Tara Widner



Dept:Liberal Arts & Sciences Administration
Office:348 Carver
411 Morrill Rd.
Ames IA


Leadership Philosophy: Leadership is an intentional and reflective process of effecting positive change in your communities

Dr. Tara L. Widner joined the Leadership Studies faculty at Iowa State in the fall of 2016. She teaches LD ST 322, "Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society," LD ST 360, “Cultural Competence and Global Leadership,” LD ST 333 "Women and Leadership," LD ST 370 “Leadership and Group Development," and LD ST 422 “Leadership Capstone.” She is also the Director of the Global Leadership Study Abroad.

Widner's research interests include global leadership, higher education, cultural competency, study abroad, undergraduate leadership education and effective teaching methods. Her doctoral dissertation, “Curricular Instruction of Global Leadership at Colleges and Universities in The United States,” examined how undergraduate leadership programs were teaching global leadership, which methods had proved effective through assessment, and created a model for teaching global leadership. Widner has several publications in the works, and has presented on various topics at national and international conferences including Teaching Global Leadership Effectiveness, Case in Point Teaching, Coupling Leadership Education with Social Entrepreneurship, Effective Capstone Experiences for Leadership Education, and Teaching Global Leadership Through Study Abroad. Additionally, she is a Certified Leadership Coach, a certified Strengths Facilitator, and a certified facilitator of the Intercultural Development Inventory. She has also helped facilitate the Leadership Can Be Taught Symposium and has been involved with the International Leadership Association (ILA) for over 10 years. Dr. Widner was elected to serve as the Chair of the Leadership Education MIG of ILA for 2018 and is serving as Past Chair through 2019.

Originally from Minnesota, Widner moved back to Iowa from San Diego where she pursued her Ph.D. and helped coordinate and teach the leadership studies minor at the University of San Diego. Prior to her work at the University of San Diego, Widner served as the assistant director for leadership programs at The University of Iowa, including all curricular and co-curricular leadership programming, as well as teaching several classes a semester. She received her Ph.D. from the University of San Diego in leadership studies, her M.S. in higher educational leadership from Oklahoma State University, and her BS from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.