UMD-Smith Leadership Academy


Select university staff now have the opportunity to take part in the UMD-Smith Leadership Academy, a cutting edge leadership development program delivered by the Robert H. Smith School of Business in partnership with University Human Resources. Students will take courses from Smith School faculty in several subject areas: strategic thinking, project management, customer service excellence, financial acumen, negotiations, leadership, and impactful communications. In addition to the classroom experience, participants will also complete an Action Learning Project (ALP), in which small group teams of 4-5 people tackle a real-world business challenge sourced from UMD leadership over the course of the program. ALPs are intended to help participants synthesize concepts and apply learning from the program.

Each individual selected for the program will be a part of a group of peers who aspire to develop and enhance their leadership skills and who are committed to the vision, mission and values of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Who Should Participate in the Academy?

Rising and mid-level leaders. The program is appropriate for both managers as well as individual contributors working on projects that have an impact across departments.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Employee must be a full-time university employee (100% FTE) with a most recent performance review of “meets expectations” or above.
  2. Employee must have a minimum of 12 months of continuous employment with UMD prior to the application deadline.
  3. Employee must have a recommendation from their supervisor or senior leader and their supervisor’s  commitment and approval to participate in the program.
  4. Employee must have a demonstrated passion for leadership and commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the university.

Expectations of UMD-Smith Leadership Academy participants

  1. Attend orientation, all courses, and the final presentation session over the 14-week program period.
  2. Complete assessments, pre-readings, and pre-work. Participants should expect to spend about 2-3 hours on pre-readings and pre-work for each class day.
  3. Complete a team-based Action Learning project (ALP). Most of the work for the ALP will take place outside of class time. Participants should expect to spend about 3-5 hours per week for action learning project work outside of class time over the course of the program.
  4. Present final action learning project to your supervisor (ideally as part of the final half-day session).
  5. Incorporate learning from the program into your current position.
  6. Continue to fully meet the expectations of your current position.

Program Fee

In addition to the institutional support, a fee of $500 per participant will be charged to the participant’s department for the academy, materials, and a graduation luncheon. 

Selection Criteria

  1. Relevance of program to applicant’s current position
  2. Relevance to applicant’s future growth potential within their own department
  3. Strong letter of support from supervisor and/or senior leader
  4. Strength of employee’s written statement of interest
  5. Participant representation of the university’s diverse population across UMD divisions and the Robert H. Smith School of Business

Application Process

Robert H. Smith School of Business Employees Only:

  1. Verify with your supervisor that you are eligible to participate in the UMD-Smith Leadership Academy (See Eligibility Criteria)
  2. Complete and submit application materials by the application deadline to Smith School Human Resources at For questions, contact
  3. Application must be completed and signed by applicant, supervisor and/or senior leader
  4. The Leadership Academy Selection Committee will review applications and make participant selections based on selection criteria.

UMD College Park Employees not affiliated with the Robert H. Smith School of Business:

  1. Vice-Presidents will select the participants from their respective areas after reviewing all applications put forward by their leadership team. 
  2. Vice-Presidents will select a minimum of 2 participants from their respective areas after reviewing all the nominations from their leadership teams. 
  • Nominations must be made by the major unit heads and their leadership teams.
  • The nominee must complete and submit the application materials, including their ‘statement of interest’ detailing how he/she will benefit from his/her participation in the Leadership Academy and how the university will benefit as well.

Suggested Process

  • Vice-Presidents may decide to request that each direct report (department head) provide them with at least one nominee from their unit (with full and complete package of the nomination forms and application materials) by early June 2014.
    • Rising and mid-level leaders, who aspire to grow professionally and develop their leadership skills are the likely candidates for the academy. The program is appropriate for both managers as well as individual contributors working on projects that have an impact across departments.
    • Each Vice-President will select the final participant(s) to forward to the Leadership Academy Selection Committee by June 30, 2014 (based on the allotted spaces).