Application Information

We are currently accepting applications for the 2018 class of the HIGHER Ground Women's Leadership Development Program.  Completed application materials are due November 1, 2017.  Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.


Selection Criteria

Participation in the HIGHER Ground program is open to women from all career fields.  


Those selected to be participants for HIGHER Ground must be able to devote 2 days per month to the program. Accepted participants are responsible for securing appropriate release time from work for all training events. Applicants who represent faith, community or non-profit organizations as volunteers and who have full or part time positions in other sectors are responsible for discussing with their supervisor the appropriateness of professional development time or other arrangements to attend these leadership development sessions during the work day.


Application Requirements

Interested candidates may complete the online application. Once accepted, all HIGHER Ground candidates must submit the tuition fee no later than January 1, 2018, to secure space as a participant.


All required documents must be received by the application deadline in order for your application to be complete. Please ensure that your application contains the following:

  • Completed application form (online).
  • Essay
  • 1 page resume
  • 1 paragraph bio-sketch (no more than 100 words)
  • 1 nomination form (HIGHER Ground Nomination Form)
  • $200 application fee (Application fee may be paid by credit card, check, or purchase order. Please note that applications are not considered complete until payment is received.)

Application materials should be submitted to:


The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

Virginia Commonwealth University

916 West Franklin Street, 1st Floor

P.O. Box 842534

Richmond, Virginia 23284-2534



Tuition for the HIGHER Ground program is $1400 (which includes the $200 application fee). The tuition covers all program costs including intensive leadership assessments, an overnight retreat, an experiential outdoor adventure, registration for the Annual HIGHER Ground Women's Leadership Conference, and meals on program days. Tuition payments can be made by the sponsoring organization or by individuals. Participants are responsible for securing their own transportation for program sessions.


Individuals selected for participation in the 2018 class of HIGHER Ground will be notified of acceptance by December 1, 2017.  Once accepted, all HIGHER Ground candidates must submit the remaining $1200 tuition fee no later than January 1, 2018 to secure space as a participant.



Participants who complete the HIGHER Ground Program will receive a certificate of completion from The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute.