Federal Executive Institute

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Federal Executive Institute

The Federal Executive Institute (FEI) is an executive and management development and training center for governmental leaders located on a 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus near the center of Charlottesville, Virginia, less than a mile from University of Virginia.

FEI offers values-based leadership development opportunities through an "interagency residential learning experience" which emphasizes “personal growth as well as professional growth."[1] Programs are designed specifically for public sector senior management.


FEI operates four programs of leadership training: Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS), Custom Executive Programs (CEP), Open Enrollment Courses (OEP), and the Center for Global Leadership (CGL). Programs, workshops, and courses are designed and administered by a team of federally employed faculty and staff. In addition, all programs are supported by adjunct faculty representing a wide spectrum of expertise.

Leadership for a Democratic Society[edit]

The four-week "Leadership for a Democratic Society" (LDS) program improves the leadership skills of senior career federal government executives to enhance their individual performance and the performance of government agencies. The program focuses on four themes: personal leadership, transforming organizations, policy in a Constitutional system, and the global context for executive action.

LDS offers federal executives a residential learning experience. Sessions last four weeks and are offered ten times a year. The maximum enrollment is approximately seventy executives per session, but FEI will often see up to 750 executives complete the LDS program per year.[citation needed]

In addition to an intense curriculum based on Constitutional values, LDS offers a personal approach to leadership development. By incorporating 360-degree assessments, inventories of strengths and areas for improvement, and constant feedback from peers and facilitators, participants are led to a larger picture of self-awareness.[2] Executives learn in Leadership Development Teams (LDTs) which are smaller discussion and peer consultation groups that include guidance from a professional facilitator. In addition, interagency networking is encouraged and fostered throughout the program.

The Leadership for a Democratic Society program also includes a wellness track. All participants complete a comprehensive health risk appraisal to include blood lipid profile and fitness assessment and nutritional counseling. Executives are provided with the opportunity to take fitness classes in the mornings before breakfast and during the midday break as well as during the open hours when the fitness facility is available for individual exercise. In addition, smaller breakout sessions and seminar focusing on specific health and wellness topics are offered during the program. FEI offers on-campus gym facilities as well as a volleyball court and a swimming pool.

Custom Executive Programs[edit]

In addition to LDS, elements of FEI focus on consulting and specific organizational needs within federal agencies. FEI offers open enrollment courses throughout the year in areas such as: collaborating across organizational boundaries, emotional competence, and strategic leadership. FEI also offers custom designed programs which can be constructed to respond to an organization’s specific needs.

FEI has worked with such agencies as: USAID, NOAA, NAVAIR, FAA, Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service as well as the Army Senior Leader Development Program, the Defense Senior Leadership Development Program (DSLDP) and the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency in the Government.

Open Enrollment Programs[edit]

FEI also offers more than two dozen open enrollment programs to federal executives at the GS15 and Senior Executive Service (SES) level. These multi-day courses span a wide range of topics relevant to executive leaders including those which focus on individual skill development as well as organizational enhancement.

Center for Global Leadership[edit]

FEI is a founding member of the Global Leadership Consortium with the Graduate School, USDA, and the National Academy of Public Administration to support federal agencies in developing leaders who can excel in the global environment. A variety of programs are offered that enhance executives ability to think and relate globally in their leadership approach.


On May 9, 1968, the FEI opened to these words by President Lyndon B. Johnson:[citation needed]

“The critical importance of our Federal programs demands the highest level of talent in our career leadership. To increase the capacity of top civil service executives and professionals, I directed Civil Service Chairman John Macy last year to take steps to establish an advanced study center. Today I have approved and announced the creation of such a center to be known as the Federal Executive Institute and to be located at Charlottesville, Virginia in collaboration with the University of Virginia."

“This new training enterprise is part of our joint effort to improve the quality of government for the American people. I ask you and your associates to support this new program fully and enthusiastically. Its successful operation can be assured by the assignment of your most talented and promising people to the programs it will offer.”

In 1999 at the 14th Annual FEIAA Forum, Vice President Al Gore noted that, “FEI has a respected, rich tradition of training leaders of the future based on the values of our Constitution and has earned a well-deserved reputation as the premier executive education institute in the federal government. The networking and values-based leadership that your organization has developed are critical to this Administration's quest to reinvent government and improve our ability to serve the American public.”


  • Frank Sherwood (1968–73)
  • Chester Newland (1973–76)
  • Thomas Murphy (1976–79)
  • Patrick Conklin (1979-79) Acting
  • Robert Matson (1980-80) Acting
  • Chester Newland (1980–1981)
  • Robert Matson (1981–82) Acting
  • Robert Matson (1982–87)
  • Michael Hansen (1987–92)
  • Patrick Conklin (1992-92) Acting
  • Dee Henderson (1993–94)
  • Curtis Smith (1994–1998)
  • Barbara Garvin-Kester (1998–2003)
  • Thomas Towberman (2003–2007)
  • Joseph Enders (2007-07) Acting
  • Kevin Marshall (2007–2009)
  • Joe Kraemer (2009–2011) Acting
  • Curtis Smith (2011–2012) Acting
  • Suzanne Logan (2012-present)

Related programs[edit]

FEI is part of the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and falls under OPM's HR Solutions organization which functions as OPM's services and consulting division for all U.S. Federal agencies. In addition to FEI, HR Solutions has educational facilities in Shepherdstown, West Virginia (EMDC) Denver, Colorado (WMDC). FEI also provides Briefing Programs for Senior Executive Service (SES) members and Schedule C (Administration) appointees.


  1. ^ Novotny, T.W. What's So Special? An Introduction. The Public Manager Vol.28 No.1 Spring 1999. Pg 4.
  2. ^ Hall, T.B. Rocky Top, Rocky Road, Solid Rock: Thirty Years of Intellectual History at the Federal Executive Institute. Diss. Virginia Tech, 1998. Falls Church, VA: Pg 111.

External links[edit]