What is the McDonough Center?

The Center was established in 1986 at Marietta College with a $5.5 million gift in memory of local industrialist Bernard P. McDonough. It offers a variety of activities and programs designed to promote the study and practice of leadership.

What is the McDonough Leadership Program?

The McDonough Center offers the McDonough Leadership Program as a powerful leadership development experience for undergraduate students at Marietta College. The program has been designed to allow the study of leadership within a Liberal Arts context with a focus on critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills. It has both a curricular (courses on leadership topics) and a co-curricular (leadership skill-building opportunities) component. Students in the program are called McDonough Scholars, and they can pursue one of five tracks (the Teacher Leadership Certificate – TLC; the Engineering Leadership Certificate - ELC; the Certificate in Leadership Studies; the Minor in Leadership Studies; and the International Leadership Studies – ILS – Major). The main philosophy of the program is based on three components – knowledge, action, and growth. We help you expand your knowledge of leadership, as you practice your leadership skills. In the process, you grow as an engaged leader on campus and in the community.

Why learn about leadership?

Regardless of the field of study that you choose to pursue at Marietta College, you will most likely face leadership challenges in your profession after graduation. Whenever people organize themselves into groups, the "leadership" question arises. Who will lead? Who will follow? What is the preferred leadership style used by the leader? How much power should the leader have? What are the ethical expectations in the relationship between leaders and followers? These are not abstract questions. They go to the heart of your role in any organization/community. By expanding your knowledge of leadership and developing your leadership skills, you will gain the ability to become a more effective leader in your organization and your community. Our graduates tell us that their participation in the leadership program really made a different in their ability to lead.

How do I get into the McDonough Leadership Program?

The McDonough Leadership Program is open to undergraduate students from any major through a selection process. Students apply to the program after they have been accepted to Marietta College. Acceptance into the leadership program is competitive. Only about 20 percent of the freshman class is accepted into the program each academic year. You can apply online through this website, or you can fill out an application form that the College's Admissions Office makes available through its general application package. The deadline for application to the McDonough Leadership Program is May 1st.

I'm a current Marietta College student. Can I still participate in the McDonough Leadership Program?

Yes, but we only accept up to ten sophomores into the program each year. Sophomores go through the same application process as first-year students, and they are expected to participate in the EXCEL (Experience Civic Engagement and Leadership) Workshop before the beginning of the fall semester. The McDonough Selection Committee will take your academic record at Marietta College into consideration when reviewing your application.

What will I do at the EXCEL Workshop?

Once you have been accepted into the McDonough Leadership Program, you have to participate in a five-day workshop on campus. This workshop begins a few days before the College's orientation for all new freshmen. EXCEL, which stands for Experience Civic Engagement and Leadership, includes an overview of the leadership program, informal gatherings, academic sessions, simulations, case studies, and outdoor team-building exercises. New leadership students are brought together in many different settings through which they get to know each other, as well as their professors. It is a time for assessing their own ideas about leadership, the ways in which they interact with others, and their preparation for the coming year of leadership study. Upper-class leadership students organize and run the workshop as part of their own leadership development experience.

What will I do during the first semester in the Leadership Program?

As a new McDonough Scholar, you will take LEAD 101 (Foundations of Leadership) in the fall semester if you are pursuing one of the following tracks: Teacher Leadership Certificate; Certificate in Leadership Studies; Minor in Leadership Studies; and International Leadership Studies Major. Students pursuing the Engineering Leadership Certificate will take PETR 101 (Engineering Reasoning) as their first course in the leadership program. The LEAD 101 course allows you to read and discuss the latest issues in the leadership development literature. The course, however, takes you beyond theory. You become a member of a team that develops a service project in the community. You are also assigned a community-service site where you begin to do volunteer work as part of the program's required community-service hours. The courses focus on four leadership skills: critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and oral communication.

What are the courses like in the Leadership Program?

The Leadership Program offers a wide variety of courses for students pursuing the five leadership tracks. All McDonough Scholars take the same core course during their first year in the program – LEAD 103 (Organizational Leadership). This course uses a seminar format with readings, discussions, and writing assignments. The small-class size (usually between 18 and 24 students) allows open discussion and active participation. In their sophomore year, McDonough Scholars pursuing the certificate/minor in Leadership Studies and the International Leadership Studies (ILS) major take LEAD 201 (Theories and Models of Leadership) and LEAD 203 (Global Leadership). In addition, they have to take a one-credit-hour course designed to further develop their leadership skills (LEAD 240). Students pursuing the Teacher Leadership Certificate (TLC) follow a different track. They take LEAD 210 (From Teacher to Leader) instead. This course introduces the TLC students to the main concepts in the teacher leadership literature. Students in the Engineering Leadership Certificate take PETR 101 (Engineering Reasoning) their first semester, instead of LEAD 101. This course focuses on critical thinking and ethical challenges that engineers face when leading organizations. The ILS major requires more extensive study beyond the core leadership courses, including liberal-arts courses (political science, religion, arts, and history), foreign language, and area studies (Asia, Latin America, and Europe). In addition, students in the major are required to have an international experience (internship, service project, study abroad) and a senior capstone seminar (LEAD 403) before graduation.

What is the role of "service" in the Leadership Program?

Leadership development demands that students both observe leadership in action and practice it; therefore, the leadership program coordinates with sites in the community and on campus to provide leadership opportunities for students. Because we believe that the improvement of community must be the highest goal of ethical leadership, students are required to perform meaningful community service in all five tracks. This requirement is intended to help students gain a better understanding of the realities of living in a democratic community and to observe and practice leadership as it manifests itself within an organization. During their freshman and sophomore years, students work in teams, a result of the belief that leadership is primarily a group process. In the leadership classes that integrate service into the curriculum, students working in teams discover that experience illuminates theory. A few of the strategies used to debrief the service experience include: defining leadership; defining mutual purposes; comparing different leadership styles; working beyond conflict; studying how the structure of an organization adds to or detracts from communication; observing how power is used; identifying which dynamics make a team succeed or fail; and pinpointing and solving problems.

What is the Leadership Study Abroad Program?

The Center's Leadership Studies Abroad Program is designed to allow all students to have international experiences that can be related to leadership themes. This program offers four main types of trips: (1) Travels to International Conferences; (2) Exchange Visits; (3) International Experience for the students in the International Leadership Studies major; and (4) For-Credit Undergraduate Courses. If you would like to be involved in any of these trips, please contact the Center via e-mail (lead@marietta.edu).

What other programs does the McDonough Center offer?

The McDonough Center offers a wide range of leadership development activities for students, including guest speakers, projects in the community, executive-in-residence program, conferences, and cross-cultural communication exercises. The Center also houses the College's Volunteer Service Program, which coordinates many service activities in the community, including the annual Community Service Day and Make a Difference Day. Leadership students are encouraged to get involved and take on leadership roles at the Center.