The Office of Women in Medicine and Science's (OWIMS) sponsors the Career Development for Women Leaders (CDWL)** Program, a professional development fellowship, which began in January 2008. ** Formerly Career Development Seminar for Emerging Women Leaders

The CDWL fellowship, modeled after national programs for women in academic medicine, covers 9 one-day sessions and spans 9 months.  Because national leadership programs for women (AAMC, ELAM, CCL, BRIDGES) are becoming increasingly competitive and expensive and only a few faculty members can benefit each year, the purposes of the cross-campus CDWL program are to provide:

  1. an affordable, university-based leadership development program for women who are either currently in or aspire to leadership roles at Wake Forest;
  2. a local, national level quality experience that allows more women to participate in leadership education; and
  3. an opportunity to bring women together from diverse professional backgrounds (theater, math, anesthesiology) to exchange ideas and foster cross-campus collaboration.

Presenters are nationally and internationally known experts, executive coaches and senior WFU faculty and administrators. All presenters are highly respected in their content areas.

2017-2018 Program 

Women faculty (Assistant, Associate and Full Professor) and women senior staff (Vice President level) were invited to apply for the 2017-2018 Program which will begin in September.  Please review the draft schedule for topics and dates. 

Call for Applications 

The Call for Applications has been extended to April 23, 2018 for the Career Development for Women Leaders Program.  Women faculty (mid-senior career preferred) and senior staff (Vice President-level or equivalent) are eligible to apply for this competitive Program.  To learn more review the call for applications flier and the draft schedule

Women faculty members (mid to senior career preferred) and women senior staff (Vice President-level or equivalent) are eligible to apply for this competitive Program. The CDWL Selection & Review Committee will meet to review applications and select program participants based on the following criteria: (1) leadership experience and/or aspirations; (2) program fit with leadership goals; (3) service activities (institutional and/or outside of the institution); (4) quality and professionalism of the application; and (5) strength of the letter of support from the applicant’s Chair.

The necessary elements that each candidate needs to submit are: 

  • Candidate summary form
  • Current CV  
  • A formal letter addressing the following questions: 
    • What are your current professional responsibilities and academic interests?
    • What are your goals for leadership and how can the CDWL help you achieve these goals?
  • A strong and comprehensive letter of support from each applicant’s Department Chair is required. In this letter, the Chair should include the following required elements: (1) comment on applicant’s status as a current or emerging leader; and (2) statement confirming that release time will be approved to attend the program upon acceptance.  (this can be provided separately)

The application process will begin March 22, 2018. Applications should be submitted electronically to Natalie Barrett ( at OWIMS.  Applicants can expect to hear whether they have been accepted into the program by May 31st. 

 Program Graduates

Class of 2008

Class of 2009-2010

Class of 2010-2011

Class of 2011-2012

Class of 2012-2013

Class of 2013-2014

Class of 2014-2015

Class of 2015-2016

Class of 2016-2017

  • There are 131 CDWL Graduates (2008-2016): WFSM (63%); WFU (31%); other, i.e. UNCG and Salem College (5%).
  • Of 131 graduates, 68 (52%) have accepted a new leadership role after program completion.
  • Of those 68, 26 (38%) have accepted more than one new leadership role since program completion.
  • Only 11 (8%) graduates have left their institution. Of these, 8 (73%) left for leadership opportunities at their new institution. Two others retired.

Program Feedback

Program Feedback

feedback from a 2011 Graduate:

feedback from a 2016 Graduate: "I owe a debt of gratitude for this women’s leadership experience in helping me find my voice, enabling my voice to be heard, and to be heard by the unexpected.  I thank you and everyone that helped facilitate this growth in not only me but others in our group"



Contact Natalie Barrett with questions at

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