two students walking outside a building on campus

Leadership Institute


Director: Lauren Edelman, Ed.D.
Program Coordinator: Madeline Lambing, M.S.
Benton Hall, Room 408
(785) 670-2000


Establish an innovative platform for leadership education that is recognized as a pioneering model for leadership development.


To further develop students into ethical and intentional leaders who value diversity and are prepared to immediately exercise effective leadership in today’s changing society by cultivating the study of leadership and facilitating transformational learning experiences designed to challenge, motivate, and inspire.

Minor and Certificate Programs

The Leadership Studies Minor and Certificate are interdisciplinary programs open to students in all majors and degree programs. The Leadership Studies Minor and Certificate combine academic, co-curricular and community leadership experiences. The Leadership Studies Minor is designed to be completed concurrently while earning a baccalaureate degree. Students completing an associate degree or baccalaureate degree are able to earn a Leadership Studies Certificate. Leadership Studies Minor and Certificate requirements must be completed at the time of graduation. These programs provide graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective leaders in a variety of sectors and setting.

Student Learning Outcomes

Washburn graduates who complete the Leadership Studies Minor or Certificate will be able to:

  • Critique and analyze the concept of leadership.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the historical, psychological and social bases of leadership.
  • Accept and appreciate the ethics and responsibilities of leadership.
  • Recognize and demonstrate mastery of the skills and abilities necessary for effective leadership.
  • Convert leadership theory into action.
  • Observe and evaluate leadership in a variety of contexts.

Leadership Core Curriculum

The Leadership Studies Certificate requires 12 credit hours and the Leadership Studies Minor requires 18 credit hours of leadership curriculum. As cultivated at Washburn, leadership is broadly defined and inclusive in scope in order to expose students to many differing views of leadership. The Leadership Institute takes an integrative approach to the education, experience, and empowerment of personal leadership development. Three multidisciplinary leadership courses and one leadership internship experience constitute the core curriculum of the Leadership Studies Minor and Certificate. Each course has a primary focus and emphasis, but all courses work toward the following interrelated goals:

  • To foster the ability to think critically and analytically about leadership.
  • To advance the understanding of the historical underpinnings of leadership.
  • To advocate internalization of the ethical basis for leadership.
  • To promote the development of leadership skills.
  • To aid comprehension of the theoretical components of leadership.
  • To enhance a self-reflective, self-assessing awareness of one’s own leadership potential.
  • To cultivate the ability to convert leadership theory into action.

Core Curriculum

LE 100Exploring the Concept of Leadership 13
LE 200Ethical Responsibilities of Leadership3
LE 300Leadership Skills Development3
LE 400Leadership Internship3
Total Hours12

Additional Leadership Courses

LE 125  Foundations of Leadership in Society  (1-3)  

This course will expose students to a variety of concepts, theories and skills relevant to contemporary leadership thought. Students will be challenged to consider their personal conceptions and philosophy of leadership. Students will examine leadership within particular contexts such as creating change, ethical leadership, leadership and management, and historical leadership thought and leaders. Prerequisite: None.

LE 301  Leadership Skills Integration  (0-3)  

Students will integrate their learning from a leadership skills course from another department with the curriculum of the Leadership Institute. Outcomes include development of individual and interpersonal leadership skills, teamwork and collaboration skills, and an understanding that leadership is more than the exercise of power; techniques for embracing and leading change are practiced in a semester-long change project. Prerequisite: LE 200 or appropriate HN 201 section or consent; Corequisite: NU 450 or another departmental leadership skills course at a 300 level or higher.

LE 320  Leadership Campus Experience I  (0-1)  

Students will review a contemporary leadership theory as a framework with which to integrate their learning from a campus leadership position with an understanding that leadership is more than just a position. Students will begin to think critically about creating change in association with a campus leadership experience. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or junior standing.

LE 321  Leadership Campus Experience II  (0-1)  

Students will participate in a campus leadership position and reflect on the experience to develop a greater awareness of self and how they contribute to the process of leadership. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or junior standing and completion of LE 320.

LE 322  Leadership Campus Experience III  (0-1)  

Students will reflect on leading change through implementation of a change project. Within this course, students will reflect on their learning from their student involvement within the framework of leadership theories. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or junior standing and completion of LE 320 and LE 321.

LE 350  Leadership Practicum Experience  (3)  

Students pursuing the Leadership Studies Certificate will practice a "change agent" leadership role by implementing and evaluating a change process, and produce a detailed record of the experience suitable for archiving. Prerequisite: LE 300 or consent of instructor.

LE 375  Gender and Leadership  (3)  

An examination of an analytic framework for understanding the role that gender plays in defining and determining access to leadership and power. Contains an analysis of the myths, challenges, and opportunities that accompany the issue of gender through an exploration of gender and leadership both conceptually and practically. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or junior standing.

LE 398  Special Projects - Leadership  (0-3)  

Independent study or project in leadership. The same project may be repeated up to 3 credits. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

LE 399  Special Topics in Leadership  (0-3)  

Special topics in leadership. May be repeated for different topics. See course schedule for current offerings. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or junior standing.

LE 401  Leadership Internship Integration  (0-3)  

Students integrate their learning from an internship from another department with the curriculum of the Leadership Institute. Students must practice a "change agent" leadership role within this internship. Within this course, students will reflect on their learning from the internship within the framework of the Leadership Institute curriculum. Prerequisite:Consent of Instructor. Corequisite: NU 462 or another departmental leadership internship course.

Leadership Studies Minor

Requirements for the Minor

Students will complete at least 18 credit hours of coursework. In addition to 12 credit hours of required leadership core curriculum courses, students must complete at least 6 credit hours of elective courses from one of four thematic tracks. Some courses require completion of relevant departmental prerequisites.

LE 100/HN 202Exploring the Concept of Leadership3
LE 200/HN 201Ethical Responsibilities of Leadership3
LE 300Leadership Skills Development3
LE 400Leadership Internship3
Select 6 credits hours from one of the four thematic tracks6
Total Hours18

Elective Courses

Students must complete at least 6 credit hours from one of the four thematic tracks. At least 3 credit hours must be a level 300 course or higher. Elective courses which may count towards the minor include:

Leadership in Business, Communication, and the Media

BU 342Organization & Management 13
BU 343Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation 13
BU 345Human Resources Management 13
BU 346Organizational Behavior 13
BU 355International Business 13
CN 101Introduction to Communication Studies3
CN 150Public Speaking3
CN 302Communication Theory3
CN 308Organizational Communication 13
CN 330Communication in Conflict and Negotiation 13
CN 341Persuasive Speaking 13
CN 342Communication-Teams and Groups 13
CN 350Persuasion3
CN 351Interpersonal Communication 13
CN 363Intercultural Communication 13
CN 367Crisis Communication 13
CN 370Communication Training & Development 13
LE 125Foundations of Leadership in Society1-3
MM 360Minorities & The Media 13
MM 400Media Literacy 13
MM 411Entrepreneurial Media 13
MM 485International Media Systems 13
PH 313Professional Ethics 13

Leadership in a Cultural Context 

AN 112Cultural Anthropology3
AN 321Anthropology of Women 13
AN 324History and Theory of Anthropology3
BU 355International Business 13
BU 356Cross-Cultural Management3
CJ 303Diversity in American Culture3
CN 363Intercultural Communication 13
EN 110Multicultural American Literature3
EN 214Women & Literature3
HI 329Civil Rights Movement 13
HI 381History & Psychology of Sex & Gender3
HS 450Multicultural Issues3
LE 125Foundations of Leadership in Society1-3
LE 375Gender and Leadership3
MM 360Minorities & The Media 13
MM 485International Media Systems 13
PY 309Theories of Personality3
RG 102World Religions3
SO 100Introduction to Sociology3
SO 101Social Problems3
SO 207Race and Ethnic Relations 13
SO 310Social Class in the U.S. 13
SO 314Organizations 13
TA 381Technology and Ecology3
WG 375Women and Popular Culture3

Leadership and Social Change

AN 336Globalization 13
BI 202Biology of Behavior 13
BI 203Human Impact on the Environment3
CN 361Communication in Social Movements3
CN 364Gender Communication3
HS 300Prevention and Social Change3
HS 325Group Work (Group Counseling)3
HS 355Peacemaking3
LE 125Foundations of Leadership in Society1-3
LE 320Leadership Campus Experience I (3 credits total for elective)1
LE 321Leadership Campus Experience II (3 credits total for elective)1
LE 322Leadership Campus Experience III (3 credits total for elective)1
LE 375Gender and Leadership3
MM 400Media Literacy 13
PH 102Ethics: Introduction to Moral Problems3
PH 104Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking3
PH 211Introduction to Ethical Theory 13
PO 395Non-Profit Management3
PY 100Basic Concepts in Psychology 13
PY 310Social Psychology3
PY 325Community Psychology 13
SO 338Strategies for Social Change 13
SW 352Micro Social Work Practice 13

Leadership in a Historical/Political Context 

CN 309Political Communication 13
HI 102Modern World History3
HI 111History of the United States through the Civil War3
HI 112History of the United States since the Civil War3
HI 303Colonial America to 1763 13
HI 305Early National United States 13
HI 315Women in US History 13
HI 317Topeka & Urban American History 13
HI 380Women in World History 13
LE 125Foundations of Leadership in Society1-3
MS 110Fundamentals of Military Leadership3
MS 432Hitler, WWII, and Holocaust3
PH 103Introduction to Political Philosophy3
PH 312Social-Political Philosophy 13
PO 106The Government of the United States3
PO 107Kansas and the U.S., State and Local Government3
PO 235Governments of the World: Comparative Politics3
PO 245Introduction to Public Administration3
PO 305Public Policy3
PO 337Religions and Politics 13

Specialized Track Option

At the approval of the Leadership Institute Director, the elective track can be customized to an individual student’s interests. To elect this specialized track option, a student must present a justifiable rationale to take one class from each of two separate tracks in order to satisfy the six hours of elective credits required. This rationale should be based on the student’s individual career interests and academic plan. Furthermore, in unique circumstances based on a personalized opportunity, a student can include up to three independent study credit hours with their specialized track. Students electing this option would gain approval from their major department utilizing an independent study course number in that discipline.

Guidelines for the Minor

  • 18 total credit hours (9 credit hours must be upper-division coursework). One elective must be upper-division level, in addition to LE 300 and LE 400.
  • The Leadership Institute permits using “correlate” courses to satisfy the requirements of both a major and the Leadership Minor (e.g. a student with a Management major could include major course requirements from the College of Arts & Sciences, but cannot select Management courses from the list of Minor electives for the Leadership Minor). Further, Business electives for the Leadership Minor cannot also be used as Business electives within a Business major (this includes Economics and Accounting).
  • LE 100 is a General Education course in the social sciences. This course may also be taken for Honors credit by registering for the course as HN 202. Please note HN 202 cannot be taken as A/P/F.
  • LE 200 can also be taken for General Education and/or Honors credit by registering for the course as HN 201. HN 201 counts as general education credit in the humanities and fine arts. Please note HN 201 cannot be taken as A/P/F.

Leadership Partnerships

Given the interdisciplinary nature of Leadership Studies, the Leadership Institute recognizes the value in partnering with academic departments that focus on leadership development. These partnerships are approved in advance by both the School/Department and the Leadership Institute.

Current Partnerships

School of Nursing: Currently, the Leadership Institute partners with the School of Nursing. Nursing students can supplement NU 450 Leadership, Management, Health Policy (2 s.h.) and NU 462 Quality and Safety in Healthcare (3 s.h.) as substitutes for LE 300 Leadership Skills Development (3 s.h.) and LE 400 Leadership Internship (3 s.h.); however, students opting to complete their Leadership Minor or Certificate in this way must enroll in LE 301 Leadership Skills Integration (3 s.h.) Leadership Skills Integration Course concurrently with NU 450 Leadership, Management, Health Policy (2 s.h.) to substitute for LE 300 Leadership Skills Development (3 s.h.), and LE 401 Leadership Internship Integration (3 s.h.) Leadership Internship Integration Course concurrently with NU 462 Quality and Safety in Healthcare (3 s.h.) to substitute for LE 400 Leadership Internship (3 s.h.). The content in LE 301 Leadership Skills Integration (3 s.h.) and LE 401 Leadership Internship Integration (3 s.h.) will integrate coursework in the departmental leadership course with the content covered in the Leadership Institute specific courses, LE 300 Leadership Skills Development (3 s.h.) and LE 400 Leadership Internship (3 s.h.).

Transferability of applicable course credit will be prescribed for each institution in WU’s transfer guide, though ultimately is left at the discretion of each academic department. Transfer students will only be able to transfer a maximum of 6 credit hours toward completion of a Leadership Studies Minor.

Leadership Studies Certificate

The Leadership Studies Certificate is obtained by successfully completing 12 credit hours of leadership core curriculum.

Leadership Institute Contact Information

The Leadership Institute website is a source for more information about the Leadership Institute, its activities and programs. Alternatively, you can contact the Leadership Institute at or 785-670-2000.