Graduate Student Leadership Development Program

What are we about?

People are not always born as leaders -- in fact, very few are. Skills for leadership are often learned through a variety of methods including on-the-job mentoring, formal classroom preparation, and enrolling in a variety of leadership development workshops. Graduate students often find a need to develop these skills throughout their career.  Many graduates might alter their career path and need skills to allow them to fit into a variety of employment directions. Such skills are termed “transferrable skills” and leaders of the future must have these to be successful.   

The Graduate Schools of the 4 campus system of the University of Missouri have developed a Graduate Student Leadership Development Program (GSLDP) for highly motivated graduate students. The goals of the program are to have students gain both knowledge and skills important in their professional careers. Eight graduate students from each campus are selected to participate in the program each calendar year. Training sessions are two-fold:  1) students visit all four campuses for a one and a half day workshop; and 2) students participate in workshops regarding professional development on their own local campuses.


While all full-time (on-campus) graduate students can apply, doctoral students in the first or second year of study are given high priority.  The following tentative activities and topics are intended to be part of the program:

  • Identification of your leadership strengths
  • How others perceive your strengths and limitations
  • How your personality fits into your leadership style
  • Identifying your transferrable skills and how to use them to market yourself
  • Handling workplace conflicts
  • How to have difficult conversations
  • Balancing work and life
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship in your career
  • Sharpening your skills for the job search


Ruben’s (2006) Leadership Competency Scorecard (LSC 2.0) serves as our framework for leadership development. Ruben's model is grounded in the leadership literature and is particularly relevant for graduate students because it corresponds with employers’ expectations of new hires. Programming varies by site and is framed by the five competency areas of the LSC 2.0: 

Competency Areas             Illustrative Topics in GSLDP Curriculum
Analytical 360 Assessment; Situational Analysis; Critical Thinking; Problem Solving; Stakeholder Analysis
Personal Emotional Intelligence; Ethical Leadership; Creativity
Communication Academic Writing; Storytelling; Difficult Conversations; Diversity; Mindfulness; Team Building
Organizational Empowerment; Goal Setting; Project Management
Positional Higher Ed, Nonprofit, Industry, Government & Entrepreneurial Careers

Ruben, Brent D. (2006). What Leaders Need to Know and Do: A Leadership Competencies Scorecard. Washington, DC: National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Requirements and How to Apply

Full time, on-campus graduate students at any of the 4 UM system campuses are eligible to apply by completing the application and providing a 2-page resume.   Completion of the application is considered a “signature of intent” to attend ALL sessions of the program, including overnight travel to the three other UM campuses (transportation, hotel, and meals provided), as well as a telepresence orientation in December 2017. Students will also be required to complete a 360 assessment over winter break. 


Students who complete the program will earn a UM Certificate in Leadership Development.

2017 conference dateS

University of Missouri, Columbia : February 23-24, 2017
University of Missouri, Kansas City: April 20-21, 2017
University of Missouri, St. Louis: September 21-22, 2017
Missouri University of Science & Technology: November 16-17, 2017


2014 Cohort

Carlo Salvinelli
Derek King
Elizabeth Black
Manish Sharma
Nima Lotfi Yagin

2015 Cohort

Sudharshan Anandan
James Keehn
Doug McGeehan

Zahra Sadeghizadeh
Iranga Mendis

2016 Cohort

Yi Bao
Swathi Godavarthy
Jatin Mehta
Majid Mohamod
Vijay Shah
Siddesh Umapathi

2017 Cohort

Aamer Alhakeem
Bader Almutairi
Julian Kosacki
Kollin Liefer
Martin DiStefano
Mohammed Farhan Ahmed
Samareh Moradpour
Weina Meng

"It broadened my ideas of what's possible for me to advance my career. I have a little more confidence to pursue things that I wouldn't have before."

- 2015 GSLDP Student  

"I have more confidence in my ability and effectiveness as a leader -- with this gained confidence, I have no hesitation taking the lead."

- 2014 GSLDP Student  

UM Participants' Overall reaction to the GSLDP

Comparing my leadership knowledge, skills and abilities before and after the GSLDP, I would say that I experienced…

  2014    2015    2016

No personal or professional growth 

   0       1       0

Moderate personal & professional growth 

   8       6       9

Exceptional personal & professional growth 

   7       7       9







See the GSLDP Facebook page for photos.

Questions? Please contact Stephanie Lewis at