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Transformational leadership programming works to develop self-awareness as a tool to confront challenges. Transformational leaders aim to implement change. They are creative and innovative; they establish direction, motivate and inspire; they follow ethical principles. This perspective intersects nicely with the innovative, principled and change-making ethos of the social innovator or social entrepreneur.

Levitt Leadership Institute

The Levitt Leadership Institute (LLI) is a two-week intensive leadership training program promoting transformational leadership practices and social action. LLI’s mission is to help students recognize, develop and practice the kinds of leadership skills that are essential for creating personal and societal change. Comments from former institute participants underscore LLI as the chance to work with people beyond their usual networks, learn about themselves both as leaders and effective group members, and contribute something real in the process. The institute promotes a global mindset, ethical behaviors and regard for the public good. The leadership training creates an environment in which participants are empowered to make a real and positive difference through campus, local community and global action projects. LLI strives to have students transfer their new skills and knowledge into real-life situations. Applications for the Levitt Leadership Institute are open in the fall.

The Highlander Social Action Leadership Program

The Highlander Social Action Leadership Program brings together students, faculty, and staff from Hamilton College and comparable institutions to develop organizing strategies to create diverse, safe, and just campuses. Taught in the context of EDUC 215 W: Education, Teaching, and Social Change, this Fall 2018 course includes a required field study at the Highlander Center in Tennessee during the second week of Spring Break 2019. Description of EDUC 215 W: Education is never neutral. Society is in a constant state of change. What is the relationship between education, teaching, and social change? This course will analyze teaching as an act of social justice in response to fundamental societal problems and institutionalized inequalities embedded in educational institutions. Through the lenses of critical theory, intersectionality, and pedagogy this course examines educational practices and policies and explores critical methodologies (e.g., developing agency; raising identity awareness; writing counter-narratives) for decolonizing and transforming education in the classroom and beyond, liberating learners, and creating just educational spaces. Connections between the classroom and contemporary world issues (e.g., classed, gendered, and raced school/campus climates; DACA; exclusionary practices such as school-prison pipeline; migration) are studied so that students can address, respond to, and actively participate in the challenge of engaged citizenship for the good of education and greater society. Students will participate in critical dialogue, writing, and a social action leadership project on campus. This course engages in experiential learning with peer institutions through required field study at the Highlander Center in Tennessee, March 14-March 19th. Prerequisite, EDUC 200 or Intro level course in Humanities or Social Sciences. Maximum enrollment 16.

LEAP: Leadership Experience and Preparation Program

LEAP is a first-year leadership program that strives to develop six key skills in all of its participants: self-awareness, organization, negotiation, active listening, public speaking, and networking. In fall 2018, LEAP will take place as part of Prof. Katheryn Doran's first-year philosophy class.

Leadership Workshops

Leadership workshops help students and community members to develop the skills and gain the knowledge they need to be effective leaders with the capacity to make a positive difference in the world. These workshops often focus on enabling campus leaders to address their own leadership challenges and build the skills they need to make an impact in our communities.

Commitment Projects

Students who participate in the Levitt Leadership Institute commit to undertaking a project that will make a positive difference to their community. Through their Commitment Projects, students are currently addressing issues in environmental sustainability at Hamilton, education preparedness in Ethiopia and stigma surrounding mental health, among many others.

The Levitt Center [programs] gave me tangible leadership skills and frameworks that I still use. The encouragement from the administrators to develop commitment projects was an experiential opportunity to create real change on campus. I remember initially struggling to balance the needs of students, faculty, and administrators in different settings, but eventually I became comfortable working across groups. I will also add that the Levitt Center was a focal point for like-minded students that are still my friends today.

Michael Nelson '16

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