Leadership Development for Researchers

Applications for the 2019 LEADER Program are now closed.

The next LEADER program will be held in the spring of 2019.

If you are a faculty member starting out in your research career, you are in charge of leading a team that will drive one of the most critically important professional enterprises of your life. Leading this group successfully will depend not only on the outstanding scientific skills you have honed, but it will also require a host of other skills. You will need to effectively manage a talented group of people, pilot successful collaborations within and outside of your group, deftly navigate the complexities of the institution, adeptly manage the inevitable conflicts that arise in a high stakes environment, tackle the challenges of running a small business, and inspire others to do their best so that your scientific vision is realized. 

If you want to learn to meet these challenges with more confidence, consider applying for the Duke LEADER program.

This interactive 3-part workshop is designed for junior faculty who are leading a research group. It will provide insight into leadership and team building as well as direction on how to develop and manage a scientific laboratory or research program, how to improve productivity, and how to harness creativity and innovation. It will provide tools to use in navigating conflict with confidence. This course provides a unique opportunity to work with a diverse and multidisciplinary group of faculty and to network with other researchers from across the university.


Program Overview

Course Goals

  • Develop skills to lead effective and successful scientific laboratories or research programs. 
  • Promote collaboration with peers, senior investigators, and research staff.
  • Foster innovation and teamwork.
  • Discover and develop leadership skills to increase personal and team productivity.
  • Learn to manage conflict with confidence.

Course Format and Tools

This three-part course will consist of individual and group exercises as well as lectures and discussions designed for junior investigators.  Leadership experts from outside Duke will provide much of the course content. 
Participants will be required to complete two personal inventory assessments online prior to the course:  the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Skillscope 360° Assessment (360). These tools provide an opportunity to receive constructive feedback that is strictly developmental, not evaluative.
The MBTI is a psychological instrument that will help you identify your preferred styles for gathering and processing information, communicating with others and making decisions. It is very easy to complete and will take approximately 25 minutes. Past participants have called this exercise one of the most valuable experiences of the course and it is important for you to know your personality "type" to benefit from the exercises in which you will be engaged. Instructions for accessing the MBTI instrument will be distributed upon course acceptance. Each LEADER participant will receive a detailed type report during the program.

The 360 will require completion by you AND by members of your team. You will be asked to complete an online self-assessment and to solicit a minimum of five other individuals to complete a comparable questionnaire about you. We will recommend that you ask people who you know well and whose feedback you cannot lightly dismiss to be your raters. You will be encouraged to ask a mix of superiors, peers, direct reports and others, as well as your direct supervisor. You will be provided with a confidential analysis of this rich feedback during the course, and will use it to understand how others view your job-related strengths and weaknesses, and to compare these with your self-perceptions. The tool is meant to provide non-judgmental insight about your leadership. This feedback, combined with the course content, should enable you to craft an effective plan to acquire the skills and experience needed to reach your goals.

More information about these tools will be given upon course acceptance.
Significant time will also be devoted to discussions and exercises around conflict management and difficult conversations. Participants will discuss case studies and will practice coaching in conflict scenarios. 



The LEADER program is a highly interactive 3-part course that includes lectures, small group discussions, group exercises, and personal reflection. Much of the course content is delivered by leadership experts from outside of Duke. These instructors have extensive experience working within academics and have received high marks from past program participants. The bios below are for the core group of course instructors. Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with senior faculty researchers from within the Duke community. 

Hile Rutledge, MSOD
Chief Executive Officer, Otto Kroeger Associates
View Bio
Cathie Siders, PhD
Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant
View Bio

Stephen Bogdewic, PhD

Executive Vice Dean, Indiana University, School of Medicine

View Bio


Participation in the LEADER program costs $1,500. Tuition for faculty with a primary appointment in the School of Medicine will be covered by the Dean's office. All others must provide information about who will support their tuition costs at the time of application. Tuition payments must be made via departmental charge (no checks or credits cards). This one-time payment covers all aspects of course participation, including administration of the MBTI and 360, meals during the course, parking, and inclusion in follow-up alumni programs at no additional charge. Click here for a tuition determination matrix to help calculate the cost of your participation.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria 

All junior faculty researchers are eligible to apply. Applications from faculty who have identified research as the principal focus of their career will be most competitive. Applicants must have the support of their department chairs in order to participate. A selection committee composed of senior Duke faculty will select the class of participants based on the following criteria:

  • Junior faculty beginning a career directing a scientific laboratory or research program.

  • Clear commitment to a research career.
  • Strength of personal statement in defining why the applicant wants to attend the course and why the applicant should be selected.
  • Commitment to attend the entire course.
  • Letter of nomination from Department Chair, Division Chief, Institute or Center Director stating a commitment to the applicant’s career and support for the applicant to attend the entire course. If the applicant's primary faculty appointment is outside the School of Medicine, the letter must also note who will cover tuition the costs.

All components of the application should be completed prior to the deadline. No components will be accepted after the deadline.

Application Details

Applications for the spring 2019 program are open. Interested applicants should discuss their potential participation with their supervisor (Department Chair, Division Chief, Institute or Center Director) in advance of their application to ensure their willingness to provide the required letter of support. Understanding that a three-day time commitment is significant for a junior investigator, this discussion should acknowledge and confirm the requirement that, if accepted, the participants must attend the entire course. If the applicant's primary appointment is outside the School of Medicine, this conversation should also include a discussion of who will pay the required tuition costs if the applicant is accepted.  Admission to the course will be determined on a competitive basis. Please have the following ready to upload before you begin filling out the application. You will NOT be able to save the application and return to it later.

  • 200-word essay describing why you should be selected to participate in the course
  • NIH Biosketch or CV if you do not have an NIH Biosketch
  • Letter of nomination from Department Chair, Division Chief, or Center/Institute Director
  • The name and e-mail address of the person who will provide your tuition payment (Needed only if your primary faculty appointment is outside the School of Medicine)

Click here to apply

Important Dates

Applications Open: Mid-October, 2018
Applications Due: December 3, 2018
Notification of Acceptance: Mid-January, 2019
Accepted Applicant Meetings: 

Accepted Applicant Meetings: (faculty accepted to the program must attend one of these two meetings)

  • Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 7:30-8:30, TSCHE Classroom 3
  • Thursday, February 7, 2019, 12:00-1:00, Thomas M. Gorrie Board Room, Room 1170B Yellow Zone Duke South

MBTI and 360 Due: 

  • MBTI - February 22, 2019
  • 360 - March 15, 2019

Course dates:

  • March 21, 8:00am-5:00pm, Great Hall, Trent Semans Center       
  • April 15 and 16, 8:00am-5:00pm, Hamner Conference Center, RTP
  • June 3-7, optional but recommended follow up coaching sessions in Duke South. Participants will register for one, 30-minute coaching session.




What Alumni Are Saying

Still have Questions? Contact facdev@dm.duke.edu or (919) 684-4139