The Undergraduate Leadership Minor’s mission is to produce effective, engaged, global leaders and citizens that are prepared to take on the adaptive challenges of today and tomorrow.
This interdisciplinary minor serves a diverse group of students and complements all academic majors with its emphasis on problem-solving skills, understanding diverse philosophies and cultures within and across societies, and developing skills for effective citizenship and lifelong learning. As a truly collaborative program, the Leadership Minor is dedicated to supporting the University of Minnesota’s civic mission to develop graduates who can apply their undergraduate education toward creating a better world and who can be proactive leaders in society.
From the Director:
The Undergraduate Leadership Minor at the University of Minnesota is almost 20 years old and since its inception as an idea and task force in 1996, the world and (in response) the program have changed significantly. It’s good to take time to celebrate milestones such as when we broke over 1,000 enrollments in 2011 or when we received the Liberal Education designator (2014) for our capstone course, but it is also important that we keep our eyes on the real prize: Leadership education as a way to make a better, more equitable, and sustainable world.
If you are an alumni or current student of the program, a partner, or just curious about leadership education, we hope that the end result of flipping through the following pages will be renewed hope in the future we are working to create with young people at the University of Minnesota. Our program started as most changes do as an idea that led to a small pilot (with 20 curious students and a few courageous and visionary faculty and staff), and has resulted thus far in a program that has over 1, 500 enrollments across over 60 sections a year. The dedication of the first courageous and curious group laid the robust foundation for a program that almost unheard of in the early 1990’s: a cross-collaborative, for-credit, leadership development program that could go beyond knowledge of theory to support students in becoming the leaders they wanted to see in the world.
But our work is far from done. Now we are embarking on asking and answering the question “to what end?” Do our students graduate and change systems? Are they not only equipped, but do they make the choice to practice leadership in ways that affect the wicked problems facing us today? It will take a while to answer these big questions, but we are poised and ready to do so. If the answers are yes, then more questions will follow: How can we share what we know with K-12 teachers? How can we partner with corporations to develop and train leaders who haven’t been part of our program? How do we go to scale? If the answers are no, then we will continue to pilot, refine, and try again until we know we are achieving the outcomes we not only want to, but need to achieve.
The more I learn about the world, leadership, and life the more I realize I still have left to learn. I am truly excited to be working with people from our campuses, our communities, across the nation, and internationally as we move forward in these most uncertain, but most alive times. Thank you for being part of this work.
Linnette Werner, M.A., PhD.