Colman Inclusive Leadership Program

Colman Inclusive Leadership Program

The Colman Leadership Program is an annually offered program that seeks to enroll up to 40 PhD* students for an intensive 3-day program focused on providing participants with skills and knowledge that will support their development as inclusive leaders in graduate school and beyond.

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 Framework
  • Conflict Management  
  • Culture – Power, Awareness, and Humility 
  • Visioning Leadership 

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.



Cornell Inclusive Leadership Program will be offered virtually from January 12-14, 2021, 1-5:00 PM EST.

Admitted students who commit to enrolling in the Colman Inclusive  Leadership Program must commit to participating in the full program. The program does not permit late arrivals or early departures on any of the programs dates.

Below is an example schedule of the program:

Day 1

  • What is Emotional Intelligence?
  • Wellness and Leadership

Day 2

  • Inclusion and Belonging – We All Want It, How Do We Get It? 
  • Inclusive Leadership Framework
  • Conflict Management  

Day 3

  • Culture – Power, Awareness, and Humility 
  • Visioning Leadership 



Consideration will be given to applications from PhD* students from all backgrounds (domestic and international).

Priority Applicant Consideration:

Priority consideration is given to applicants who are PhD students with Cornell Colman or Sloan Fellowships and Graduate School Dean's Scholars with the following fellowships and affiliations:

  • Sloan Fellowship
  • Colman Fellowship
  • GEM Fellowship (PhD)
  • Collins Fellowship
  • Dean's Excellence Fellowship
  • SUNY Diversity Fellowship
  • McNair Graduate Fellowship
  • Provost Diversity Fellowship
  • Bouchet Honor Society

Art department MFA students are also invited to apply, given that the MFA is the terminal degree and the degree commonly held by faculty in your field.



Apply via the application at

  • Application Opens: Mid-November 
  • Application Priority Due Date: December 9 
  • Rolling Decisions through December 15

Online Application general contents:

  • Demographic information
  • Upload CV
  • Brief questions about your leadership experience, desired outcomes of your participation, and career goals
  • Supplemental questions to be used as a baseline for evaluating program impact

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.

— Colman Leader 2019

Program Background

In spring 2012, John and Jane Colman founded the Colman Family Endowed Fund for Leadership within the Office of Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) to establish the Colman Inclusive 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 Inclusive 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 doctoral students from other institutions affiliated with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s University Centers for Exemplary Mentoring, and M.S. and Doctoral students from institutions affiliated with the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership, and the development of stand-alone inclusive leadership modules.