What We Are And What We Can Be: On Leadership Expectations Among Graduate Students (GSC Session)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA 2022) Graduate Student Caucus
contact email: 

The shifting landscape of academia has necessitated that leadership approaches and leadership training also be adapted to remain abreast with the rapid changes taking place in the world. While the impact of neoliberal trends in the university would lead one to believe in the primacy of maximum self-actualization to improve one’s prospects in a hypercompetitive market, there also exists a strong counter-ideological movement that aims to develop servant-leaders who would pave the way for ethical decision making, public-oriented activity, and participatory management. From a graduate student point of view, expectations of leadership now extend beyond training to be classroom leaders or even field leaders (i.e., professors and scholars) to include being leaders in administration, industry, or community life.


This GSC-sponsored roundtable seeks to bridge traditional notions of graduate school with active leadership training frameworks that seek to develop engaged graduate students who could take the reins and influence positive change in various contexts in and out of academia. To this end, we invite participants who could speak to both conventional and creative ways that graduate students could or should be trained to be competent, committed, compassionate, and service-oriented leaders. Of special interest would be presentations that provide insight on how to carve out graduate student-initiated opportunities for developmental leadership training within existing academic programs. Other possible discussion points include:

- pragmatic suggestions and examples on integrating leadership development into graduate curricula;

- overcoming leadership challenges when transitioning to professional fields;

- translating content knowledge and academic skills into leadership opportunities;

- retooling academic networks for leadership success;

- participating in social entrepreneurship, corporate responsibility, and public intellectualism;

- critical reflections and interventions on leadership practices or frameworks within academic contexts (e.g., administrative leadership expectations among late-career academics; “public service” requirements for tenure, etc.)

- Involvement with committee work and service to professional organizations that contribute toward the development of a robust public humanities


Please submit proposals of 250-300 words, with a bio of at most 100 words, on how you intend to address one or more of the talking points above.


This is a GSC-sponsored session proposal. Non-GSC officers may be tapped to be co-chairs. 

Please submit abstracts to https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19324