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New & Evolving
Academic Leaders

Innovative. Accessible. Connected.
Tools for Leadership & Beyond.

Program Objective

The New and Evolving Academic Leaders (NEAL) program is entering its 10th year! Over the past two years we have learned, adapted and evolved to bring our best virtual offering of NEAL yet. This iteration of NEAL will allow greater access for academic leaders everywhere to a connected, streamlined and virtual learning experience. Through this program, participants develop their mindsets and capabilities to successfully lead their academic division, program, research, education or other unit and help enable the success of their academic teams. NEAL methods create endless opportunities to meet, share experiences and develop supportive connections with peers and leaders from a diversity of academic locales.

Program Description

You are your leadership instrument- get the leadership training you need to succeed in academic health care! Over the past two years we have redesigned NEAL for an excellent virtual experience. NEAL is a program consisting of 3 modules held entirely online over the course of one year. Each module runs for 4-5 days (see side panel for dates). With every module, you will walk away with actionable tools and frameworks that you can apply immediately when you return to work. We believe that your learning should be immediately relevant and last long after the program is complete.

For 2021-2022, NEAL was an accredited program by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. NEAL was awarded credits for the Royal College Maintenance of Certification Sections 1, 3-Simulation & 3-Self-Assessment.

Note to physician leaders: NEAL is a Canadian Society of Physician Leaders-approved leadership CPD activity required as part of the Academic Route for the Canadian Certified Physician Executive (CCPE) designation.

Unique aspects of the program include:

  • Our faculty are award winning experts in their fields from business, health management, health sciences and the private sector
  • Engagement with colleagues from a diversity of academic contexts beyond your own
  • You will identify your strengths and blind-spots and develop your own authentic leadership style
  • The program has been designed to ensure workplace based learning and application
  • You will work on context relevant stretch goals and shared issues
  • You will receive individual coaching
  • You will have an opportunity to shadow an admired leader
  • Completion of the program will result in a University of Toronto certificate of added qualification

 By the end of this program participants will learn to:

Module 1: Getting Started
  1. Reflect on their strengths and gaps in academic leadership to set development goals
  2. Apply current frameworks for 21stcentury leadership to their work
  3. Describe how to utilize their style and communication to enable engagement
  4. Discuss the design and maintenance of high performing academic groups
  5. Explain the relevance of complexity for understanding leadership in academic health science/care settings
  6. Practice compelling communication techniques to move concepts and ideas forward
  7. Develop their initial strategy for enabling academic change and innovation
  8. Describe how to design effective decision-making processes
  9. Apply complexity informed strategies to enabling change and innovation
  10. Discuss structural and systemic opportunities for inclusion
Module 2: Building Capacity and Momentum
  1. Examine diverse individual approaches to effective academic leadership
  2. Practice negotiation techniques to address academic health science system issues
  3. Develop strategies to navigate challenging conversations
  4. Describe approaches to promoting high performance and mediating conflict
  5. Recognize the power of networks and diverse perspectives for solving organizational issues
  6. Discuss and practice approaches for dealing with unprofessional faculty
  7. Develop vision and strategy skills for their academic unit
  8. Identify strategies to enable future scaling of innovations
  9. Apply a strengths based and resilient approach to their leadership and ongoing development
  10. Describe principles to engage others to create momentum towards desired results
Module 3: Creating Resilience and Adaptability
  1. Identify ways to design an adaptable and resilient academic unit to support your strategy
  2. Discuss approaches to managing and supporting faculty and academic unit success
  3. Apply an access and amplifying lens to leading academic organizations
  4. Describe how politics and policy can inform advocacy approaches
  5. Identify strategies for leading across academic health system boundaries
  6. Reflect on the evolution of your own leadership to plan for continued growth and sustainability

Application Review Process

All applications to NEAL will be judged according to the following criteria:

  1. How will they be engaged in academic leadership at the start of the program?
  2. What are the reasons that they are interested in the program at this time?
  3. How are their needs and expectations aligned with desired program outcomes for academic leaders?
  4. What are they interested in learning about academic leadership in the health sciences?
  5. How will their participation contribute to advancing the academic mission of their setting?
  6. Will the NEAL program address their emergent insights and perceived learning needs about academic leadership?
  7. Is their project idea both an academic and leadership project that will support their learning in the program?
  8. Do their sponsors clearly support the application) and recognize the value of their participation?
  9. Will the NEAL program be able to support achievement of the sponsor’s expectations?

The NEAL program welcomes and centres qualified applicants from diverse communities. Individuals are invited to opt into priority admissions in line with identifying with one or more of the following communities, as defined by the Temerty Faculty of Medicine: Indigenous, Black or Filipino communities. Any questions or comments regarding this process can be directed to: Manpreet Saini at

CFD Membership

All NEAL participants will be automatically enrolled as a CFD General Member in the academic year following completion of the program.


Cate Creede
Program Lead

Susan Lieff
Program Lead

Manpreet Saini
Education Program Coordinator, Leadership and Special Projects

Registration Details

Prerequisites: Applicants are academic leaders (with or without formal institutional roles/titles) who are engaged in advancing the academic missions of research, education, innovation or program development in the health sciences. Faculty members must have been in their position for at least 3 years.

Who should apply: Applications from both formal and informal leaders in the academic health sciences, nationally and internationally are welcome.

Format: Virtual

Upcoming Dates:
Module 1:
Oct 17-21, 2022
Module 2: Jan 16-19, 2023
Module 3: May 8-11, 2023

Basic Sciences Tuition Rate*:
Early bird  – $10,350
Regular non-member – $10,850
Regular member – $10,650
–> note if members apply before the early bird deadline they will receive the early bird rate

Standard Rate**:
Early bird – $12,550
Regular non-member – $13,050
Regular member – $12,850
–> note if members apply before the early bird deadline they will receive the early bird rate

* for those with a PhD in the following departments: Anatomy, Biochemistry, Immunology, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Medical Biophysics, Molecular Genetics, Nutritional Sciences, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Physiology.

** for MDs and Other Faculty Members.


To apply to NEAL, please follow the following steps:

  1. Create a CFD User Account. You can do so by clicking on the link at the top right that says “Sign Up” or by clicking here.
  2. You will receive an activation link within 24-48 hours (check your junk mail). Once your account is activated, complete your online profile.
  3. Prepare your application package (click here to download):
    1. Application form
    2. CV
    3. 2 Letters of reference (specifics outlined in the application package)
    4. Signed learner contract
  4. Upload your application package at this link

Deadlines for applications are:
Early Bird: April 22, 2022
Final: May 31, 2022

You will be notified of the application committee’s decision by late June 2022.

Certificate: Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of all program requirements.

Share this Program

What our alumni say about the program

"If you are looking for an opportunity to build your academic leadership skills in a safe and supportive environment, then NEAL is for you.  Before NEAL I was in a leadership role; after NEAL I felt like a leader. NEAL helped me increase my competence and confidence as an academic leader. "

Karen Weyman MD, MEd, CCFP, FCFP (NEAL 2017), Chief, Department of Family and Community Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, Associate Professor, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

"I recently completed the NEAL Program; all done virtually. The program helped me gain the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to advance in academic leadership positions. I learned a great deal about myself, team-building and social/professional interactions with others who have their own values and belief systems. Participating in the course virtually was fantastic. It increased efficiency of knowledge translation, limited travel and preparations time and allowed the possibility for participants and teachers to join from anywhere in the world. The virtual social events were a blast! I very highly recommend this program."

Fuad Moussa MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, FCCP (NEAL 2021), Physician Lead, Schulich Heart Centre Education Council , Curriculum Lead, Cardiac Surgery Residency Program, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

"I attended the 2020-2021 NEAL program and thoroughly enjoyed the course. The organizers adapted the course online seamlessly and provided us with a comparative experience to in person. This course was an excellent learning experience and has allowed me to use many of its teachings in my daily work. I recommend this course to all who want to learn about the art and science of leadership within an academic setting."

Dr. Ahtsham U Niazi MD, MBBS, FCARCSI, FRCPC (NEAL 2021), Vice Chair of Education, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

"The NEAL program helped me re-align my leadership trajectory. The small groups sessions, mentorship meetings, fire-side chats by academic leaders, and project-based learning assisted me to reflect on my leadership learning opportunities. I believe the NEAL program gave me the leadership training that is allowing the team I am part of to succeed in academic health care."

Kent Stobart MD MSc FRCPC CCPE (NEAL 2017), Vice-Dean of Education, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

"For those that aspire to lead equitably and by inclusion of multiple perspectives, NEAL helps attendees develop the skillsets to listen and communicate authentically, and lead based on principles and values. As satisfying as one’s personal growth is, it was truly a pleasure to witness virtually all of my classmates develop their leadership vision and distinctive voice."

Susanna Mak MD, PhD (NEAL 2020), Division Director, Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

"I had held leadership positions before, but Neal allowed me to exercise my leadership through deliberate practice. I acquired new perspectives, agile tools and creative methods that are useful to me on a daily basis. The team of teachers was able to quickly create a climate of psychological safety that allowed us to explore in a reflective way our achievements and our challenges. Individual and group coaching sessions, work on a personal project, fireside chats with leaders, active learning activities, renowned lecturers have contributed to my growth as a person and as a leader."

Luce Pélissier-Simard MD, MSc, CMF (NEAL 2020), Director, Office of Social Responsibility, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke

"I attended the NEAL program amid the pandemic in 2020-21. Although the learning opportunities were all remote, the program provided me with a solid leadership training and resources to take into my new leadership role. Focused on reflection and discussion, this program emphasised self-awareness and authenticity, rooting them in solid evidence gathered from various relevant disciplines. The program successfully created a sense of cohort and a great deal of connection and camaraderie among the learners. I highly recommend the NEAL program as a steppingstone in your personal journey as an academic leader – you will not regret it! "

Yana Yanusova PhD, CCC-SLP (NEAL 2021), Vice Dean (Acting) Students, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto

"I completed NEAL in the fall of 2020. Despite the pivot we had to make due to the pandemic, it was one of the most transformative learning experiences I’ve ever had. The combination of lectures, mentors and support from my peers helped me grow as a leader, particularly with regards to my self-awareness and situational assessment. As a result, I was able to take those learnings and become the co-founder of the Black Health Education Collaborative. And as the President of the Black Physicians’ Association of Ontario, I was better equipped to support my team and the growth of our organization, all during the pandemic. It's a fantastic leadership program!"

Onye Nnorom MDCM, CCFP, MPH, FRCPC (NEAL 2020), Black Health Theme Lead, MD Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, President, Black Physicians' Association of Ontario, Host, Podcast

"I took the NEAL course in 2020-21 and it was amazing. I had planned to travel to Toronto, but in the end had the convenience of doing it from my home! I really think the virtual experience was excellent. We had some amazing discussions in breakouts and the overall class together. Even the social events were excellent. I felt like I got to know my colleagues in the course well. In terms of content, it covered so many aspects of leadership, it is hard to imagine there was anything that was not addressed. After each module, the ability to give feedback, and have it incorporated into the next module was excellent. It really made the course exactly what we were all looking for. Overall, I would highly recommend the NEAL course!"

Donna Johnston MD, FRCPC, FAAP (NEAL 2021), Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Vice Chair, Clinical Operations, Department of Pediatrics. University of Ottawa

“NEAL was an incredibly valuable experience, which taught me things that I had been unaware of. This awareness made me a more effective and authentic leader. One of the aspects I appreciated most was that the program equipped me with new tools and strategies to handle and thrive in leadership situations. Importantly, NEAL allowed me to meet and build a connection to other leaders across the system; a new community to continue to grow with. The instructors and the format made it incredibly engaging and a joy to participate in. I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to change their leadership trajectory in a meaningful way.”

Laura Rosella PhD, MHSc (NEAL 2019), Director, Population Health Analytics Lab, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

“The program helped me to recognise that academic administration and academic leadership are different concepts. That recognition has enabled me to create safe places to share ideas; empower talented people and work to span boundaries for the purpose of creating new possibilities. It inspired me to change my thinking and enabled me to build new resiliency to my leadership challenges.”

Todd Duhamel PhD (NEAL 2016), Associate Dean (Health Sciences), Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Manitoba

“The NEAL program is a must have for those interested in any type of academic leadership as it provides insight into your own style as well as prepares you with the tools needed to manage a host of leadership challenges. Beyond the excellent education received, you join a community of other leaders that will provide years of ongoing support. For years, I thought I did not have the time to get through the program, but the time spent was not only well worth it but profoundly enjoyable.”

Michelle Hladunewich MD, BSc(med), MSc, FRCPC (NEAL 2015), Chief of Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Medical Lead, Glomerulonephritis and Specialty Clinics, Ontario Renal Network

Upcoming Events

  • CFD13-%20CFDLogo_SubBranding__Workshop_Card_Blank.png
    This workshop focuses on the alignment of desired career goals in education, with learning needs and opportunities for development. Participants identify their options for future career directions and develop a learning plan in order to support decision making about future career directions.
    • Stepping Stones
    • Workshop
    Start 09:00 am EST
    End 12:00 pm EST
    Location Online
  • CFD13-%20CFDLogo_SubBranding_BPER_Card.png
    Learn about the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC), which comprises of five development phases of cultural awareness. Learn about each phase, how to increase cultural awareness and what questions to reflect on while in each phase.
    • BPER
    • Rounds
    Start 12:00 pm EST
    End 01:00 pm EST
    Location Online
  • CFD13-%20CFDLogo_SubBranding_BPER_Card.png
    5 champions, 5 papers, 1 winner. Vote each month for your favourite paper & join us on February 14th, 2023 when the champions of the final two papers will battle it out to convince us who wins the title of ‘best paper’.
    Start 12:00 pm EST
    End 01:00 pm EST
    Location Online


Q. How do I create and/or activate my account to log into the site?

A. To create a CFD user account please click here. If you have already created an account, click here to log in. Please note you will be required to set up a new account and password for our new website. We will connect your account with your previous CFD event records.

Q. Is there a cost to attend your programs?

A. There is a cost to participate in some of our programs. The cost of each of our programs varies and in some cases, the cost varies depending on your status with the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto and/or in which hospital you work.

Q.I do not have a faculty appointment in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Can I still attend your workshops, programs and/or events? Is there a fee?

A. Anyone whose education activities include teaching, leading, scholarship and advocacy are welcome to attend our workshops, programs and/or events. Specific pre-requisite criteria may apply. Please refer to each workshop, program or event page for details. All fees and discounts (where applicable) can be found in the workshop, program and event pages.

Q.I am interested in having one of your workshops offered at my home site/department. Do you offer this type of service?

A. Please contact us for further information.

Need more help?

Our Programs

The CFD offers a number of exceptional programs to meet current and emerging faculty development needs across the health system. View the full listing of CFD’s programs to determine which may best meet your interests and needs.

Our Programs

The CFD offers a number of exceptional programs to meet current and emerging faculty development needs across the health system. View the full listing of CFD’s programs to determine which may best meet your interests and needs.

Centre for Faculty Development
Li Ka Shing International Healthcare
Education Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital
209 Victoria Street, 4th floor

Mailing Address:
30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8


Our 5 champions & papers have now become 4: @adamgavarkovs @ivansilver4 @MalikaHSharma @paularowland121! Vote in this round and save your top paper from elimination by Dec 12th!

For more info, access to the papers or to vote, visit:

#BPER #hpe #meded

Don’t miss out – CFD members gain access to free workshops, exclusive events, and more! Sign up for annual membership today at This is new and requires action.


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