Doctoral Student Leadership Institute

Doctoral Student Leadership Institute


Welcome to the Doctoral Student Leadership Institute!

I would like to personally welcome you to the Doctoral Student Leadership Institute website! I am very excited about this initiative as I believe the overarching mission of the Graduate School is to prepare graduate students to become global leaders. This one-of-a-kind Institute will prepare you for leadership positions across settings- including those in and out of academia. We have created an outstanding range of opportunities and activities that I know will be very beneficial.

I look forwarding to welcoming you as a Doctoral Student Leadership Fellow!

Best regards,
Karen Liller, Ph.D.
Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation

About the Leadership Institute

The University of South Florida Graduate School is proud to offer the Doctoral Student Leadership Institute. This two-year institute includes:

  • completion of a one-semester leadership course
  • at least two semesters of shadowing effective leaders
  • development and implementation of a leadership plan
  • participation in a leadership journal club
  • participation in leadership conferences/retreats and forums
  • workshop participation
  • serving as a mentor to the new class of Leadership Institute Fellows (Year Two only)

The Dean and Associate Dean of the Graduate School will lead the Institute and meet with the Fellows to determine progress. The 2012-2013 Leadership Institute begins August 27, 2012. Leadership Institute participation will be expected during all academic sessions, including summer. Participation in the Institute will take at least 6-10 hours per week, depending on the activities.

Please Click Here to Download The Doctoral Leadership Institute Brochure (PDF).

How to Apply

Doctoral students must apply to be part of the Institute and provide a letter of recommendation from his or her major professor. The application must include a 250 word (maximum) essay pertaining to why the potential fellow should be part of the Institute. Describe your previous university/college and/or other leadership experience; Outline your leadership goals and how being a Leadership Fellow will aid you in achieving them; and how you plan to put your leadership skills to practice in your professional career. Preference will be given to those students who have not yet reached candidacy. We anticipate a class of 10-15 Fellows. Applications will be reviewed by the Graduate School Leadership.

The next application period for the Doctoral Student Leadership Institute will be announced in the early weeks of the Fall 2012 semester. Please check the Leadership Institute website regularly for updated information regarding application information.


A stipend of $2500 will be provided to each Fellow for the fall and spring semesters and $1000 in the summer. These funds may be used for expenses related to Institute activities. Unused funds may be retained by the Fellow. We anticipate partnering with Rutgers University’s Doctoral Leadership Program and joining them in Washington DC each May for their Leadership Forum.

Your Two Years as a Leadership Fellow

Year One

During the first year of the Leadership Institute, students will take the new Building Leadership Skills Across Settings course offered by the Graduate School during the Spring, 2012 semester. At the end of the leadership course, each Fellow will present a Leadership Action Plan that will guide his or her leadership development during both years of the Institute and beyond. Fellows will also attend at least one leadership conference or event and help lead the once-a-week Leadership Journal Club. Additionally, the Fellows will be required to participate in two Leadership Workshops per semester.

During the leadership course, Fellows will be responsible for shadowing a university or other leader for at least 1-3 hours per week for three weeks. During the next semester (Summer, 2012), shadowing must continue as does workshop participation. We recommend that the student shadow at least two different leaders during their course of time in the Institute.

Year Two

In Year Two, beginning in Fall, 2012, shadowing should occur at least 1-3 hours per week. The exact number of hours will be determined by the leader and student. Also during Year Two, meetings with the Graduate School Leadership team will include discussion and review of the Fellow's leadership development plan. Students will also continue with leadership events and the Journal Club.

During their second year of the Institute, students will also serve as mentors to the new Fellows and guide them through the activities and programs. Continuing Fellows will also work together as a team to develop and implement a Leadership Forum on the Tampa Campus with invited guests from USF and other settings. In this forum, the Fellows will discuss new research in leadership (largely gleaned from the Journal Club) and what was accomplished during the Institute that has prepared them to be better leaders upon graduation. Leadership Action Plans and Final Portfolios will also be shared at this time. This forum should take place in May at the end of Year Two. The Graduate School will assist the students in this event, however the overall responsibility is that of the Fellows.

At the conclusion of the second year of the Institute, students who have successfully completed all requirements will receive a Leadership Certificate and be recognized at a formal ceremony for their success.

Browse the contents of Doctoral Student Leadership Institute:

Leadership Workshops
Leadership Conferences and Events