The LEADERs Program

Partnerships in Research and PhD Education

The LEADERs Program is a new experiential learning initiative that integrates leadership and professional skills education with a research project linked to a Northeastern postdoc’s existing research assignment. The program—Leadership Education Advancing Discovery through Embedded Research—enriches the postdoc’s own research as they address the real-world needs of enterprises in fields from STEM to the social sciences and humanities.

Registration is now open for Spring 2023!

Apply Here

Are you a Northeastern Postdoctoral Research Associate student looking to know more about the LEADERs program?

Read first hand accounts from LEADERs participants about:

“The class helped me to form a good summary of my current leadership skills, and also see what skills I should improve in the future. Also, project management brought [a] number of tricks to better lead my projects at the lab.”

[The class introduced me to] “Leadership strategies and using the agile method in meetings.”

“It will help me be a better leader to undergrad students or master’s students that I work with.”

“I learned how to effectively manage projects and how to develop skills for becoming a better leader…. how to think and behave as a leader.”

“I got a lot out of the leadership training, and appreciated the chance to learn and talk about things that never come up directly in PhD work, like the types of power.”

“I learned leadership and team managing skills for when I (hopefully) become a PI, and an overview of the important steps in project management.”

“This course helped me have big picture about project management, and helped me learn more about my strength and weakness.”

“This course gave me a glimpse into project management, which is critical when becoming a principal investigator.”

“I learned how to initiate a project, how to handle difficulties in the project., and how to work more effectively with other team members.”

“The challenge project laid down a foundation for my dissertation. It helped me get from ideas to actual content written on paper.”

“I’ve learned tips on efficient organization of my current tasks, and how to take on an active role in decision making and courage to negotiate my opinion.”

“It enhanced my systemic thinking when looking at a project; trying to understand what each stakeholder’s role is in a project which can help predict how certain events will affect others or cause them to react.”

“I will apply my knowledge of project management and its tools: building a team, risks, methods to execute projects, project monitoring and planning.”

“This course helped me reexamine my communication and negotiation with my teammates.”

“What I learned in this course will help me more effectively manage myself and others.”

[I learned] “How to be a better team member, especially how to interact better with my PI, my colleagues, and my students.”

[I learned] “The importance of communication.”

“Primarily, I learned how to change my view on the PI-student relationships, particularly, on managing up.”

“Irrespective of future career development, I consider this course one of or maybe the most effective course I have taken.”

“I am able to think of my research ideas more in an entrepreneurial way, which I think is important even for someone who strictly aspires to work in academia. It’s important for people to get out of the minutiae of research questions and think about how findings translate to real world events.”

“Advanced academic degrees are inevitably connected to leading oneself and others as well as with project management, therefore the whole scope of the course fits perfectly the needs of doctoral students as well as postdocs. Especially since leadership and project management classes are usually overlooked in lower levels of education.”

How LEADERs works with postdoctoral research associates

LEADERs can be beneficial to:

  • Postdocs who are looking for strategies to be more effective in their research groups as mentors to students or as project managers;
  • Postdocs who are seeking  professional development opportunities that they can use as they build their future careers; or
  • Mentors and supervisors who are looking to improve their teams’ ability to deliver results by tooling their postdocs with teaming and project management competencies.

Here is how the LEADERs program adapts to align with postdocs’ needs and priorities:

  • Postdocs apply / accepted into the Experiential PhD Leadership Certificate. at the form located at the bottom of this page.  This certificate is appropriate to any PhD-level research training program.
  • Leadership Certificate consists of 3 parts: (1) Leading Self and Others (PHDL 7600; 4SH) course; (2) Challenge Projects that earn (8SH of coursework via independent study-like challenge projects) credit towards the Leadership Certificate); (3) Seminar based reflection course “putting it all together”.
  • The program is synergistic with usual postdoc activities.  The Leading Self and Other Course is in addition to the postdoc’s regular activities.  The Challenge Project (8SH of independent study work) can (and should) be aligned with the postdoc’s usual responsibilities. 

Frequently Asked Questions

No!  As a University employee, the LEADERs courses are covered by your tuition reimbursement benefits.

While certain visas such as a J1 and H1B allow for participation in the LEADERs program, unfortunately Postdocs with an F1 visa on OPT cannot participate given the restrictions on work and study requirements.  Students on an F1 visa may seek guidance from the Northeastern Office for Global Services regarding their education options.

The 7600 course provides specific training on important professional skills that will be useful for any career, such as project management and leadership.  In addition, Postdocs receive individualized one-one-one biweekly mentoring.  These sessions provide an opportunity to receive guidance on career pursuits.

The Spring 2023 Leading Self and Others (PHDL 7600) will be offered in a synchronous online format on: Tuesdays 9:50 – 11:30 am AND Wednesdays 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

No, You may enroll and take only PHDL 7600, which is packed with a toolkit of useful leadership strategies; or, you may choose to pursue the whole leadership certificate as described in the Graduate Catalog here.

Postdocs who have a student record may register for the Spring 2023 course (CRN 34805). Most Postdocs do not have a student record and must first apply to the program here. Once accepted into the program and eligibility to study in the United States is confirmed, a student record will be created and LEADERs will register Postdocs directly. Postdocs may then register for future certificate courses on their own.