Our Vision: Building Inclusive leadership for a just world
The Pioneer Leadership Program (PLP) has been developing the leadership skills of some of the University of Denver's most talented undergraduate students since 1995. This transformational learning experience combines a first-year residential component, project-based course work, cocurricular enrichments, civic engagement, and professional networks to equip you for 21st-century leadership.
Each year 88 incoming students are invited to join this 4-year long community of learners to embrace and address the increasing challenges of our world. Its’ unique academic minor matches any major or chosen field.
You will acquire the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to become inclusive, collaborative leaders in the community and professional life you choose.
The Pioneer Leadership Program at the University of Denver promotes inclusive leadership through intellectual engagement, personal development, collaborative problem-solving and community engaged learning. We provide a multidisciplinary and comprehensive academic and co-curricular program preparing undergraduate students for the responsibilities and challenges of leadership in the diverse and complex world of the 21st Century.
Beginning as a first year Living and Learning Community and then extending to a 4-year academic minor in Leadership Studies, the program advances students’ understanding of self as leader/follower, leadership theory and research, interpersonal skills and competencies that support inclusive leadership effectiveness, a more fully developed code of personal and organizational ethics, and an enhanced sense of social responsibility and citizenship. 88 first-year undergraduates are welcomed into the program each year by secondary application, creating a co-hort model that includes over 300 total students engaged over their undergraduate experience.
As a Leadership Studies minor, and a Living and Learning Community in the first year, we uphold the values of the University, expect full support of the DU Honor code, and promote the following character and community values to create a fertile learning environment for growth:
- Intellectual Curiosity and Rigor: a willingness to go beyond the surface of issues and concepts, cultivating a life-long learning attitude and approach
- Inclusion: embracing the richness and values that all identities and communities bring to our lives, amplifying diverse voices and shared power and opportunities for all
- Civic Commitment: an awareness and concern for the contributions and interdependence of communities and individual behaviors in promoting the public good
- Responsibility: developing dependability, accountability and self-control
- Integrity: value-based actions, rooted in a personal code of ethics
- Caring: kind, generous, charitable and responsive to others
- Openness and Civility: fostering inclusive relationships marked by respect, genuine interest and willingness to learn
- Courage: standing up for self, others and ideas that matter for the public good
Leadership is inclusive and accessible to all people.
Leadership is not for the few but for all. It seeks a common future that respects and celebrates the identities and contributions of all. It requires that many engage to create empowerment and positive change needed for socially just and equitable communities. Effective leadership will expand and create leader-full communities.
Leadership can be learned.
Leadership can be learned and developed through understanding theories, thought models, skill development and iterative practice. While some may be born or develop early in life with attributes more helpful in some contexts, all have the capacity to participate and influence through leadership.
Leadership is contextual and influenced by culture, institutions, and social systems.
Leadership is an act of community for collective change.
Leadership is a dynamic process that does not revolve around one person with a formal position, title, or singular power, but rather is the collective work of many. The intention is for change that benefits all. This requires an understanding of power, voice, collaborative thinking, and action.
Leadership development is a life-long learning process.
Learning is central to leadership work. This constant process requires individuals and communities to assess relevance and effectiveness that benefit all. It requires a focus on self-understanding, especially as relates to power and privilege, feedback from others, community consciousness, and assessing current contexts, challenges, and opportunities.
Leadership is ethical and value-driven.
Leadership thinking and action impact intent and outcome. Ethical leadership requires an examination of personal and community values and demonstrates a commitment to evaluation, honesty, openness, and transparency in decision-making. Trust and credibility are at the leadership core. Without it, credibility is lost. Ethical leadership requires behaviors that are held accountable to the public good.