The Institute for Leadership and Action cultivates empowered student leaders and collaborates with them in the pursuit of their academic success, professional development, and whole-person thriving through skill-building, high-impact experiential learning opportunities, and a targeted network of supportive relationships.

The Institute for Leadership & Action at Rutgers University–Camden creates opportunities for students to embrace, engage, and enhance their ability to act as leaders and agents of change in their personal, professional, and civic lives. This collaborative, interdisciplinary initiative affirms the model of relational leadership described by Komives, Lucas, and McMahon (2013)in their book Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference, which defines leadership as: “a relational and ethical process of people together attempting to accomplish positive change” (p.14).

To that end, the Institute for Leadership & Action offers a variety of hands-on experiences for all students on the Rutgers-Camden campus to identify and strengthen their unique potential for leadership. Additionally, students who are active participants in these activities are eligible to apply for membership in the Rutgers-Camden Leadership Fellows program after the completion of their first full year of studies at Rutgers-Camden to further develop their capacity to serve as leaders wherever their life’s journey may take them.


Leadership Development Workshop Series
Open to all Rutgers-Camden students, the Institute for Leadership & Action’s Leadership Development workshops provide students with evidence-based best tools to serve as the foundation for their practice of leadership. Each workshop provides a combination of engaging instruction, experiential learning, and follow-up activities which allow students to internalize and apply these skills in both their personal lives and the various communities in which they live. While all students will find value in these workshop series, they are of particular value to first-year and transfer students, as well as students currently serving in on-or off-campus leadership roles.

“Developing Your Inner Leader”
Before a person can be an effective leader within a community, they must first learn to take leadership of their own life journey. This series of workshops, offered in the fall semester, helps individuals to identify and grow skills and competencies that will enable them to become lifelong learners, manage their personal lives, and articulate a clear vision of their leadership goals.

“Leadership Essentials”
Leadership is an inherently social activity –to be an effective leader, it is critical for an individual to be able to meaningfully engage others for the sake of accomplishing shared goals. Each spring semester, this workshop series prepares students to serve as leaders within the context of their positional, local, and global communities. Building on students’ unique perspectives and lived experiences, each workshop is designed to develop an essential skill or competency that will contribute both an individual’s practice of leadership and to their whole-person thriving.

Leadership in Action Events
In order to lead, a person must act. Our Leadership in Action experiences are carefully curated to provide all students an opportunity to apply and grow their leadership skills through experiential learning opportunities in partnership with local communities, leveraging the competencies gained through our workshop series to accomplish positive change in the world around them. Participation in Leadership in Action events exposes students to the many contexts in which leadership can be practiced while helping each student to refine their own leadership style.
ILA Student Leaders Cohort
The Institute for Leadership and Action Student Leaders Cohort is an intimate, practice-based community of some of the most active and engaged student leaders on our campus. Coming from a diversity of social and academic backgrounds, Cohort members are given access to high-impact leadership experiences, a network of supportive relationships, and other opportunities that will position them for success on our campus and beyond. Students are eligible to apply to join the Student Leaders Cohort program after the completion of one full academic year of study on the Rutgers-Camden campus. The application process is competitive based on previous participation in Leadership Development workshops and Leadership in Action events, recommendations from members of Rutgers-Camden staff or faculty, and articulation of both one’s current leadership activities and how they hope to grow as leaders through their participation in the program.

         Students who are accepted into the ILA Student Leaders Cohort will receive:
      • Personalized mentoring from students, faculty, staff, and Institute for Leadership & Action alumni;
      • Connection to exclusive, high-impact experiential learning, undergraduate research, and scholarship/fellowship opportunities relevant to their professional and vocational goals, many of which provide compensation for student participants;
      • Access to an intentional community of practice committed to investing in their whole-person thriving;
      • An e-portfolio that articulates the leadership experiences in which they participated at Rutgers-Camden.

        In return, students in the Student Leaders Cohort are expected to:
        • Meet at least once per semester with staff from the Institute for Leadership & Action;
        • Regularly participate in meetings and other activities offered by the Institute for Leadership & Action;
        • Take part in the facilitation and ongoing improvement of Leadership Development workshops and Leadership in Action events;
        • Actively serve as a leader in at least one on-or off-campus community outside of the Institute for Leadership and action (this does not require a formal position or title);
        • Serve as a mentor to other, junior members of the Leadership Fellows; and
        • Develop and implement a “Leadership Capstone” project that demonstrates their growing leadership abilities.


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