Leadership Assessment

In the spring of 1994, the University of Minnesota’s Campus Involvement Center initiated an assessment of student opinion regarding leadership development opportunities at the University of Minnesota. The assessment indicated that students viewed their leadership development activities and experiences as crucial to their overall education. The students suggested several ways to promote the value of leadership development in their education:

-Develop an undergraduate minor in leadership studies

-List involvement and leadership experiences on their transcripts and

-Offer more traditionally co‐curricular leadership programs for credit.


3000 Level Class Developed

Staff in Student Affairs developed a conceptual framework for the Minor, which was endorsed by the Vice President of Student Affairs and the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development. Faculty from the College of Education and Human Development were identified to work with staff from Student Affairs to develop a formal proposal for the Undergraduate Leadership Minor. The work group expanded to include a representative from the Reflective Leadership Center at the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs and the curriculum for the 3000 level leadership course, “Leadership, You and Your Community” was developed.


Seminar Offered

In the spring of 1997, a non‐credit Leadership Minor seminar was offered to explore the concept of leadership courses for credit and to solicit input regarding the content of the curriculum.


First Course Offered

In the spring of 1998, the first course, entitled, “Leadership, You and Your Community,” then identified as EDPA 3199/ PA 3099, was offered for credit with 19 students registered. In the fall of 1998, a Leadership Minor Advisory Team was chaired by Jim Hearn, Chair of the Department of Educational Policy & Administration in the College of Education and Human Development. This team developed the comprehensive proposal for the Minor.


Minor Approved!

The Leadership Minor proposal received final approval from the Board of Regents in December of 1999. All core courses were offered in the spring of 2000, with 41 students enrolled.


Curriculum Reconstruction

One of the challenges the program faced, as a minor that focuses on leadership development (as opposed to leadership studies), was how to most effectively teach transformative and adaptive leadership to undergraduates.  In 2007, we began working closely with Dr. Sharon Daloz Parks (author of Leadership Can be Taught, 2005) on integrating Adaptive Leadership and Case-in-Point teaching into our courses.  Through this process, we spent a great deal of time working with and learning from others in the field who are committed to similar approaches.  We conducted site visits with Duke University, Harvard, and the University of San Diego


Symposium Offered

Sharon Daloz Parks asked us to create a symposium (originally the Leadership Can be Taught Symposium) to bring together people interested in using adaptive leadership with undergraduates.  We hosted the symposium for two years and then created a more specific training programs based on the feedback of the participants and the growing demand to learn our model.  We now have two programs for those interested in learning about our pedagogy:

-semester cohort trainings or

-the Engaging Young Leaders bi-annual training.


Outside Program Training Offered

Beginning in June of 2016, we began to offer a biannual training for educators around the world. The program is based off of the upcoming book Practices for Engaging Young Leaders. This training comes not only from the lived experience of authors, Linnette Werner and David Hellstrom, who collectively have over 30 years of teaching experience, but also from leadership educators across the globe who have attended their previous conferences and trainings.


1800+ Enrollments

During the 2016-2017 school year, we had over 1,800 student enrollments in our four core courses, and we offered a total of 77 sections including 62 in-person sections, 5 blended sections, and 10 online sections.


Growth & Expansion

In 2017, the leadership minor moved its academic partnerships from specific colleges to the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) in order to open up partnership possibilities with more departments across the Twin Cities campus. This move reflected the centrality of leadership development and education as a university wide mission and a desire to ensure that leadership was not viewed as the province of a single school or college. In addition, it continued to honor the undeniable role that Student Affairs has had in the development and advancement of the Leadership Minor since its inception. The move also allowed the Minor to use a single course designator (LEAD) instead of cross-listing courses, regardless of the colleges partnering in the program at the time, making it more intuitive for students to register for all Leadership Minor courses. A new Faculty Steering Committee was recruited to assume responsibility for the academic direction of the program and open up input from more colleges.


View Our History in Video Form!