Poets L.E.A.D. (Leadership Education and Development Program)

“Leadership is not a gene and it’s not an inheritance. Leadership is an identifiable set of skills and abilities that are available to all of us.

"The ‘great person’ – woman or man – theory of leadership is just plain wrong. Or, we should say, the theory that there are only a few great men and women who can lead others to greatness is just plain wrong.” (Kouzes and Posner, 2007, p. 22)

Channel Your Inner Leader

Coordinated by the Offices of Leadership Experience and Programs (LEAP) and Residential Life, Whittier College’s Leadership Education and Development Certification Program (Poets L.E.A.D) is based on the College’s Liberal Arts “4 Cs” curriculum:

• Community
• Connections
• Cultural Perspectives 
• Communication

The program strives to cultivate a student’s ability to facilitate collaborative and relational processes that lead to positive, responsible change on campus and within the community.

Leadership is a process, not a position

Leadership is much more than attaining a position of power or authority. 

In simplest terms, to “lead” is to show the way—which in practice requires a wide variety of skills and competencies. Over the past several decades, researchers have worked to debunk the myth that leadership is only reserved for a few charismatic men and women. 

Rather, leadership is everyone’s business. 

The Poets L.E.A.D. program helps Whittier College students channel their inner leader and realize that we all have a role to play—whether big or small—in solving the difficult problems of our world and showing the way for the generations to come.

Poets L.E.A.D. Goals and Objectives

  • Prepare students for leadership in a global world;
  • Engage students’ creativity while strengthening  their research abilities and critical thinking, organization, and project-management skills;
  • Utilize learning opportunities to improve knowledge acquisition through leadership experiences and tangible projects; 
  • Create measurable impacts and outcomes from co-curricular involvement;
  • Offer students the opportunity to develop a meaningful portfolio of completed work that demonstrates acquired leadership skills through  a college-recognized program; and 
  • Help students develop and practice core leadership competencies that encompass: 

time management
project management
risk management
fiscal responsibility
verbal communication
emotional intelligence

written communication
effective meetings
critical thinking
mediation/conflict resolution
membership selection
team and group
interpersonal communication


To assist students in the process of developing these competencies, a rubric for each competency is provided. Learn more.

Program Courses

The following courses can be taken for 0-1 credits and count toward Whittier’s College’s minor in the Liberal Arts of Organizational Leadership Program (LAOLP)

INTD 150*
Leadership and College Student Development
Course assists students in personal development, assertiveness, interpersonal skills, peer-counseling, and more.
Open to all students. Offered in spring.

INTD 160*
Competent Leadership Seminar
Self-directed course allows individuals to demonstrate mastery of basic competencies. Students develop a comprehensive portfolio and must pass an oral examination in order to receive the rank of Competent Leader.
Must be at least of sophomore standing to enroll. Offered in fall and JanTerm. Course must be taken with INTD 285 to count toward the LAOLP minor. See description below.

INTD 180**
Advanced Leadership Practicum
Focuses on the application of leadership competencies through participation in leadership positions on- or off- campus. After execution of a successful event, students must update their portfolios and pass an oral examination in order to receive the rank of Advanced Leader.
Must be at least of junior standing and have successfully completed either INTD 150 or INTD 160 to enroll. Offered in fall and spring. Course must be taken with BSAD 480 to count towards the LAOLP minor.

*INTD 150 and 160 are identical courses (just offered at different times of the year). If you are applying to be a resident advisor, you must take INTD 150.
**Upon completion of INTD 150/160 and INTD 180, you will be recognized as an advanced leader by Whittier College and receive a medal for graduation.

Minor in the Liberal Arts of Organizational Leadership (LAOLP)

Coordinated by the College's Department of Business Administration, this specialized minor integrates aspects and ideas from other disciplines—namely humanities—into existing business courses, with a goal of developing in students critical business leadership skills and advanced competencies during their undergraduate years. The minor is open to all students from business and liberal arts disciplines alike. Learn more.