About the Program


The Leadership Studies Program provides high impact, experiential learning where every student will engage in the leadership process, preparing them for opportunities to effect positive change with purpose and passion.


The Leadership Studies Program develops students who can effect positive change through understanding the leadership discipline, expand the contexts for intentional leadership practice, and cultivate leadership in others.

Core Belief

Effective leadership is an intentional and reflective process that cultivates self awareness, equity, collaboration, and empathy.


The Leadership Studies Program focuses on developing students’ leadership skills in seven distinct areas:

  • Catalytic—Identifying, analyzing, and judging complex collective challenges and opportunities, and mobilizing others to remain focused on addressing them.
  • Contextual—Knowing the cultural, historical, institutional, intellectual and policy context in which one operates.
  • Interpersonal—Modulating one’s behavior in order to interact effectively in a variety of settings.
  • Theory
    Understanding the fundamental leadership concepts, constructs and research findings.
  • Organizational—Planning, organizing, coordinating and executing collective action.
  • Personal—Being self-aware; that is, able to reflect on one’s thinking, feeling, and behavior and knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses, predilections, dominant tendencies and values.
  • Social Systems—Analyzing dynamic social and political systems.

Adapted from: Pittinsky, T.L. (2006) “How to Develop Public Leaders.” Kennedy School Bulletin, summer 2006, p. 13.


The objectives of the Leadership Studies Program are to:

  • Develop students’ leadership capacity—which encompasses individual-level capabilities of self-awareness, integrity and commitment; group-level capabilities of collaboration, shared purpose and handling controversy with civility; and community-level capabilities of citizenship and civic responsibility.
  • Provide opportunities for students to study leadership by learning effective communication practices, organizational theories, ethical principles, an appreciation of diversity, intrapersonal development and the value of community service.
  • Cultivate students’ understanding of social empowerment and social justice to create positive and sustainable change.
  • Challenge students to critically examine leadership at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, team, organization and society levels.
  • Bring students into contact with community leaders and faculty members from diverse academic departments, backgrounds and leadership experiences.
  • Prepare students to undertake leadership roles in their careers and in service to their community through coursework and co-curricular engagement.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the minor or certificate in leadership studies, students will:

  • Recognize leadership as a set of skills, knowledge and attitudes that can be learned.
  • Understand traditional and emergent leadership theories and apply them in practice.
  • Comprehend key concepts of communication theories, organizational theories, contemporary diversity issues and ethical principles.
  • Practice and evaluate their own capacity to lead effectively within teams, organizations and diverse communities.
  • Develop and implement plans for continually improving their leadership capacity.
  • Demonstrate proficiencies in written and oral communication.