Penn State Emerging Leaders

About the Program

The application process is now open and willclose on October 27, 2017 for the 2018 Penn State Emerging Leaders program. The chosen cohort will be contacted in mid-December.

Penn State Emerging Leaders is a comprehensive and innovative leadership development program designed for high-performing faculty and staff. This program increases participants’ effectiveness as leaders in their current roles, strengthens their ability to contribute to organizational priorities, and prepares them for tomorrow’s leadership challenges.

Penn State Emerging Leaders features:

  • The creation of an individualized leadership learning plan and a personal leadership philosophy statement
  • Self-directed informal workplace learning activities tailored to their unique learning needs and style, using a variety of blended learning technologies
  • Skill practice and emphasis on the integration and application of leadership knowledge
  • An emphasis on the supervisor’s role in the participant’s professional development
  • Participants in the Penn State Emerging Leaders program are eligible to earn three academic credits (Workforce Education 410) after successful completion of the program, and by adding a few additional requirements. Details about how to apply for these credits will be shared in the participant manual.

Important: Please be aware that the Penn State Emerging Leaders Program is a Leadership Development program and does not cover supervisory or management skills, knowledge or abilities. Participation in this program is intended for your personal development and does not guarantee promotion to a leadership role or position of authority.

Please note that there is no fee for Penn State employees to attend this program.


2018 Program Schedule
Topic Date Time
Kick-off Event January 25 2:30 - 4:30
Introductory Session February 8 12:30 - 4:30
Citizen to Leader: Building a Leadership Base April 12 12:30 - 4:30
Ethical Leadership April 26 12:30 - 4:30

Developing Intercultural Awareness & Competency 

Emotional Intelligence

May 10 12:30 - 4:30
Presentation Skills (part 1), Leadership Presence & Networking May 24 12:30 - 4:30
Creating a Leadership Vision June 7 12:30 - 4:30
Leading Change September 6 12:30 - 4:30
Presentation Skills (part 2) September 20 12:30 - 4:30
Persuasion and Negotiation Skills October 4 12:30 - 4:30
Engaging Others; Motivation, Inspiration, and Teamwork October 18 12:30 - 4:30
Final Group Session November 1 12:30 - 4:30
Capstone Event November 29 2:30 - 5:00


The Penn State Emerging Leaders certificate program requires a minimum of 100 hours of effort, with only 44 of those hours in the classroom. Interested applicants must have been working for the University for a least one year. The following participant expectations have been established for the program:

  • Attend all seminars and actively participate in discussions and activities
  • Participate in a self-reflection activities that include: a multi-rater feedback process, the Kolb Learning Style Inventory, the Thomas-Killman Conflict Mode Instrument, a Reflected Best Self and Emotional Intelligence
  • Complete self-directed informal workplace learning assignments
  • Complete any assignments on or before the due date according to program specifications
  • Mentor others in areas that are your strengths
  • Apply new skill and expertise, and share any progress with other participants
  • Maintain a program-related blog 
  • Formalize a Leadership Philosophy Statement
  • Meet monthly with your supervisor and your assigned learning group

Participant Characteristics

Through the application and selection process, the selection committee seeks to identify individuals that demonstrate the following leadership qualities:

  • Consistently demonstrates a high level of performance
  • Is committed to personal and professional development
  • Serves as a leader in their current sphere of influence
  • Displays positive work habits, attitudes and professional skills even in challenging situations
  • Makes significant contributions to organizational priorities
  • Demonstrates high potential to effectively lead others, manage work and meet future challenges

Important: Review the scoring rubric associated with the Personal Application Statement explained below to ensure your statement addresses key points.

Role of the Supervisor

Supervisors of Penn State Emerging Leaders participants play an important role before, during, and after the program and are crucial to their employee’s successful professional development.

Before the program, supervisor input is required in the application process of Penn State Emerging Leaders. Supervisors should:

  • Understand the Criteria for Selecting Candidates
  • Complete the Supervisor Input form. This form will be sent to the person that you name as your supervisor in your application.
  • Support the participant in completing a minimum of 100 hours of effort, 44 of which are in the classroom

During the program, supervisors serve as mentors and provide time, support, and resources as needed. Supervisors are expected to:

  • Review the Supervisor Input Form with the participant and discuss development goals
  • Review the participant’s leadership learning plan, leadership philosophy statements, and learning journal
  • Read and comment on the participants blog page
  • Meet monthly to review program progress and discuss ways to transfer learning back to the workplace
  • Attend the Capstone Event at the end of the program

After the program, a supervisor's intentional efforts to identify opportunities for the participant to apply learned skills and continue working toward their development goals ensures the program experience extends to the workplace; benefiting the participant, the unit and the University.

Applicants who are not accepted may request feedback from the program selection committee. In this case, the Supervisor Input Form data will be shared with the applicant.

Application & Selection

The Penn State Emerging Leaders program will begin its next session in January 2018.  Applications will be accepted September 18, 2017 - October 27, 2017. This is a year-long program, scheduled to conclude in November 2018.

Application Process

The application process involves 3 steps:

  1. The Participant Application Form 
  2. The Personal Application Statement
  3. The Supervisor Input Form

Important: Do not begin completing the application form until you have prepared your Personal Application Statement offline – it must be uploaded as part of the Participant Application Form.

Step 1: Personal Application Submission

Each applicant must provide a statement that explains their interest in the Penn State Emerging Leaders program. The statement should not exceed 750 words. Be sure to:

  • Share why you are applying to the program and what makes you a great candidate.
  • Highlight your personal skills and qualities you would bring to the program.
  • Explain why leadership development is important and share what you’d like to achieve as part of the program.
  • Address how you will accommodate the time commitment and meet the program requirements.
  • Review the scoring rubric to ensure you’ve met all criteria for the statement. 

Important: Please finalize your essay offline before moving on to Step 2.

Step 2: Participant Application Form

This form is connected to a database and must be completed in a single sitting to ensure an accurate application is received. The form consists of three parts:Demographic Information, Work Experience Questions and the upload of your Personal Application Statement (Step 1). When you are ready to apply, complete the Participant Application Form. - 

Important: Do not begin completing the form until you have completed Step 1 and prepared your Personal Application Statement offline – it must be uploaded as part of the Participant Application Form. -PSEL 2018 Program Application

Step 3: Supervisor Input Form

Once the Participant Application Form is submitted, an email will be sent to the supervisor that you name requesting they complete the Supervisor Input Form. This document is separate from the Participant Application Form. The participant’s supervisor must provide feedback related to performance in the following areas: emotional intelligence, communication, leadership, work habits, organization impact, personal development and workplace engagement.- PSEL 2018- Supervisor Input Form


  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to discuss this requirement with the supervisor at the time of application. The applicant should inform the supervisor they will be contacted by email by a PSEL program representative regarding completion of the form.
  • The applicant will be copied on the email to the supervisor.
  • The application will not be considered complete until this form is submitted.
  • Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the selection committee.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to follow up with the supervisor to ensure the form is submitted on time.
  • The Supervisor Input Form is connected to a database and must be completed in a single sitting to ensure no duplicate records are created.

Selection Process

When determining a candidate’s eligibility for Penn State Emerging Leaders, the selection committee considers input from both the participant and the supervisor looking for the applicants that best meet the characteristics outlined in the “Requirements” section.  Additionally, the committee strives to identify a diverse and heterogeneous mix of participants on the basis of demographics, roles, years of experience and areas of the University.

The timeline for the selection process is:

  1. Forward completed applications (participant application form and supervisor input form) to the committee by November 3, 2017.
  2. Committee members complete independent applicant reviews by November 17, 2017.
  3. Committee meets to select participant the week of November 27, 2017.
  4. Applicants are notified of final decision by December 15, 2017.

Contact Information

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact