Become an Emerging Leader


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2009) - "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." These words by sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams are the heart of the University of Kentucky's Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI), an exciting program that helps students develop their leadership potential through a series of programs and real-life experiences.

This highly competitive program, in which 20 to 25 emerging freshmen and sophomores are selected to participate each fall and spring semester, provides a unique opportunity for students to analyze and develop their leadership skills while also enhancing their abilities to network and foster relationships with other students, faculty, staff and community leaders.

You may have heard of born leaders. Well, ELI is where many of UK's student leaders are born by tackling a variety of issues in classes such as styles of leadership; effective communication skills; personal goal setting; ethical decision making and valuing global perspectives.

"I've never seen so much potential in one room. These students and instructors will definitely leave an impact on my collegiate and professional career," said Greg Robinson, a junior broadcast journalism major from London, Ky., and former ELI student. "It means a lot that I can take a class that focuses on my development as a person and a leader."

Students grasp a strong understanding of civic engagement as they work in groups to create meaningful leadership projects that bring about positive change to the campus and community. This group work helps teach students the value of working collaboratively to bring about this change, and also encourages students to work toward a common purpose and handle controversy with civility.

"ELI is a direct investment that the university has made in me and my classmates," said Robinson. "We are given the opportunity to meet with notable leaders on campus and in the community, while focusing on issues and styles of leadership."

In an effort to further potential growth and success, each student is placed into a mentor group, meeting weekly with a UK faculty or staff member. Additionally, students meet with a fellow graduate of ELI to receive support, resources and encouragement in developing their leadership projects.

Students accepted for the institute have always earned three credit hours of elective college credit for their involvement in the program and completion of their leadership projects. This past spring, the program was proud to begin to offer the class for a grade. The course is offered in both the fall and spring semesters.

Applications are currently being accepted for the spring 2010 ELI class. Applications are available here and are due by noon Monday, Oct. 19, to the Center for Student Involvement, Room 106 Student Center. For more information about ELI, contact Lauren Goodpaster, leadership and service program director, at or (859) 257-7243.