Dean’s Leadership Academy at Fisher College of Business

Casey Miglin felt lost as a leader. As head of a student organization, she decided to develop her skills in managing the group and its members. She found the perfect opportunity through a summer offering of the Dean’s Leadership Academy (DLA) at Fisher College of Business.

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

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

“Students work in groups, role-play and undergo a lot of reflection and creative exercises,” she said.

2018 SDLA
The 2018 Summer Dean's Leadership Academy cohort

The certificate is highlighted on student transcripts, which many employers are looking at in search of candidates who possess solid leadership and communication skills.

“The Dean’s Leadership Academy can help anyone studying at The Ohio State University define their own personal leadership style, refine it and take it forward with whatever they’re studying,” Shanahan said.

Miglin was able to find that personal style. And that discovery had a large, and very positive, impact on her development.

“You have to really know yourself first before you can lead others,” said the third-year accounting student. “I really got in touch with my leadership style and where my weaknesses are. I developed more of a game plan for how to address those weaknesses. My confidence as a leader has improved.”

She wasn’t alone, as other students benefitted from the opportunity. Chansey Shen, a third-year accounting major, said she now knows herself better because of the DLA.

“I understand more about my values, visions and goals,” she said. “I think it’s really important to understand who I am and what I want to be in the future.”

2018 SDLA 2
DLA student Casey Miglin and Professor John Schaffner.

Shen now recognizes that the scope of leadership isn’t tethered to the workplace alone.

“A good leader not only lead his or her team well; he or she can also manage their life well,” she said.

Batmandah Mangalam, a third-year finance major, said DLA courses have been intrinsically rewarding because assigned weekly journal entries and reflections helped him undergo personal growth and strengthen his self-efficacy.

Explore the DLA

“I didn’t realize how big this transformational experience was until I received feedback and it made me realize how I’ve changed,” he said. “I’ve been able to create a presence and have my voice heard in a way that effectively influences others.

“With the DLA, students are able to create a leadership brand for themselves.”

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 participate in other experiences supported by the DLA as early as their second semester on campus.

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.