Why this certificate

According to national surveys, less than a third of Americans believe leaders in the United States are effective, and more than half believe the issue has become worse in the last 20 years (Shollen & Gagnon, 2019). While many express healthy skepticism of the heroic approaches to leadership (Crosby & Bryson, 2017), recent evidences suggests key opportunities in the collective dimensions of leadership (Ospina, Foldy, Fairhurst, & Jackson, 2020). In our rapidly changing world, we need leaders with interdisciplinary skills to solve complex societal issues on local, national, and international levels (Bear & Skorton, 2019). The Collaborative Community Leadership graduate certificate program will prepare participants with the educational background necessary to lead in a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

Program Outcomes

This certificate will complement Virginia Tech graduate students' academic education by preparing them with the following abilities:

  • Apply knowledge of leadership principles in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary contexts,
  • Engage in scholarly inquiry as a way to critically analyze leadership theory and practice,
  • Promote collaborative leadership in real-world settings, and 
  • Practice social responsibility in today's diverse and multicultural environment.


The certificate requires successful completion of 13 credit hours, including completion of a project that demonstrates application of concepts from the program. The required coursework includes two core courses and two courses from restricted electives. All courses are graduate-level and three credit hours. The project should be completed with one credit hour of independent study credit (LDRS 5974).

Core/Required Coursework

LDRS 5454:  Leadership Foundations for Diverse Contexts
This course is intended to assist students in identifying and defining leadership in formal and non-formal educational settings, communities, and organizations. Students will learn through reading, observing, applying, creating, and evaluating leadership in context.

LDRS 5464: Leadership in a Global Society
This course will guide learners in identifying and developing the personal and professional competencies required for effective leadership in an increasingly global, diverse and multicultural society. The class activities will involve critical reflection and experiential learning. Students will learn through reading, observing, applying, creating, and evaluating leadership in context. Pre: LDRS 5454.


(*Note:  This is a list of possible electives, but it is not all-inclusive.  Students may propose alternate options to the certificate coordinator.  Common course prefixes for alternate options include COMM, GIA, PAPA, UAP, MGT, and PSYC)
  • ALCE 5154: Partnerships and Volunteerism
  • ALCE 5224: Team Science, Cooperation, and Interdisciplinary Work
  • EDHE 6304: Theories of Educational Organizations
  • ENGL 6334: Rhetoric in Society
  • GRAD 5204: Citizen Scholar Seminar
  • LDRS 5544: Leading Teams Through Change
  • LDRS 5554: Leading Social Change
  • SOC 5034: Social Inequality


  • Pre-approval from certificate program coordinator to ensure connection to program concepts.
  • End-of-project report in a potentially publishable format.
  • Completed with and/or supervised by a faculty member appropriate for the project.
  • Documented through one credit hour of LDRS 5974: Independent Study.


Admission & Conferral

Admission to the graduate certificate program in Collaborative Community Leadership will be considered from students enrolled in any graduate program at Virginia Tech and from non-degree students who have been permitted to take courses by the Graduate School. When all requirements have been satisfied, participants will submit an application for certificate conferral to have the certificate added to their academic transcript. However, participating students must first complete the Graduate Certificate Application.



Eric Kaufman
(540) 231-6258

Prospective Students

Students interested in applying for one of our programs should work closely with the University’s Graduate School Admissions office and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.