Leadership Development

The SORC, in partnership with other units from the Division of Student Affairs, offers a series of Leadership Development opportunities for students interested in evolving and maturing as leaders at ETSU. 

We offer programs for emerging (new) leaders, current leaders,and advanced leaders! Each level of programming is designed to be beneficial to your level of leadership experience. If you are a freshman or have not held a leadership position, check out the Emerging Leaders tab to find opportunities to shape yourself into the leader you aspire to be! If you are a current student leader and want to continue developing your leadership skills, be sure to check out our leadership conference opportunities under the Current Leaders tab. We are presently working to bring programs for advanced leaders, check the Advanced Leaders tab for updates!

For more information about Leadership Programming at ETSU, email .


Emerging Leaders

The Dr. Brenda White Wright Emerging Leaders Academy is a great opportunity for our first year students who have not held a leadership position in a student organization and have an interest in developing leadership skills.

ELA Class of @014


Congratulations to the Dr. Brenda White Wright Emerging Leaders Academy Class of 2014


Piriye Bamson - Zackery Bennett - Alex Cassell - Olivia DeAngelo - Brandon Delgado - Kevin Elmore - Blair Fisher - Whitney Gambrell - Dustin Gilmer - Natasha Gochenour - Justin McClinton - Colleen McKenna - Kaci Norton - Houston Paul - Haley Rasnic - Cody Smith - Jordan Smith - Martin Tompkins - Stormie Tuggle - David Unland


Mission: To identify, encourage and equip emerging student leaders with the skills, knowledge and experience to effectively lead at ETSU and beyond.

The Dr. Brenda White Wright Emerging Leaders Academy is an eight week leadership development program with weekly meetings that focus on critical skills such as leadership style, communication, conflict management and time management. Selected participants will attend an overnight "advance" and complete a service project in order to receive ETSU's Emerging Leaders Certificate.

Program Objectives:

  • Students will explore their own leadership styles and strengths
  • Students will participate in developmental activities relating to advocacy and diversity appreciation
  • Students will learn about and have an opportunity to work in a team
  • Students will complete a service project
  • Students will learn valuable skills (e.g. communication, time management, conflict resolution, problem solving) that are applicable to leadership situations
  • Students will become aware of general University procedures and resources available.
Application and Selection

The Emerging Leaders Academy is open to any first year student who is in "good academic standing" and has not held a position of leadership in a student organization. Applications will be available in the fall semester. The eight week program takes place each spring and students accepted must attend 100% of the scheduled dates in order to receive the certificate of completion.

Emerging Leaders Academy graduates have become: 

  • Various roles with Student Government Association (President, Secretary, Senator, Chief of Staff) 
  • President of Buctainment, ETSU's Student Programming Board 
  • International Buccaneer Buddies Group Leader 
  • President of various student organizations (Volunteer ETSU)   
  • Various roles with ETSU Housing (Resident Assistant, Hall Council) 

About Dr. Brenda White Wright

Dr. Brenda White Wright is a motivational speaker, storyteller, and diversity consultant with over 40 years of experience in business management, servant leadership, board and organizational development, human resources, education, multicultural issues, race relations, youth initiatives, community relations, resource development, radio and television. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business and Communications, a Master's Degree in Reading and Storytelling, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from East Tennessee State University. For over twenty years she served as President and CEO of Girls Incorporated of Kingsport, a United Way agency that provides programs for at-risk youth ages 5-18. In that capacity, she was named by The Business Journal as one of the region's "Twenty-Five Powerful Female Executives."

For more information, visit www.wrightapproach.net


Current Leaders

Current Leaders of student organizations and other students aspiring to step into leadership roles on campus are encouraged to participate in Student Affairs leadership conferences held each semester.

ETSU's new annual Student Leadership Conference: The Leading Edge

Follow ETSU Leading Edge on Twitter Tweet Us Your Questions and Suggestions!

Check back for more details about this year's dates, theme, schedule of activities and to register to attend.

Past Events: 

The Leading Edge 2013: "hardCORE" was a huge success! Thank you to all of our student leaders and guests who showed up, stayed engaged throughout the conference, and got some excellent leadership strength training! Special thanks to T.J. Sullivan and all of our expert facilitators! 

TJ Sullivan   


Advanced Leaders

We are excited that ETSU will be hosting a campus based session of the LeaderShape Institute! 

What is LeaderShape? 

LeaderShape is a 6 day, 5 night intensively fun leadership experience that's mission is "to be a part of creating a just, caring, thriving world." LeaderShape promotes team building, developing leadership skills, creating a vision for the future, and leading with integrity. Participants will spend time reflecting, sharing, listening, and participating in activities and simulations in small and large groups. LeaderShape provides an energized and interactive environment where everyone acts as a teacher and learner. 

Check out the LeaderShape website to find out more about the experience! 

Who is eligible? 

All ETSU students who are in good academic standing are eligible to apply. There is no limitation on class standing, campus involvement, or area of study. Application is competitive and priority will be given to students who will remain on campus for at least one more semester. 

Where is LeaderShape held? 

ETSU's campus based session of LeaderShape is held at Appalachian Christian Camp in Unicoi, TN. 

How much time am I committing? 

To complete the LeaderShape institute, students will be required to stay onsite at Appalachian Christian Camp all six days and 5 nights of the program. Meals, lodging and all institute materials are provided. Transportation will be provided from ETSU to Appalachian Christian Camp on the first and last day. Students will not be transporting themselves. 

What will I be doing at LeaderShape? 

LeaderShape is an intensive program where you will spend time working individually, as a "family cluster" that includes one faculty/staff member and 10-12 students, and as a learning community that includes all participants. The days are packed from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with activities, simulations, an outdoor challenge course experience, games and more! Take a look at the "Daily Breakdown" below for more information! 

How do I apply for LeaderShape? 

Applications will be made available in March. Check back for a link that will take you to the online application! 

Daily Breakdown 

DAY 1: Building Community

You'll begin to explore what leadership means and discuss its core components. You'll meet the other participants in the "Learning Community," and you'll also join 8-12 other young adults in a group called the "Family Cluster." As your primary reference group, the Family Cluster will offer you feedback, support, and help you develop and refine your vision for the future.

DAY 2: The Value of One, The Power of All

You'll begin the second day in an experiential team building activity. By working your way through a series of initiatives and discussions, you'll discover how relationships, trust, and problem solving can be enhanced in a supportive group setting. Next you'll add another dimension to your self-awareness by completing a behavioral style inventory. From that information, you'll have an opportunity to set several personal goals for the week and share those with members of your Family Cluster. You'll also participate in exercises which explore the concept of "inclusive leadership" and how to create communities which value respect, openness, and diverse opinions.

DAY 3: Challenging What Is, Looking to What Could Be

Creating a powerful vision is one of the most important aspects of leadership! During this exciting day, you'll begin work developing your own vision for the future which defines a bold change for your community, group, cause, or organization back home. The evening will conclude with a Guest Leader Panel and Reception. This is your opportunity to interact with leaders from different professions. Using an informal question-and-answer format, these individuals will share their insights and experiences related to the challenges of "leading with integrity."

DAY 4: Bringing Vision to Reality

A vision is only a dream unless it results in action. Three key requirements will be discussed (relationships, stretch goals, and action steps) which move a vision forward. In addition, the issue of power will be explored in a dynamic group simulation exercise.

DAY 5: Living and Leading With Integrity

The concept of "integrity" is a challenging one, but central to LeaderShape's philosophy of lifelong leadership development. You will discuss how core ethical values, thoughtful decisions, and courage all play critical roles in sustaining integrity and fostering trust and respect. During the afternoon, you'll have open time to discuss "burning issues" before you prepare for a creative Family Cluster LeaderShape Revue in the evening.

DAY 6: Staying in Action

On this final day, you'll prepare to return home and face your responsibilities as a LeaderShape graduate who practices the discipline of "leading with integrity." You'll learn what it means to be a part of the nationwide LeaderShape community - a network of mutual encouragement and support. A Learning Community commencement ceremony concludes the week.

DAY 7: Back on Campus

Although the LeaderShape Institute lasts only 6 days, "Day 7" refers to all the programs and activities that happen on campus once you return from LeaderShape. There will be "Day 7" activities on campus help you stay connected with your Family Cluster and other participants. You will find support for continuing the work you started during the week throughout your time atOhio State and beyond through Vision Showcases and social reunions.




News & Events 





Check out the Advanced Leaders tab for more information!



 What students are saying about leadership programs: 

"I realized my voice, although quiet, is very powerful!"

"It was great! Every leader on campus should definitely attend, it would benefit!"

"It was a good way of getting feedback from people you never thought were watching you."

"I learned that the loudest idea isn’t always the best idea."

"This is an amazing program. I have learned so much that can be applied everyday in my life."

"Very great way to bring out leadership!"

"This has given me a better insight to leadership, and the motivation needed to be a good leader and motivate others."