Announcing the 2017-2018 Student Directors!

Conchita Garcia and Ally Bock

Here at the SPA Leadership Program, we are so excited to announce that next year’s Student Directors are Conchita Garcia and Ally Bock! Both students have demonstrated a history of dedication to our community and service to the program. Conchita Garcia served as the Teaching Assistant for the Class of 2019 Gender and Sexuality Issue Group and Ally is currently serving as the Teaching Assistant for the Class of 2020 Public Health and Policy Issue Group.

“We are very humbled by the opportunity to give back to the SPA Leadership Program and serve as your Co-Student Directors! As the year is wrapping up, we have started to transition into our new roles by outlining our goals for the program which include increasing communication between teaching teams, steering committee, and student directors, fostering community within the program, integrating older students with incoming students, continuing existing efforts to strengthen our alumni network and creating a more inclusive space for all members of our program. We would like to thank Sharon and Allie for their leadership and commitment to the community this year and are looking forward to working with them to ensure a smooth transition. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding the program or if you’d like to get to know us better!” – Conchita and Ally

Freshman Project Presentations 2016

Welcome to the Student-Led Leadership Website!

This program is unlike any other on campus in that it provides students with both rigorous academics and a supportive community to support our endeavors, challenge our assumptions, and expand our understanding on the world around us.

Dear Leadership community,

We hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the 2016-2017 school year! We are so excited for all that is in store for the Leadership Program over the next several months. The Leadership community, one that is united around a shared passion for social justice, is already hard at work, both in and out of the classroom, to make the world a better place. We have no doubt that our students will make a significant impact on many lives in the AU and greater DC community and beyond.

Over the summer, we had the honor of working with 23 incredible students who make up the 13-member Steering Committee and two Teaching Teams. These students have contributed to making this year better than ever and we could not be more proud of them. At this point in the semester, these teams have already successfully welcomed the class of 2020 with engaging Welcome Week events, facilitated two student retreats, paired first year students with older student mentors, and planned many fun community events. This is just the beginning; over the course of the year, we will have the opportunity to come together at Linners, learn about each other’s driving forces at the Speak Out, participate in professional development events, connect with DC professionals through our mentorship program, participate in internships across the district, and produce social action projects focused on elevating the communities around us.

Our mission for this year is to foster a community that encourages collaboration, values all people, voices, and ideas, guides personal and collective growth, thrives on adding meaning to experiences, and has fun. The Leadership Program is one that we hold close to our hearts. We feel very fortunate to have been provided the opportunity to give back to a program, that has provided us with so much leadership, professional, and personal growth. We are constantly inspired by the students in this community not only for their hard work, but also for their respect, support, and compassion for others. This program exists because of all the amazing people in our caring community. We look forward to working with you and getting to know you better this year!


Your Student Directors

Sharon Lee and Allie Preston


A Message from the Director

Welcome to the SPA Certificate Program in Advanced Leadership Studies! Our premier leadership program was launched in 1990 in order to offer students the experience, skills, and knowledge to prepare them for leadership roles in public service. Following a competitive application process, students complete the 15-credit course of study that culminates in a Certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies.

In harmony with American University’s Statement of Common Purpose (namely, “the central commitment of American University is to the development of thoughtful, responsible human beings in the context of a challenging yet supportive academic community)”, the SPA leadership program seeks to (1) foster “interdisciplinary inquiry transcending traditional boundaries among academic disciplines and between administrative units,” (2) encourage “research and creative endeavors consistent with its distinctive mission, generating new knowledge beneficial to society,” and (3) encourage the “practical application of knowledge through experiential learning, taking full advantage of the resources of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.”

This webpage details the various ways how the curricular and co-curricular aspects of the program take students from the theory to the practice of leadership.
Thank you for visiting.
Paul Christopher Manuel, Ph.D.
Professor of Government &
Faculty Director of the SPA Leadership Program

Sophomore Year Retreat!

Welcoming the Class of 2020!