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Washington State University Graduate School

Leadership Development for Doctoral Students (INTERDIS 580)

A Leadership Development course for doctoral students is offered every fall as part of the Graduate School’s plan to prepare doctoral students for the 21st century workplace.  The Leadership Development course is open to first- and second-year doctoral students from a variety of disciplines who are participating in interdisciplinary training grants and scholar programs, and are nominated by their major professor.  The leadership program takes an interdisciplinary approach to help students enhance their professional skills in the areas of communication including intercultural communication, research ethics, teamwork, entrepreneurship in higher education, networking and other skills associated with leadership.  Fall 2009 was our first year for the program, and we have had very positive feedback from our participants regarding their experiences in the program since then, particularly the opportunity to network with other doctoral students.

The Leadership Development program will lead doctoral students through learning experiences in which they can:

  1. Explore various styles of leadership and the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership; identify leadership characteristics students have or can develop in themselves.
  2. Develop and enhance students’ communication and presentation skills for a variety of audiences.
  3. Explore communication issues related to generational, gender and multicultural differences.
  4. Develop a basic understanding of entrepreneurship and research ethics in higher education.
  5. Develop skills for the effective engagement and collaboration of diverse stakeholders.
  6. Begin building personal, professional, and scholarly networks with fellow students, faculty and experts outside the university.
  7. Develop an interdisciplinary “cohort” of colleagues in which they can experience team learning and development, accommodating diverse perspectives and global outlooks.

This Leadership Development is an experientially based, 3-credit course that includes a weekend leadership retreat, various workshops and guest speakers on entrepreneurship, communication, conflict management and change, communication, and intercultural communication, as well as seminar sessions.  The textbook for the course is Daniel Goleman’s Working with Emotional Intelligence, (2000), along with several journal articles about leadership, research ethics and communication issues.  Students are required to lead a faculty panel discussion involving case studies in the responsible conduct of research from On Being a Scientist (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, 2009).


INTERDIS 580 course syllabus

INTERDIS 580 list of classes

Emotional Competence Framework
For more information, contact Associate Dean, Pat Sturko.