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APSU’s Whiteside named to 2020 Millennium Leadership Initiative

June 25, 2020 | Email This Post Print This Post

Austin Peay State University - APSUWashington, D.C.Austin Peay State University (APSU) vice president for legal affairs Dannelle Whiteside was recently named to the 2020 class of the Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI), a premier leadership development program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Austin Peay State University vice president for legal affairs Dannelle Whiteside. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University vice president for legal affairs Dannelle Whiteside. (APSU)

MLI provides individuals traditionally underrepresented in the highest ranks of postsecondary education with the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview, and build the network and knowledge needed to advance to the presidency.

Over its more than 20-year history, the program has produced 632 graduates, of which 131 have become first-time presidents or chancellors.

“It is important that leadership within higher education represent our institutions’ diverse student body—implementing efforts to help our students succeed, shaping inclusive and effective learning environments and continuing to advance equity, diversity and social and economic justice across our campuses,” Dr. Mary Evans Sias, director of the program and assistant to AASCU’s president, said. “I am proud to welcome our stellar 2020 MLI Class.”

AASCU restructured the 2020 MLI to continue to advance the next generation of higher education leaders during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. This year’s MLI Institute will include two webinars per month from July–November 2020 and an in-person conference in January 2021. Protégés will also have a yearlong mentorship with an experienced president or chancellor and four months of professional coaching from a retired president or chancellor.

“The network of presidents I gained from participating in MLI has remained invaluable to me throughout my career. I am honored this year’s class will be afforded the same opportunity to cultivate their leadership skills in these unprecedented times for our country,” said AASCU President Dr. Mildred García, a protégé in MLI’s inaugural class in 1999. “The voices and contributions of these emerging leaders will be critical to the future of our institutions.”

Last year, Whiteside was named to the inaugural cohort of the Tennessee Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program. That program is designed to develop the next generation of enterprise leaders in higher education, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

Prior to her time at Austin Peay State University, Whiteside served as General Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and as General Counsel to the Tennessee State Board of Education.

She was named a Nashville Emerging Leader in the Education category by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, a Nation’s Best Advocate: 40 Lawyers Under 40, and a Nashville’s Top 30 Under 30. She has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she was a Dean’s Scholar and president of the Black Law Students Association.

Whiteside earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was president of the UAPB Student Government Association.       



Whiteside is joining a new class of 31 exemplary, senior-level higher education professionals for the MLI, including Dr. Jaime Taylor, former dean of the APSU College of STEM and current provost and vice president of academic affairs for Marshall University in West Virginia.

For more information on the MLI Class of 2020, visit

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