The Institute for Leadership Education is a well-established, internationally award-winning interdisciplinary program with broad engagement between the college and communities it serves. Leadership education and development is a foundational aspect of the Wartburg experience. Popular programs sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Education are the leadership minorCommunity Builders, and the Baldwin Leadership Fellows.

Wartburg College is one of only 25 schools nationwide and the only one in Iowa to earn a Carnegie Elective Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose.

Seal Carnegie Elective Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose 2024-30

Leadership Graduate Programs


The Leadership minor provides formal opportunities and acknowledges efforts by Wartburg College students to demonstrate and reflect upon the Wartburg definition of leadership. Students completing the requirements for the program graduate with a minor in Leadership.

Students pursuing the Leadership minor initially develop an individual plan with assistance from their academic advisor and faculty and staff of the Institute for Leadership Education. The individual plan guides meeting the requirements of the program. The end result is a written portfolio presented to the Director of the Institute for Leadership Education for review that demonstrates competence in seven required areas.

Each student will complete requirements in seven areas. The elements of these components may be met through various combinations of curricular, co-curricular, and activities within or outside Wartburg College. The Leadership minor can be designed and tailored to each student’s interests. Click on each of the following components for additional information.

1. Is the Leadership minor just like every other minor offered at Wartburg College? 
No, the minor is unique in that it involves three required courses (LS115 Exploring Elements of Leadership, ID315 Leadership Theories and Practices, and LS405 Leadership Portfolio Summary Seminar) and three academic courses from students’ course of study, as well as reflection on various student experiences linked to the components of the minor and compiled into a portfolio. Although similar, no two individual Leadership portfolios will be exactly alike. It is our belief that having common components of the program but allowing individuality and integration into students’ existing academic program adds rigor and vitality to the program, and makes it unique.

2. Are only first year students able to participate in the Leadership minor? 
No. Although it is easier to fulfill the requirements of the minor over a four year period, it is possible to complete the requirements within a two year period.

3. Are certain majors more optimal for completing the minor?
It is possible for any major at Wartburg College to complete the Leadership minor. Because requirements for majors differ, certain majors require more detailed planning, but every major at Wartburg can include completion of the minor.  The minor was designed to assure this possibility.

4. What are the benefits of the Leadership minor?
The basic benefits of completing the Leadership minor include learning what constitutes leadership, civic engagement, and providing opportunities for students to develop and practice leadership skills they can use for the rest of their lives. Additional individual benefits will vary greatly. Society oftentimes mislabels position as leadership. Leadership involves far more than holding a position. The program also assists students in making vital connections from the theoretical world to the world of reality. Finally, the Leadership minor is unique as an entry into a career. Virtually all occupational fields are looking for employees who have demonstrated the components of the minor. Completion of the minor will offer something on your resume, credentials, and transcript that set you apart from others.

5. Since the minor involves individual plans, does this mean I don’t receive support from the college?
NO! Although every plan is individual, your advisor and the Institute support you throughout the program for Leadership Education.

6. Will I have time to complete the minor with everything else I have to do?
Only you know how busy you are. However, this program involves taking three additional classes, two of which meet requirements for the Wartburg Plan of Essential Education. LS 115 meets Interconnected-Social Science requirement and ID 315 meets the Interdisciplinary requirement. Other academic requirements come from your existing program hence additional coursework will not be an issue. Completion of the portfolio will require time for reflection, writing, feedback, reflection, and re-writing.  This is accomplished in LS405 Leadership Portfolio Summary Seminar. In addition, development of the portfolio does not have to be done during the academic year.

7. The program sounds interesting, but I’ve never been much of a leader. Can I still participate?
Yes! As previously mentioned, leadership is too often narrowly defined. Our definition of leadership is broader and is based on making the world around us a better place. This means that leadership possibilities are far greater. Requirements of the program allow you to link what you’ve done (or what you’ll do) with leadership in ways you’ve likely never thought about. It is very possible that someone who does not view him or herself as a “typical” leader will benefit from the program.

8. What do I do if I want to complete the minor?
Begin by contacting one of the representatives affiliated with the Institute for leadership Education to learn more about this opportunity and its value to your education. You will also want to discuss this with your academic advisor to identify ways the minor fits within your other coursework. 

Select a component to view samples. Not all will have samples.

All leadership minor requirements and course descriptions are available in the online academic catalog.

To receive the Leadership minor, students will include as part of their portfolio a series of reflection papers pertaining to different requirements as specified in the program description and checklist. While students are encouraged to use this opportunity to demonstrate creativity and initiative, the Leadership Education and Service Committee also believes it has the responsibility to provide the student with certain guidelines to help meet the expectations. These are offered below. If the student has questions about the guidelines, s/he should discuss these with a faculty member affiliated with the Institute for Leadership Education.

In general, reflection papers should demonstrate the student’s skills of critical inquiry over a range of topics pertinent to the components of the minor requirements. We are often asked questions regarding the required length of these papers. While there is no standard, we generally see papers that are three to five pages in length, double-spaced. Having said this, the greater concern is with the content of the paper, not length. A complete and effective reflection paper will:

  1. demonstrate familiarity with the major leadership themes pertinent to your experience throughout the program and relate them to specific presentations, experiences, books, and articles.
  2. demonstrate your ability to write clearly and succinctly, and
  3. demonstrate critical thinking. This means you are accountable for what you write in terms of providing evidence and sound logic to support your comments. To effectively demonstrate your skills of critical inquiry,a. Be as explicit as you can in identifying the topic or theme about which you are writing,b. Explain how your topic or theme relates to leadership (be specific) and to Wartburg’s definition of leadership,c. Describe the process of learning through which your understanding of leadership was enhanced by this experience, and identify the kinds of learning you experienced.d. Identify what was most valuable about this experience, and what you would change if you had the opportunity to repeat this activity.e. Explain how this particular experience relates to other experiences you have had relative to the leadership program. 

“Throughout my experience in the leadership minor, I have had the chance to develop my leadership ethics, work in a variety of group settings, discover the importance of taking initiative, incorporate service as I lead, work in very diverse settings, and incorporate all of these characteristics in the other coursework that I have taken.”

– Ashley Lahti, Neuroscience

Baldwin Leadership Fellows recognize the many contributions provided by Mark and Peggy Baldwin to Wartburg College, the Institute for Leadership Education (ILE), and the leadership programs they support. The ILE selects four first-year students each year to serve as Baldwin Leadership Fellows. The term of the fellowships will normally be three and a half years. This includes attendance at the Air Force Academy National Character & Leadership Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado during the second year in the program. Baldwin Fellows, working with faculty and staff affiliated with the Institute for Leadership Education, will play a role in expanding the conversation about leadership education and civic engagement on campus throughout their tenure at Wartburg. The Baldwin Fellows come from diverse academic backgrounds and are passionate about leadership and service in the context of the Wartburg mission.


Michael Gleason

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies/Director of the Institute for Leadership Education

Kathy Dreesman

Office Coordinator, Religion, Social Science, and Leadership

Theresa Moore

Assistant Director of the Institute for Leadership Education

Kristin Teig Torres

Director of Student Leadership, Service, and Engagement