Graduate Leadership Credential

The Graduate Leadership Credential can be earned by graduate and professional students through participation in professional development and leadership programming, and serving as a student leader. Participating students will enhance their communication skills, hone their professionalism, and strengthen their strategic capabilities to better serve their objectives in graduate school and prepare for the transition to post-graduate opportunities.


To earn the credential, students will be required to participate in three interactive sessions, seminars, or activities in three of the following content areas:


  • COMMUNITY BUILDING AND INCLUSION create inclusive environments in which diverse individuals and teams can thrive and contribute.
  • CREATIVITY – engage in discovery; what does it mean to be a creative leader and to design your life?
  • COMMUNICATION/STORYTELLING – learn the art of expressing yourself effectively in order to bring your individual or team objectives to fruition.
  • PROFESSIONALISM – develop the skills needed to navigate the world of work and networking, including: how to build professional relationships, time management, and dining do’s and don’ts.
  • REFLECTION AND RESILIENCE – engage in activities that help you assess whether you’re on track with your goals, and practice viewing failures as opportunities to grow
  • STRATEGY/GOAL SETTING – solidify your personal or team mission, and explore how to make progress toward actualizing your vision.

Programming in each content area will be offered on a semester basis to ensure that participating students can make timely progress toward earning the credential, and new programs will be introduced periodically, to meet a variety of student interests as they relate to leadership development. Students completing the credential may also attend programming hosted by campus partners to fulfill three of the nine programs. Campus partner programming can be utilized for any of the six content areas, but must be preapproved by Deans Nguyen and Notaro via the Program Substitution Form. Visit the GradCareers page and review programs listed per competency, and check out the calendar to find GradCareers events.


  • Writing Center
  • Teaching Center
  • Postdoctoral Office
  • Center for Diversity & Inclusion
  • WashU Libraries
  • Center for the Humanities
  • Skandalaris Center
  • Career Centers
  • Academic Departments
  • Student Groups
  • Toastmasters

Submit completed action for program participation in any of the above six content areas for the Graduate Leadership Credential or Content Proficiency Badge.

(Culminating Experience submission is below)


Influential leaders know how to optimize their strengths, manage limitations, and serve as a key asset to their team. Gain the knowledge necessary to lead and excel by attending two of the leadership development programs run by Associate Dean Sheri Notaro, Director of the Liberman Graduate Center. Check out the calendar to find "Leadership Seminar Series" event dates.

  • How to Run an Effective Meeting and Create a Budget
  • How to Work in Teams
  • Gallup Strenghts Quest
  • Succession Planning for Graduate Groups
  • Dining Do's and Don'ts


The final requirement of the Graduate Leadership Credential is to complete a culminating experience, which includes both an action and reflection component.


The action component of the culminating experience can be completed through one of the following opportunities:

  • GRADUATE STUDENT GROUP – serve on the executive board of a department, school, or university-wide graduate student group
  • GRADUATE STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES – serve as one of the two graduate student representatives to the Washington University in St. Louis Board of Trustees; this is a year-long appointment.


The reflection component of the culminating experience comprises an impact statement and a project to be shared with the community about leadership in graduate education  (detailed below). In the reflection the student will demonstrate: (1) how the culminating experience has provided the opportunity to employ the skills learned through the content area programming, (2)  their own leadership style and how they have evolved as a leader through the credential completion process, and (3) how earning the credential has contributed to their future goals. The community-shared project will be published on this site for other graduate students, faculty, staff and community members to view.

  • IMPACT STATEMENT – a written document, approximately 500 words.
    • PRESENTATION – a 5-minute PowerPoint or Prezi presentation.
    • INTERACTIVE TEACHING OPPORTUNITY  – an instructional module on a specialized topic geared toward undergraduates.
    • VIDEO – a three to five-minute video production
    • ANOTHER PROJECT OF YOUR CHOICE - must be pre-approved

Submit completed application for Culminating Experience with the Graduate Leadership Credential.


Students will track credential completion via the Liberman Graduate Center website All other required documentation can be found on the Graduate Center website as well, including the Program Substitution Form and Professional Opportunity Form.

Students who complete the Graduate Leadership Credential will receive a framed completion document and badges that they can add to their LinkedIn profile. Each badge is hyperlinked to the Liberman Graduate Center webpage where potential employers can view the credential requirements and understand the breadth and depth of training that students have completed. Badges will be awarded through the Badgr website (


Students who may be unable to complete the full Graduate Leadership Credential, or who would like to specialize in a content area can pursue a Content Proficiency badge. This LinkedIn badge will be specific to one of the five content areas and will denote proficiency in that skill. The badge will hyperlink to a page on the Liberman Graduate Center website that provides an explanation of the Content Proficiency badge; learning goals for each content area; and a list of current workshops, seminars, or activities offered.


To complete a Content Proficiency badge, students must participate in five programs in the desired content area. Three programs must be those offered by the Liberman Graduate Center, and two must be offered by campus partners. For the two sessions offered by campus partners, students must receive preapproval from Deans Nguyen and Notaro via the Program Substitution Form.

Students will also need to complete a practicum, internship, or externship aligned with the content area of their choice (this experience can also be in fulfillment of academic requirements). In order for a professional opportunity to apply toward the Content Proficiency badge, students must receive preapproval (complete the Professional Opportunity form).

Students will then need to complete the reflection component (outlined above in Ic. Culminating Experience).

Submit completed application for Content Proficiency Badge


If you're interested in earning the Graduate Leadership Credential or want to learn more, please email Associate Dean Thi Nguyen at thi.nguyen[at] to set up an advising conversation.