USD Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute promotes the development of effective and ethical leadership from a variety of professions.

Established in 2001, the Leadership Institute advances the study and practice of leadership through educational programs, experiential workshops, research opportunities and a learning community dedicated to the preparation and support of virtuous leaders.


The mission of the Leadership Institute  (LI) is to improve the study and practice of leadership and further understanding of the dynamic nature of leadership by connecting innovative research with real-world application. With a strong commitment to leadership that promotes social justice, the LI strives to develop conscious leaders who are prepared to meet the complex challenges they face in their communities and social circles, as well as in the global context of today's organizations.

Our Structure

The Leadership Institute consists of three centers. Each has a unique approach to the practice and understanding of leadership. The centers collaborate closely with each other around projects and initiatives.
  • The Center for Integral Leadership (CIL) enhances understanding of the dynamics of leadership and authority in groups.
  • The Center for Women's Leadership (CWL) develops leadership capacity of women and helps organizations better understand gender dynamics.
  • The Center for Leadership Development (CLD) offers training, coaching and consulting to increase the capacity of people to lead in complex operating environments.

Principles of Practice

Our leadership development programs are based on the assumption that leadership can be learned, and therefore taught. The work of the Leadership Institute is rooted in bringing the development of the whole person to the teaching and practice of leadership.

Our leadership development strategy rests on three principles:

  • People learn best by experience.
  • To make experiential evidence useful requires giving people the conceptual tools to organize the evidence. It also requires fostering their capacity to develop such tools.
  • The form of teaching should communicate the same message as the material. We seek to practice what we teach.

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