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Higher Education Candidacy Coaching Program™
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When you decide to become a candidate for a new position in higher education administration, you know how important it is to communicate your vision and experience compellingly. This is especially true if you are a candidate for a Presidency or Vice Presidency, where the stakes are high and the competition keen.

Through our Candidacy Coaching Program™, we help you get ready for every aspect of the search process—from redesigning your Curriculum Vita, to simulating the interview, to preparing strategic answers to tough questions. You will have three confidential 3-hour sessions with your career advancement as our total focus. Your consultants, Drs. Janet and Neal Larsen Palmer, the founders of CEI, are nationally recognized specialists in communication and higher education.

In three sessions, you will:

  • Examine your short- and long-range career plans and develop strategies to achieve them.
  • Redesign your Vita for maximum impact.
  • Learn the principles of a persuasive cover letter.
  • Assess your administrative and interviewing styles through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™.
  • Draft a compelling statement to open your interview.
  • Build your personal credibility and charisma in the interview through coaching on your verbal and nonverbal communication, using videotape.

In the three intensive sessions at our Institute in Southern California, we get to know you as a person and as a professional — your talents, your experience, and your goals. Together we design a program of action to help you meet the challenges of the search. You are also eligible to receive three months of phone and email support from the Palmers, beyond the completion of your Candidacy Coaching Program™, to refine your Vita and other documents and strategize for upcoming positions and interviews.

The fee for the Candidacy Coaching Program™ is $2,950, which includes three months' job search support by phone and email. Additional face-to-face coaching and consulting is prorated by the hour. For more information, please call the Institute at (800) 410-4CEI (4234) or e-mail us at

Communication Excellence Institute is the only organization that offers consulting on human communication specifically within a higher education context.

What do our clients say about CEI's Candidacy Coaching Program™?

Dear Jan and Neal,

Thank you so much for helping me through your Candidacy Coaching Program. I have enthusiastically recommended your program to colleagues who are beginning the presidential search process. Your precise, targeted, research-based consultation helped me sort through confusing advice provided by well-meaning colleagues, boosted my confidence to a Presidential level, and saved me many fruitless searches.

As we progressed through the coaching program, I could feel immediately that your coaching was making a big difference in how I presented myself. You didn’t change my values and you didn’t put canned words in my mouth, but you certainly polished the package.

The presidential search can be rough on the ego. Your enthusiasm, energy and professionalism are contagious and healing. You made me feel like a president before I was one. You helped me focus on my gifts and strengths. You helped me try one more time.

Because of you, I have a wonderful job at a college that is absolutely the right place for me. You were always there for me through the whole process—by phone, email, and in person. You were one of the first to congratulate me upon my appointment period. As more positions open, I hope the presidents are all CEI-graduates.

Multi-campus community college in Oregon


I want to send you the following testimonial. Ever since I worked with you, I have not failed to get an interview for any position for which I have applied (a total of four positions), except, of course, when I withdrew my application because I was taking some other job.

Furthermore, I never failed to be offered a job for which I interviewed. Your advice and help has made a huge difference in my life! Thank you! Maybe someday I will want to be a Provost, but at the moment I am very glad to accept the challenges and opportunities associated with being a Dean.

Dean, College of Business
Regional state university in the midwest


Dear Friends,

I wanted to accompany this email message with a .wav file with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. This music is the most joyous I know of, and the news is certainly joyous. Unfortunately, time constraints preclude my researching how to imbed the file in this email.

After a difficult and sometimes rancorous departure from my College, I continued a job search begun in February. Ten months, sixty applications, and 25 interviews later, I can announce success! On 19 January, I assumed responsibilities as Dean of the College. The Dean of the College is responsible for both instruction and student services, and serves as the second ranking administrator behind the president. It is, in short, an excellent preparatory assignment for aspiring college presidents. My recent experience has caused me to aspire to a college presidency so I might have an impact on higher education, which is badly in need of a thorough shaking up.

This past year has been a difficult one. The experience has also had beneficial aspects, however. I have learned to assess my own potential, and act accordingly.

Midway through the year, an executive communication consultant at Communication Excellence Institute (CEI) suggested to me that I was missing opportunities by not applying for vice presidential level positions for which my managerial and leadership background qualified me. I began to do so with some trepidation. Interviews at that level trickled in beginning in late June. By December, the trickle turned into a torrent. My new job resulted from one of these interviews. The time and effort spent with CEI proved invaluable. In addition to providing the opportunity for a promotion two levels above where I was working, CEI made me aware of my strengths and weaknesses. It was a professionally and personally rewarding experience.

Dean of the College
Community college in California


Dear Jan & Neal,

It is hard to imagine the difference that three days can make – but the Candidacy Coaching Program over three days is life changing. In that time you, at CEI, are able to hold up a mirror that allows the participant to ‘see ourselves as others see us’. We all have warts and wrinkles of bad habits, but you expose them in a way that is encouraging, and permits strengths to be reinforced.

Thank you for not only holding up the mirror, but for providing a window through which I could see new directions and options. The opportunity to work with both of you in intense instruction was very valuable.

I highly recommend the program and CEI to anyone who is planning a major career change, needs career development, or wants to modify career goals.

Assistant Dean
Large private university in California


You and Neal have been life savers. Without your help, I might have caved over these past couple of months. You were a tonic that soothed the heart, and you helped me discover much about myself. Thank you!

A newly appointed President after an intensive job search


Although I had taken several classes in management and leadership as part of my doctoral studies and attended a myriad of seminars over the 23 plus years I have been in administration, I had to write and tell you that the three days of intensive training I spent with you were the most enlightening and valuable training experience of my career.

In addition to the skills you helped me develop, your continued professional assistance with my search for a presidency has proven invaluable. I must say I was more than a little surprised to have been invited to an interview for a Superintendent/President position with the first application I sent out! I’m certain that your guidance and assistance in reworking my resume and philosophy statement had a great deal to do with the invitation.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having two such energetic, talented and highly skilled consultants available to assist me with career and leadership development in such a professional, confidential and caring manner. I look forward to a long and rewarding association.

Acting President
Community college in California


I wanted to share some recent news with you. At the University Board meeting in September, the Board named me Vice President of Business Affairs. This culminates the process that began with my trip out to see you folks in January. I am very pleased with the news as it shows the confidence that the Executive Vice President, President, and the Board have in me.

I will be continuing to work on some of the leadership issues that we discussed in San Dimas as I continue to evolve into the CFO role. Many thanks for the spark you generated in my career advancement.

Vice President, Business Affairs
Large Private University in New York


Dear Jan & Neal,

Thanks for taking such good care of me this week. I learned more in three days than the Army taught me in nine months at one of their schools.

As a result of your coaching, I am looking forward to Monday’s interview. I am also looking beyond this interview with renewed confidence in my abilities, and my capability to communicate them. Thanks for remaking the man, and restoring the spirit.

A community college in California


I genuinely appreciated my session with you. I know that I went into that interview with a lot more ease, self-confidence, and poise after my mock interview with you. I really felt very comfortable about the hour that I spent with the interviewer.

Vice President for Academic Affairs
Large midwestern university


Thank you, Janet. The communications session I had with you and Neal were a big help during my interviews. They were invaluable, and I’ve been talking up CEI whenever appropriate.

Vice President
Large private university in Washington State


Thank you for unlocking doors for me and within me!

Flagship State University

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