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Certificate in Engaged Leadership

The Certificate in Engaged Leadership acknowledges a student’s commitment to leadership with a public purpose, with financial resources, mentorship, and micro-certificates.

Why pursue the certificate? Regardless of career trajectory, students will:

  • Apply their talent to addressing public problems in a humble and empathetic manner
  • Build professional, academic, and civic skills
  • Strengthen capacity to reflect, deliberate, and dialogue with oneself and others through a personalized journey
  • Identify public purpose in new contexts
  • Chart a course to continual learning by developing a model of change and post-graduate engagement plan

The certificate offers a 4-stage critical reflection framework that complements current student studies and activities in leadership education and community engagement. Undergraduate students who demonstrate dedication to mentorship and public dialogue are connected with their own mentorship family, to reflect on guiding questions — crucial to life-long leadership development.

The certificate is open to any undergraduate student from any Cornell school and college. It supports students in bringing about the world they wish to see, within the many communities they will inhabit throughout their lives. The certificate framework seeks to complement and enhance current academic projects and non-academic programs in four main areas:

  1. A guiding questions critical reflection and assessment framework;
  2. Articulation of committed community engagement that addresses community partners as co-educators;
  3. Leadership education based on skill and knowledge-based competencies; and
  4. A capstone integrative dialogue that brings together student wisdom and imagination from across campus.

Levels of community engagement: interested (stage 1), involved (stage 2), or committed (stage 3) gives shape to each students’ pursuit of the 4-stage certificate. Entrance to stage 3 is a formal gateway i.e. basecamp application that requires students to articulate how they will take informed action on a public issue impacting off-campus communities for a significant time.

Students who summit by participating in a 7-week dialogue with 25 student leaders from across campus will be invited to join the student steering committee, which will manage the day-to-day operations of the Certificate in Engaged Leadership.

At each stage, one main guiding question – that is transferable to new contexts – integrates a student’s curricular and co-curricular leadership journey, while leaving leadership skill-building in the hands of faculty, staff, and advanced student leaders. Relying on the commitment and expertise of stakeholder groups, we encourage students to enroll in current courses and staff-led co-curricular leadership and community engagement programming.

Mentors and peers will guide students to reflect on these questions before and after they have posted written reflections to their electronic portfolio. We aim to engage co-educators — faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni, community partners, and students who have received the certificate — in the mentorship family aspect of leadership development in stages 3 and 4.

Opportunities to Engage

Certificate in Engaged Leadership Information Session

Pursue Your Personalized Journey: Leadership with a Public Purpose

The Certificate in Engaged Leadership allows students to apply their leadership and engagement activities toward building healthy communities; while sharpening their professional skills and preparing for a lifetime of service. Dinner is provided during our Information Sessions.

Contact us to arrange an information session with your project team, class, student organization, sorority, or fraternity. Learn more by attending a trailhead event (information below).

Certificate in Engaged Leadership Trailhead Events (Entry to Stage 1)

Your Gateway to Leadership with a Public Purpose

Register to ensure a seat, or attend without registering.

Are you already eager to pursue the certificate and find leadership and engagement opportunities that align with your passion for service? You will leave your trailhead event prepared to advance through Stage 1. Dinner provided.

Stay tuned for upcoming events in fall 2017!

Certificate in Engaged Leadership Entry to Stage 3

Prepare for your committed community-based leadership journey

Are you planning to work, intern, or volunteer regularly, addressing social issues impacting off-campus communities, now or in summer 2017? Are you interested in tapping into financial resources to make your sustained community engagement possible? This required application and event into Stage 3 will support you.

The application can be found here and is checked on the 1st and 15th of the month during the fall and spring semesters.

Stay tuned for upcoming events in fall 2017!

Certificate in Engaged Leadership Application to Summit Group Dialogue (Stage 4)

Earn the full certificate and guide rising generations. This kick-off event and 7-week dialogue with 25 student leaders from across Cornell prepares you for life after college.

Stipends are available for this 32-hour commitment. If accepted into a summit dialogue, you are eligible to apply for funding to attend a leadership or engagement conference.

Engaged Leadership is offering four cohorts in fall 2017 that meet on Fridays from noon until 2:00 p.m. (September 1 – October 13 // October 20 – December 8) and spring 2018 (January 26 – March 9 //March 16 – May 4). The application deadline for the upcoming 2017-18 summit group dialogue cohorts is now closed.

Interested in the certificate? Want to learn more?

Drop in during Student Steering Committee office hours in the Engaged Cornell Hub, 3rd floor, Kennedy Hall. Engaged Ambassadors will recommence holding office hours in early September 2017. Until then email us at

Mike Bishop
Director, Student Leadership
Engaged Cornell Hub
3rd Floor, Kennedy Hall
(607) 255-0169

See Also Community-Engaged Learning Course Guide

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