About The Leadership Studies Program


The Leadership Studies Program at UMD started Fall semester 2007.  Initiated as an academic minor through the College of Education's former Counseling and Personnel Services (CAPS) department, the minor formed based on a multitude of leadership initiatives through the College of Education, CAPS, and the Adele H. Stamp Student Union's Leadership & Community Service-Learning program. Efforts were led by Dr. Susan R. Komives, Professor Emerita with support from former department chair Dr. Dennis Kilvighan and former Dean of the College of Education Donna Wiseman.  


University of Maryland was one of the first institutions in the country to develop a curricular leadership program; we offered the first student leadership course at UMD in 1971 through the College of Education and CAPS. The University eventually became home to the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs (NCLP), the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, and the International Leadership Association (ILA).  These affiliations helped the University recruit and attract scholars, practitioners, and students interested in the study and application of socially-responsible leadership.


The creation of a formal Leadership Studies Program  reinforced the University's existing institutional leadership initiatives. For example, the President's Promise Initiative at the University guarantees all Maryland undergraduate students will have the opportunity "for leadership that only a university located adjacent to the nation's capital can provide."  In 2006, then Vice President for Research convened a leadership scholarship network to unite faculty from multiple disciplines to share their leadership research. Maryland's increased emphasis on global leadership and study abroad/international experiences require that students examine leadership across multiple cultural contexts, furthering the need for and relevance of a leadership studies program.  



Today, the Leadership Studies Program offers both a minor and certificate option, promoting college student leadership development by educating undergraduate students for and about leadership in a complex world. We aim to prepare students to effectively engage in leadership in both formal and informal ways within campus, local, national, and global contexts. Core courses in both the minor and certificate options are sequenced to meet increasingly complex sets of learning outcomes across cognitive, personal development, and group/organizational domains.


As a part of this program, students explore leadership theory and practice from a variety of social, historic, and disciplinary lenses and are challenged to think about leadership critically and broadly, beyond dominant narratives of position and authority. Students are also encouraged to identify a working philosophy of leadership that can advance their thinking around ethics, civic engagement, and the importance of working within diverse and multicultural environments. These areas are critical aspects of leadership that require faculty and students to build and critically evaluate existing theoretical, research-based, and practical knowledge of leadership.


Beyond the classroom, students can use their knowledge, skills, and competencies gained from this academic program to enhance their sense of self and engagement with others, as well as their practice within their major discipline, future career, and ongoing engagement with communities and organizations.

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