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Leadership Excellence

Leadership Excellence is a cohort-based academic year program and is part of the university's efforts to foster the continuous growth and development of leaders at Virginia Tech. This program will enhance leadership competencies to improve the ability to lead, serve, and advance the university’s vision, mission, and values beyond boundaries. 

What are those leadership competencies? We call them the Hokie Dozen, but there are 13 because, just like our community, there is always room for one more. These competencies are a part of all Virginia Tech's leadership development programs.

Program Goals

Leadership Excellence gives learners the opportunity to further develop and apply their leadership competencies. The goals of the program are to:

  • Create an active learning environment where leaders can interact and tackle real-world problems in a safe, fail-friendly environment
  • Create a professional network of leaders to support continued learning and development beyond the program.
  • Develop culturally responsive leaders to lead current and future teams with excellence in core competencies.
  • Provide knowledge and support for leaders to confidently advance the Virginia Tech difference beyond boundaries.

Why 'Leadership Excellence?' Leadership Excellence builds on the foundational knowledge provided in Leadership Essentials. Completion of Leadership Essentials is not required for participation in Leadership Excellence but is recommended. Leadership Excellence puts our leadership competencies into practice. Learners will not only apply new knowledge and skills to challenges and opportunities in their local work community but also think about where and how those opportunities and challenges converge across the university.

Who should apply to Leadership Excellence?

  • People who lead teams, projects, committees, etc.
  • Subject-matter experts that everyone tends to lean on, i.e., “the go-to person”
  • Those who lead community-building efforts
  • People with an aptitude for leadership and an interest in learning more about leadership
  • People preparing for future opportunities

Applicants might have job titles like supervisor, manager, assistant director, director, specialist, etc. Our focus is not on position, but on potential.

What will you learn in this program?

Each session will focus on a group of competencies and will build on many of the topics in Leadership Essentials.

  • You will learn and participate in a variety of assessments and types of training. Then you will learn how to assess types of training based on the needs of a team.
  • This is an experiential program with consistent application and reflection.
  • Participants will work together to identify a “real world” challenge and identify possible strategies for meeting it.
  • Program content development is participative and tailored to the cohort.
  • Specialized content and updates are provided for cohort members’ supervisors.

Where can I learn more about what others experienced in this program?

Check out what the 2023-2024 Leadership Excellence cohort participants said about the program.

What are the requirements to participate in this program?

  • Attendance: We will meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month, beginning August 28, 2024. The August session will be virtual. The first in-person session is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The other monthly sessions will be half-day sessions either in the morning or afternoon. The locations will vary, but will be announced 30 days prior to the meeting. The last session will be in May 2025.
  • Course Time Commitment: In addition to the monthly learning experiences, there are some assignments that must be completed between the sessions. You should expect to spend 8-10 hours per month, inclusive of the monthly learning experience, working with the program.
  • Requirements to Graduate: Attend 80 percent of learning experiences and complete 80 percent of the course content and assignments.
  • Conditions for Voluntary or Involuntary Withdrawal from the Program: At times situations arise that prevent participants from completing the program. We’ve outlined procedures for these situations below.
    • Voluntary Withdrawal: To voluntarily withdraw from the program, cohort members must notify their direct supervisor and the program leader. Managers may withdraw a cohort member from the program due to business needs or performance issues after consultation with the Director of Talent Development. 
    • Involuntary Withdrawal: Cohort members may be involuntarily withdrawn from the program when they fail to meet the attendance or assignment requirement. This decision is made by Talent Development and approved by the Director of Talent Development. Notice of involuntary withdrawal is communicated in writing to the senior HR leader, manager, and member by the program leader. A cohort member whose behavior negatively impacts the learning environment will be informed of these concerns through consultation with the program leader. If a member’s behavior continues to interfere with instruction or impede learning, they may be involuntarily withdrawn after a consultation with the Director of Talent Development. This decision is made at the program level and approved by the Division of HR leadership. Notice of involuntary withdrawal is communicated in writing to the senior Human Resources leader, manager, and member by the Director of Talent Development.

What is the process for applying?

Applications for the 2024-25 cohort are available from May 3 to June 7, 2024.

  1. Apply or Nominate: The application consists of identifying information about the applicant, a self-assessment of leadership competencies, and some short answer questions. You must be logged in with your Virginia Tech ID and password to complete the application. If you would like to nominate someone for the program, nominate them through this form.
  2. Supervisor Assessment: After the interested person submits their application, a digital nomination packet will be sent to the direct supervisor. That packet will contain the same leadership competencies assessment tool as the application. The applicant’s HR representative will be notified of the application as well.
  3. Committee Review: The final step is a review by the Leadership Excellence program committee. Our goal is to admit as many interested people into the cohort as possible, but still be mindful that cohort size impacts the experience.

In need of assistance? Contact Michelle Carter, program leader, at to talk through the process and get answers to your questions. 

Accommodations for applicants accepted into the program

If you are accepted into the program and are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation to participate, please contact Michelle Carter via email at or phone at (540) 231-4806 at least 10 business days prior to the program kickoff event.