Leadership Development program

mUndergrad minor

Get leadership training for any career path

Learn. Be. Do. That is the method behind UW-La Crosse’s Leadership Development Minor. Based on this U.S. military academy model, students in the minor not only gain knowledge of core leadership theories, they also explore who they are and how that connects to different approaches to leadership.

The program is an asset to add to any major and aims to increase students’ confidence and self-perception as a leader. The ultimate goal is to help students become more authentic leaders.

Leadership vs. management

Management is not the same as leadership. Good managers create a harmonious, consistent experience for their followers. Managers keep the organization moving forward by working to maintain the status quo and create as few interruptions as possible.

Leaders, on the other hand, are looking ahead to see what the future may hold and how the company can adapt to meet challenges five or more years into the future. Their goal is to lead through sometimes turbulent circumstances and prepare their organization to succeed long-term.

How can a leadership development minor advance my career?

Students who participate in the program often use experiences they've had to pursue leadership positions on campus whether in athletics, theater, student organizations or their major program of study. At times, the minor has also helped graduates find a faster track into leadership opportunities in their career post-graduation. This is because graduates can draw from leadership experiences both in and outside of classroom that the minor facilitated.

The minor is housed within the Communication Studies Department, but it was created with help from multiple departments across the university. Its interdisciplinary nature makes it an asset to students in any major who are looking to advance within their careers.

What distinguishes UWL's Leadership Development Minor?

Practice leading in a low-stakes environment

Learning and practicing leadership in a classroom environment provides opportunities to explore and test different strategies to find what works best in a variety of challenging situations. Most students gain four or five leadership experiences throughout the minor, including on and off-campus experiences. Testing leadership practices is significantly harder once students have launched a career and may not feel secure making decisions with the potential real-world ramifications.

Explore your leadership style and apply knowledge

Students will take several personal assessments, reflect on their results, and identify how they may develop as a unique, authentic leader. Students then explore theories of leadership to begin to understand all of the ways they may be challenged as a leader.

Have a leadership emersion experience

All students in the minor are required to have a leadership emersion experience where they hold a position of leadership or initiate a new program or approach as part of their capstone course. Assignments challenge students to consider their experience as it relates to content covered in the course.

Participate in a one-of-a-kind program

UWL is the only university in the UW System with an academic minor dedicated to leadership studies.

Connect with community

About half of students in the program explore off-campus leadership opportunities as part of their curriculum. These experiences allow networking opportunities with local businesses and organizations, which at times result in job offers post-graduation.

Get teamwork experience

Students will engage in a lot of group work within the minor, helping them understand how the strengths of different people can work together and what makes the most effective team.

Opens opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds

The minor embraces social justice and diversity by providing an opportunity for first-generation students to gain insights and engage in leadership opportunities they weren't aware of when entering college.

Sample courses