Guiding Principles and Leadership Model

Leadership Philosophy 

At Kent State, we aspire to create critical learners, innovators, and adaptive problem solvers whose leadership exemplifies distinction. We develop students’ leadership identity, capacity, and efficacy through our interdisciplinary, university-wide leadership program based in strategic partnerships and high-impact practices.

  • WHY WE DO IT:  We believe all Kent State students possess leadership potential. Our core values and commitment to developing a community of change agents provide a high-quality environment for teaching, learning, and practicing leadership.
  • WHAT WE DO: Students will discover their leadership identity, learn how to lead in an inclusive, globally-minded community, and creatively express their individual leadership styles.
  • HOW WE DO IT: Students actively participate in a comprehensive leadership program based on our Kent State University Leadership Development Model supported by strategic partnerships and high-impact practices.


  • WE BELIEVE LEADERSHIP: Is a value-based, relational process that creates positive change, Is teachable and can be learned, Can be practiced by anyone regardless of formal position or role
  • WE BELIEVE PEOPLE ENGAGED IN LEADERSHIP: Have strong self-awareness and are guided by a clear purpose and set of core values, Are ethical role models who act in alignment with their values, Value and actively engage in diverse opinions, perspectives, experiences, and identities, Leverage individual and collective values to accomplish a shared goal, Understand multiple leadership models and are able to incorporate leadership knowledge and skill into practice. Are committed to working with others towards positive change




  • Critical Self-Reflection: The process of becoming aware of one’s own perspectives, assumptions,
    and biases that inform how an individual makes meaning of experiences

  • Purpose: Discovering one’s “why” and fulfilling that calling through clear personal and
    vocational goals

  • Personal Values: Deepening one’s understanding of the personal values that guide behavior and
    motivate an individual to take action, and acting in alignment with those values

  • Leadership Foundations: Understanding theories about leadership, articulating a personal
    leadership style, and incorporating leadership knowledge and skills into organizational and
    co-curricular experiences

Personal actions

  • Personal Responsibility: Taking ownership of personal behaviors, and demonstrating a willingness
    and ability to initiate action
  • Change Management: Exercising adaptability, optimism, and the ability to respond productively
    to uncertainty
  • Receiving and Providing Feedback:
    • Developing strategies to offer critiques and advice
    • Valuing constructive feedback to develop individual capacities and effectiveness
  • Functioning Independently: Exercising independence and autonomy when completing tasks
  • Commitment: Demonstrating a dependable, trustworthy character and exercising persistence
    and commitment in the face of adversity

Learning and reasoning

  • Reflection and Application: Establishing a continuous commitment to learning, reflection,
    integration, and application
  • Innovation: Generating new ideas and solutions to address complex problems in an ever-evolving
  • Problem Solving: Understanding how to identify and examine a problem, develop and assess possible
    solutions, and select the most appropriate solution
  • Decision Making: Understanding the factors influencing a decision and incorporating multiple
    perspectives into the decision-making process
  • Critical Thinking:
    • Engaging in rigorous critique with an open mind
    • Analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information, systems, assumptions, and points of view




Group Dynamics

  • Group Development:
    • Understanding the culture, norms, practices, and behaviors specific to an organization
    • Implementing strategies to assist groups in developing a sense of shared purpose,
      commitment, trust, and effectiveness
  • Collaboration: Implementing strategies to achieve a common objective through the sharing of ideas
    and distribution of responsibilities across group members

  • Communication: Understanding strategies to effectively and persuasively communicate with others

  • Conflict Management:
    • Engaging difference through respectful dialogue and a commitment to hearing
      other’s perspectives
    • Developing strategies to effectively manage disagreements, balancing the needs and interests of
      all involved, and finding common ground
  • Commitment to the Growth of People:
    • Exemplifying a commitment to the growth of each person in a group or organization
    • Sharing knowledge, abilities, and experiences to help develop the capacities of others in an effort
      to maintain the productivity and legacy of an organization
  • Interdependence: Valuing the relational aspects of leadership resulting in an awareness of the
    interconnectedness with others

DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, and cultural competence

  • Diversity: Acknowledging, accepting, and valuing difference including intersectional identities
  • Inclusion:
    • Active consideration and inclusion of diverse opinions, experiences, and outlooks
    • Inviting individuals to share perspectives, and contribute to a cause or task
    • Providing individualized strategies that promotes a sense of belonging for each group member
  • Social Perspective-Taking: Suspending one’s frame of reference to see the world through
    others’ perspectives



  • Social Responsibility:
    • Recognizing one’s responsibility to the welfare of society and its members
    • Enacting this responsibility and commitment through participation in experiences that positively
      contribute to a community or specific systemic issue
  • Global Citizenship:
    • Acknowledging the interdependence of individuals working together towards positive change
    • Recognizing that effective democracy involves individual and collective responsibility
      and commitment to the welfare of others

Social justice

  • Critical Awareness: Awareness of systems of privilege and oppression that contribute to inequitable
    distributions of power based on social location
  • Social Action: Demonstrating the motivation, value, and commitment to create more just, humane,
    and equitable systems within one’s own sphere of influence
  • Critical Hope: Exercising resilient hope and persistence in the collective struggle to redress inequitable
    systems and produce positive change