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The PreDoctoral Leadership Academy (PLDA), is a one year program designed to provide doctoral students from a broad array of academic disciplines with the supplemental knowledge and skills needed for academic and administrative leadership roles. Since the program’s inception in 2010, nearly 135 doctoral students representing over 50 academic departments have participated in the program.

The program recognizes that the pool of academic leaders who are motivated and trained to assume critical leadership roles is limited. There is an increasingly critical need for individuals who are well-trained within their own disciplines, and who also understand the organization and administration of colleges and universities and the challenges they face, and have communication, organizational, and leadership knowledge and competencies.

The PLDA program was created to provide a complement to discipline-based study by offering experiential and classroom opportunities that emphasize leadership style and strategy, collaborative decision-making, planning and organizational assessment, communication with internal and external constituencies, and other knowledge and skill-sets important to informal and formal leadership and professional advancement.

The components of PLDA include both didactic and experiential elements that, together, provide fundamental knowledge of higher education from historical and contemporary perspectives. It also provides an overview of the array of problems and opportunities confronting the academy and other large institutions today, and examines approaches and competencies required of leaders to meaningfully address these challenges.

PLDA is offered by the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership with support from the School of Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences-NB, and the School of Communication and Information-NB. Contributions in support of OL leadership programs have been provided by Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, the Mellon Foundation, Anne Thomas, Francis and Mary Kay Lawrence, and other Rutgers faculty and staff. Core faculty for the PLDA come from the School of Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences-NB, and the School of Communication and Information-NB, as well as other faculty from other universities.

PLDA is open to any Rutgers University doctoral student from Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and RBHS. The program invites nominations for student from all disciplines within the university and encourages nominations from women and minorities in order to enhance diversity among future academic administrators nationally.

Students who wish to be considered for participation in the program will need to be nominated by a program director, department chair, dean, or vice-president.

Fellows must be able to attend all of the in-person classes on Fridays from 9:00 am – 11:00 am in New Brunswick.

Fellows who successfully complete the one-year program will be awarded a $1,000 honorarium. Fellows’ completion of the program will also be recognized on their academic transcripts.

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