GLDS: Graduate Leadership Development Series

NOTE: Due to cuts in funding, we can no longer offer this program to graduate students.

Preparing future leaders for a lifetime of professional and personal development.

Successful leaders in any organization share qualities that make them effective: they set professional and personal goals and create plans to achieve them. They understand their own interests, abilities, and limitations. And they confront problems with decisive action by thinking strategically through possible solutions. If you're interested in developing yourself as a leader, consider applying to the Graduate Leadership Development Series. GLDS takes place once a year in the spring semester, generally in a series of Friday afternoon sessions.

What are my strengths as a leader? How does stress change my behavior? How can I improve my ability to solve problems quickly and effectively? Where do I envision myself in ten years? In twenty? What steps will I take to achieve my short- and long-term goals? Apply to the Graduate Leadership Development Series

The GLDS Program, Spring 2013

The Graduate Leadership Development Series (GLDS) will develop participants' communication, self-awareness, professional adaptability, interdisciplinary teamwork, and leadership skills, preparing graduate students to become effective employees after graduation—employees who hit the ground running and demonstrate their readiness for increasing responsibility and promotion. GLDS can form one of the first steps in a lifelong commitment to professional and personal development.

Built around the touchstones of critical thinking and upholding values as a leader, the series offers participants the opportunity to complete Human Patterns and Emotional Intelligence assessments to build their self-awareness. Human Patterns measures 65 qualities, including approaches to leadership style, problem solving, conflict resolution, and group behavior. The Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) assesses qualities such as interpersonal and intrapersonal behavior, stress management, and motivation. Together, these assessments focus on identifying patterns and abilities in participants that can form the basis for long-term development that takes place for years after the end of the series.

The program will also introduce participants to the foundations of critical thinking, a set of tools that provide a structured method for thinking through complex problems and choosing the best solutions. Through team projects and presentations as well as opportunities for reflection and peer feedback, participants will strengthen their skills in communication and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Benefits of Participation

Participants who complete the program receive:

  • A certificate of completion
    Guidance in developing a personal mission statement and development plan
    Reports from two in-depth assessments of their strengths, abilities, preferences, and opportunities for growth
    Individual personal development coaching
    The opportunity to network with current and future leaders
    The foundation for a lifelong commitment to professional and personal development

Comments from GLDS alumni on the program:

  • "In this program you will learn more about who you are and who you want to become."
  • "As a result of this program, I feel that I have a direction and know how to get there."
  • "Life changing."
  • "GLDS will help you to create self awareness and identify areas of growth for satisfying a leadership role."
  • "Before GLDS, leadership was a fuzzy, stereotyped concept to me. I came to realize that leadership and collaboration are complicated but understandable phenomena. GLDS gave me the tools to critically think about what actions I and the people around me are taking to affect team success and progress in a variety of situations. I was also inspired to take on greater challenges, get involved in the community, and engage with people."
  • "GLDS was a great program tuned to better understanding your self and how you interact in given situations, ultimately equipping you with the skills necessary to handle all situations."
  • "All graduate students who are committed to their personal and professional development should apply to participate in the GLDS program. To call it a leadership program is an understatement. You learn a lot about yourself throughout the process, and this ultimately helps you develop leadership qualities. I wish every grad student had the opportunity to participate in this program. It's almost difficult to express with words the value of this experience.

See our list of program alumni. You can also view a report on the spring 2010 pilot program here.

2013 Application Information

The application period for the 2013 program is now closed. No further applications can be accepted.

For information regarding the status of the Graduate Leadership Development Series for 2014 and beyond, please contact Dr. Rebeca Rufty, Acting Dean of the Graduate School, at


Up to 20 graduate students will be selected to participate in the 2013 program. Applicants must agree to attend all workshop sessions (1/25, 2/1, 2/15, 2/22, 3/15, and 3/22) in order to be considered for the program. Please note that the program requires homework between sessions--on average, 5 hours per week.

In order to be selected, applicants must be current graduate students in good academic standing. Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate the following in their essays:

  • A commitment to professional development connected with their career goals (including, but not limited to, participation in Preparing Future Leaders events or programs)
  • A clear connection between the applicants' career goals and the benefits of participating in GLDS
  • A vision of themselves as leaders, demonstrated in the essays

If all other qualifications are equal, preference may be given to applicants who will graduate by December 2013.

GLDS Application Instructions 2013 (PDF) [This application requires Adobe Reader; download Adobe Reader here.]

Applications are due 30 November 2012 by 5 p.m. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status via email by 14 December 2012.

2013 Series Sessions and Details

Sessions will likely take place on Centennial Campus.

Pre-program preparation:

  • Complete pre-program questionnaire by January 24
    Interview 5 stakeholders in NC State graduate education & bring results to first session

Session I: An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Leadership
Friday, January 25, 1-5 p.m.

  • This session will introduce the critical thinking model at the heart of the series, as well as providing an overview of leadership paradigms. We will also begin working on the team projects that will carry through the program.

Session II: Personal Mission Statements and Communicating Values
Friday, February 1, 1-5 p.m.

  • This session will prepare participants to begin writing their personal mission statements and will establish the 27/9/3 model for communicating critical messages as a leader.

Session III: Setting the Tone for Leadership
Friday, February 15, 1-5 p.m.

  • How do you set an appropriate tone as a leader? This session will address multiple models of leadership, including situational leadership, levels of work, and more.

Session IV: Emotional Intelligence and Team Communication
Friday, February 22, 1-5 p.m.

  • This session will introduce participants to the concept of emotional intelligence and its uses in their intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. We'll conclude with presentation skills training to prepare for team presentations.

Session V: Personal Development Coaching
Friday, March 15, 1-5 p.m.

  • In this session, participants will receive the results of their Human Patterns assessments and create plans for their future development with the help of personal development coaches.

Session VI: Team Presentations and Graduation
Friday, March 22, 1-5 p.m.

  • Teams will deliver 15-minute presentations of their projects during this session. We will wrap up the program with a graduation "ceremony."

PFL Celebration of Graduate Student Success
Wednesday, April 17, afternoon TBA, Talley Ballroom

  • This recognition ceremony includes a poster presentation opportunity for GLDS teams to share their projects with the broader NCSU community of students, faculty, and staff, as well as leaders from the university and surrounding community.