Colman Inclusive Leadership Program

Group Photo of Colman Leaderhsip Program Participants

The Colman Inclusive Leadership Program seeks to enroll 30-40 graduate students for an immersive three-day program focused on providing research students with skills and knowledge that will support their development as leaders in graduate school and beyond. The 2021 program includes doctoral students from Cornell as well as from institutions affiliated with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s University Centers for Exemplary Mentoring and Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership programs.  

Colman Inclusive Leadership Program Logo

Program Goals

The Colman Inclusive Leadership Program introduces students to a range of practical skills, theory pertaining to leadership, and special topics relevant for application in both academic and professional contexts. With a varied format including readings, interactive group activities, case studies, and discussions, program participants will engage in the following topics:

  • What is Emotional Intelligence?
  • Inclusion and Belonging – We All Want It, How Do We Get It?
  • Inclusive Leadership Frameworks
  • Conflict Management
  • Culture – Power, Awareness, and Humility
  • Visioning Leaderships

Program Schedule

Application Opens: Mid-November

Application Priority Due Date: December 9

Rolling Decisions through December 15

Program Dates and Times: January 12-14, 2021, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST

Should You Apply?

You have a choice of leadership development opportunities within and beyond Cornell via multiple offerings of courses and programs. We would like you to choose the best of these options for yourself. If you are considering applying to the Colman Inclusive Leadership Program, you should know that it is an immersive learning experience. It is predicated on discovery, integration, and synthesis and not on prescriptive norms of leadership. We quote from former participants below to help you decide.

It is for you if you are seeking what these participants have described:

“The Colman program works hard to equip attendees with language to understand themselves and others. One of the key strengths of the program, however, is to not only supply definitions/clarifications but to emphasize the malleability of any of these terms and behaviors: in different contexts you may display different styles of thinking, processing, and acting. The program also reinforces that everyone in a group or organization is constantly expressing these strengths and values and shifting on a spectrum; in understanding those human dynamics, we can be more communicative, empathetic, and effective leaders and conflict mediators. The program does present a lot of useful models, but I think I walked away with more self-discovery and perspective than discrete, applicable models. To be clear, I don’t think this is a failure in the program, but a philosophical difference (emotional intelligence versus a set of theories).”

“The program did not meet my expectations – it EXCEEDED them. I thought I’d walk away with some tips on how to inhabit the role of a classic leader and mold myself to some expected archetype. Instead I learned how all of us have leadership potential and can not only find our flavor of leadership within ourselves, but inspire it in others by appreciating their strengths.”

The Colman Inclusive Leadership Program might not be for you if you are not prepared to engage in intensive self-discovery experiences or are seeking to develop specific managerial skills and a forum to practice those skills.


Jami P. Joyner, director, Diversity Programs in Engineering:, 607-255-6403

Sara Xayarath Hernández, associate dean for inclusion & student engagement, Cornell Graduate School:, 607-255-5417


In spring 2012, John and Jane Colman founded the Colman Family Endowed Fund for Leadership within Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) to establish the Colman Leadership Program for Ph.D. students in engineering and other related STEM fields. In summer 2015, the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE) established a partnership with DPE to make the Colman Leadership Program open to all Ph.D. and M.F.A. students from across all graduate fields. In 2020, OISE was awarded a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supporting the engagement of graduate students from other institutions affiliated with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s University Centers for Exemplary Mentoring and Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership programs and the development of stand-alone inclusive leadership workshops.