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ELEVATE: Leadership Development for Graduate Students

Enhancing Leadership through Exploration, Vision,
Awareness, Teamwork, & Empowerment

Now Accepting Applications for the Spring 2024 Cohort!

The GLI is launching a new cohort-based leadership program, ELEVATE: Enhancing Leadership through Exploration, Vision, Awareness, Teamwork, & Empowerment. Join us this spring for a unique interdisciplinary learning experience for graduate students. Application deadline extended to Monday, November 27th

 Why leadership development?

Leadership development equips graduate students with skills beyond their technical training and academic expertise that will be critical for their future roles in academia, government, business, industry, and non-profit sectors. By fostering effective communication, ethical decision-making, interdisciplinary collaboration, and resilience, these training opportunities empower students to become visionary leaders capable of tackling complex challenges and driving innovation. Beyond the professional benefits realized by the individual, leadership development contributes to the advancement of knowledge, fosters social responsibility, and strengthens communities globally.


The ELEVATE program provides a collaborative environment for students to explore critical leadership concepts and skills. Designed to enhance personal and interpersonal development, this series empowers students to gain insights into who they are as leaders and provides opportunities to grow as effective communicators. Upon program completion, participants will:

  • Be able to articulate their personal leadership philosophy.
  • Have a greater self-awareness of their habits and strengths as a leader, as well as areas of growth.
  • Intentionally practice leadership and interpersonal communication skills and strategies in their current roles.
  • Have greater confidence in their ability to take on leadership roles.

Throughout the series, participants will explore the following fundamental questions:

Who am I as a leader?
How can I effectively work with others?
What do I want my contribution to be?

This opportunity will offer valuable insights and practical skills for leading yourself and others. We encourage you to apply!

Program Schedule 

Jan 4-5th            Leadership Introduction (two-day workshop)
Jan. 18th            Learning & Leadership Agility (12:30 – 3:30 PM)
Feb. 1st              Building Your Emotional Intelligence to Maximize Your Leadership Potential (12:30 – 3:30 PM)
Feb. 15th            Leading in Times of Uncertainty (12:30 – 3:30 PM)
Feb. 29th            The Innovative Leader: Problem Solving & Decision Making (12:30 – 3:30 PM)
Mar. 14th            Collaborative Communication (full-day workshop)
Mar. 28th            Inclusive Leadership (12:30 – 3:30 PM)
April 11th            Leading Effective Teams (12:30 – 3:30 PM)
April 25th            Leadership Seminar (12:30 – 3:30 PM)

Program Outcomes

Participants who complete the ELEVATE leadership program will earn a digital badge through the Vandy PASS program.

Participants will also gain proficiency in the following areas upon completing the program: self-awareness, emotional intelligence, resilience, decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking, relationship-building, coaching, conflict management, active listening, fostering an inclusive culture, collaboration, and team building.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Graduate School Enrollment: Be enrolled in a PhD, MA, MFA, MLAS, or MS degree program.
  • Academic Standing: All graduate students in good academic standing who have completed one full academic year in the Graduate School at the time of application are eligible to apply. However, Preference will be given to:
    • Ph.D. students in or beyond their 3rd year.
    • Master students in or beyond their 2nd year.
  • Research Advisor Approval: Advisors will be asked to provide a brief statement of support via the InfoReady application platform
  • Commit to Full Participation: Participants must be able to attend all program sessions in person (schedule below):
    • 2-day workshop prior to the start of classes (January 4th & 5th),
    • 8-part workshop series every other Thursday from 12:30 – 3:30 PM*
      *March 14th workshop will be a full day (during spring break)

The program application is competitive as cohort slots are limited. Applicants will need to provide a 1-page leadership philosophy, a brief (500-word) statement of interest, and a current CV. Submissions are contingent on the research advisor’s approval. Application deadline extended to Monday, November 27th