Contact: Jane Reel

A student interested in becoming a leader needs to bridge the gap between school and the workplace. The Professional Leadership Program (PLP) was designed to help make that leap.

Since the professional world has become more technical, industry needs new leaders who can create solutions to the world's pressing problems. The PLP will help students succeed in this dynamic environment by pushing their imagination beyond the limits of the traditional classroom.

The Professional Leadership Program fosters an awarenesss of the critical intersection between technology and people; how the use of one affects the performance of the others.

The PLP will help strengthen the student's leadership skills and, at the same time, teach them to leverage those skills as a potential leader in the business world The skills developed as a participant in the PLP combined with the strong technical base they are building will help the student more effectively transition into the new workplace.

The Retreat

Students take part in an off-campus retreat at the beginning of the junior year as a member of the new PLP class. This one day excursion stresses teamwork and cooperation, encouraging the individual students to become part of a cohesive unit. Activities include team building exercises which encourage thinking in new, creative ways and to cultivate out of the ordinary approaches to problem solving. The relationships formed during this day will be strengthened and built upon throughout the coming ye ar.

Most importantly, the retreat encourages evaluation of goals and values. Self assessment is a vital component to participation in the PLP. By the end of the year, participants will come to a deeper understanding of who they are, how they have arrived at this significant juncture in their lives, and where they might go from here.

The Seminar

Throughout junior year, selected students attend a weekly seminar. The seminar covers a wide variety of topics.

Personal Style Assessments will increase self awareness and help define a work environment conducive to success, and encourage understanding differing workstyles, minimizing potential conflicts with others.

Guest speakers - business executives as well as Rensselaer faculty and staff - help students grapple with such issues as diversity in the workplace, ethical decision making, management techniques, entrepreneurship, the global marketplace and success on the job.

Dynamic sessions during the seminars challenge students to solve problems they might face as a leader in the workplace. (For example, one exercise might ask them to deal with an unmotivated employee). Students will improve communication skills by practicing feedback techniques, conflict resolution, and developing and giving oral presentations.

The seminars require active participation in these interactive exercises and group discussions. Class meets Monday nights from 7-9pm following the academic calendar. Students are asked to make a year long commitment to attend every class.

Leadership In The Workplace

Through guest speakers and outside the classroom experiences, students will explore the impact of changes in the global market and how to adapt to it. They will learn what they can expect as a leader and follower in the workplace. Corporate cultures and values will be examined.

Students will learn how to determine if a company is right for them. A focus on self awareness will assist students in how to find employment with a company that best suits their skills and needs. Through the PLP, students will also learn how to present themselves in an interview setting. By practicing group and individual presentation skills, students will polish and improve upon the tools necessary to get hired and succeed in the workplace today.

To Apply

The Professional Leadership Program is open to selected junior Rensselaer undergraduates in all majors. Sophomores are invited to apply for participation in the program during their junior year. Out of the approximately 150 students who apply each year, only 35-40 are accepted.

To begin the application process, students must submit a resume to the Director of the PLP. The deadline for application generally falls early in the spring semester of the sophomore year.

Each student applicant will be invited to a comprehensive interview. We are interested in assessing each student's past leadership experience as well as leadership potential, ability to manage time, and motivation for participating in the Professional Leadership Program. We look for established patterns of leadership behavior, previous industry and co-curricular experience, and high academic achievement.