University of Montana LeadershipU: Developing Leaders for Social Change

Leadership is a development of knowledge, skills, and abilities as an individual or with others through experience and education. Authentic leadership requires the commitment to a personal and professional code of ethics, self-awareness, and an ability to communicate across differences. Everyone has the potential to lead.


The mission of LeadershipU is to empower students to practice self-reflection, engage with peers, seek out social change, build better organizations, and cultivate community at UM. Students will engage in facilitated discussions on the following topics: community building, servant leadership, social justice and activism, interpersonal skills, active listening, conflict resolution, mindfulness, self-care, and authentic leadership.


  • Promote and maintain dialogue between students currently engaged in leadership activities across campus.
  • Encourage and foster the personal development of individuals students' values, visions, and self-esteem.
  • Cultivate the skills of mindfulness, self-care, authentic leadership, active listening, and conflict resolution as taught in the Servant Leadership model.

Discussion Topics

  • Servant Leadership
  • Social Justice and Activism
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Mindfulness
  • Self-Care
  • Authentic Leadership

Servant Leadership

LeadershipU is an experiential leadership program rooted in servant leadership principles and designed for students who are currently engaged in student leadership and/or community activism at the University of Montana.

Servant Leadership is a transformational leadership theory that focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. Servant leadership is grounded in a philosophy and set of practices that enrich the lives of individuals. Servant leadership builds better organizations and social justice.

"The servant-leader is a servant first... It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions... The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?"

- Robert K Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader

The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Both organizations and individuals can be servant-leaders with the potential to change the world.

Application & Course Info

The certificate program is designed for UM students who are currently engaged in student leadership and/or community activism. The cohort of students will meet for 7 weeks for an hour and a half each week.

Upon completion of the program, each member will be rewarded with their certificate during UM's prestigious Student Achievement Awards Reception during the University of Montana's Week of Excellence.

LeadershipU will be providing students with books, journals, and materials for their own self-reflective journey. We will also provide food and beverage at each session. We ask that you commit to this program by not missing any sessions.


If you have any questions, you can contact Adrianne Smith at (406) 243-6029 or by email at adrianne.smith@umontana.edu.