Dean's Leadership Academy

Josh Wiseley did not speak up much when he arrived at The Ohio State University as a first-year student. He even found himself dodging potential issues with his assigned dorm roommate.

In his second year, Wiseley joined the Summer Dean’s Leadership Academy (SDLA) at Fisher College of Business. And that’s when things began to change.

The DLA helps undergraduate students across Ohio State develop their skills as principled leaders and earn a leadership certificate. Courses include topics on personal leadership and team effectiveness, organizational coaching, crucial conversations, negotiations and more.

This certificate is comparable to a leadership minor, said Jen Shanahan, DLA organizer and academic programs manager for the Fisher Leadership Initiative. What distinguishes DLA classes is a focus on experiential learning.

“Students role-play and team up in groups,” she said. “They also experience a significant amount of reflection and imaginative exercises.”

These experiences were particularly impactful for Wiseley, who is double-majoring in accounting and economics with a minor in mathematics.

Josh Wiseley
Josh Wiseley

“They helped me with not putting off difficult conversations and being able to resolve situations without too much damage,” he said. 

But the benefits he gained did not stop there. 

“I hadn’t served in a lot of leadership positions to that point, but I wanted to do something that would make me more qualified to take on some,” he said. “The DLA was my stepping stone into that journey.”

And it was that personal voyage that helped him find his own style as a leader. He became the director of recruitment for the Behavioral Economics Club. He also led community service events as part of the Business Honors Learning Community.

Shanahan said the DLA can help anyone at Ohio State craft their own personal leadership style, refine it and carry it into whatever they are pursuing.

The leadership certificate is highlighted on student transcripts, which catches the eye of many potential employers. It certainly has for Wiseley.

“My internship recruiters always bring it up,” he said.

Wiseley believes the certificate and his experience as part of the DLA will help him land a job after college.

The Dean’s Leadership Academy Certificate in Leadership is jointly supported by the Department of Management and Human Resources at Fisher and the Fisher Leadership Initiative.

Ohio State undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better are eligible to enroll in the DLA.

Students may begin the coursework by enrolling in one of the designated courses offered this fall and can participate in other experiences supported by the DLA as early as their second semester on campus.

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