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Excellence in Leadership Programs

Leadership is a sought-after skill at many organizations, but what exactly is leadership? How can you develop it? What might your own leadership style look like?

Register for leadership programs on What's Up McDaniel

The Office of Student Engagement’s Excellence in Leadership Program has a variety of tracks for emerging and experienced leaders of all majors and class years. You can achieve your leadership goals with these interactive workshops, discussions with alumni, global travel abroad, and more.

You can complete three separate experiences to complete the Excellence in Leadership Program, five separate experiences to complete the Distinguished Leadership Program, or complete individual sessions based on interest. These programs are extracurricular and do not provide course credit, though select sessions may provide experience credits.

“There are many different kinds of leadership, but we use the active citizenship model the most, where we take students from a self-view to a world-view."

Amanda Gelber, Director of Student Engagement

Learn How to Become a Leader at McDaniel College

Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI)

Offered twice a year

ELI will introduce you to the five practices used by exemplary leaders, based on the Student Leadership Challenge. It is open to all students, no previous leadership experience required, and program graduates receive a certificate and recognition at the Impact Awards.

In ELI, you will:

  • Lead by example and learn the value of trust.
  • Learn to effectively challenge and change processes.
  • Use support systems to encourage collaborative thinking.
  • Develop competencies in inspiring and motivating others.

Sophomore Cohort Leadership (SCL)

Offered once a year

So, you’re no longer a first-year student. What’s next? The SCL Program is exclusively for sophomores who are looking to fill their second year at McDaniel with meaningful leadership experience. Program graduates receive a certificate and recognition at the Impact Awards.

In SCL, you’ll participate in:

  • Leadership programming.
  • Workshops.
  • Off campus activities.
  • Self-reflection.
  • Skill development.
  • Making changes through action.

Advanced Leaders Institute (ALI)

Offered twice a year

ALI will help you step up and into brave leadership. The only prerequisite for ALI is completion of ELI, unless you are a senior. Program graduates receive a certificate and recognition at the Impact Awards.

Active Citizenship Leadership Summit (ACLS)

Offered once a year

The ACLS will introduce you to the Active Citizenship Continuum. This continuum will provide a space for educating, uniting, and inspiring student leaders to become active citizens in any community they are a part of at McDaniel or off campus. This hands-on and interactive conference will provide both new and experienced leaders with strategies and best practices to take their leadership skills to the next level. No previous leadership experience is required. Upon completion of this conference, all students will receive a certificate of completion and will be recognized at the Impact Awards.

Common Read Program

Offered during Jan Term

If you love book clubs, then Common Read is the program for you. In the fall semester, you’ll participate in weekly discussions and activities that are designed around a book with leadership themes. During Jan Term, you will attend a domestic trip inspired by the book (fees apply). Program graduates receive a certificate of completion.

Students in the 2022-23 Common Read program received:

  • Regular discussion sessions and activities built around “The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.
  • Overnight Jan Term trip to New York City to visit the Morgan Library and Museum.

Leadership Across Cultures

Every other year starting spring 2022

Study abroad with Leadership Across Cultures to explore cross-cultural leadership. In the spring semester, before the trip, you will complete a Global Immersion course to learn about your destinations. Students earn an experience credit on their transcript. This program is open to students who complete ELI.

Budapest city building.

Discovering leadership abroad in Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic

What does it mean to become a leader? How do you best practice citizenship in the world? Students in Leadership Across Cultures found out when they traveled to Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic to grow their identities in rich cultural settings (with plenty of scenic vistas). The study abroad trip was offered by the Office of Student Engagement as part of the Excellence in Leadership program.

Connect With Us

Amanda Gelber

Director of Student Engagement

Phone: 410-386-4638


Roj Student Center

2 College Hill

Westminster, MD 21157