Support for tomorrow's leaders

Scholar Development Program

The Scholar Development Program is a distinguishing feature of the Self Memorial Scholarship. This program provides general education and training in career development and leadership to assist Self Memorial Scholars in their preparation for future leadership roles, complementing the specialized education and training provided in their graduate program.


Each Self Memorial Scholar, by accepting the scholarship award, recognizes the benefits of the Scholar Development Program and makes a commitment to participate. The program time commitment is approximately 15 hours per year plus any required preparation. To continue to hold the Self Memorial Scholarship, a scholar must make satisfactory progress towards their degree and be an active and full participant in Scholar Development Program events.

Development Program Events

Currently, program events include leadership development, career building, communication coaching workshops, luncheons, and a banquet at the end of the year. Since its inception in 2019, the program has continued to improve in order to meet the goals of the program.

Leadership and Career Development

As lifelong learners and leaders, Madison and Lila Self founded the scholarship with the concept that additional leadership and career training during graduate school would equip and propel ambious students into a successful career. The leadership and career development sessions serve to meet those core principles as defined by the donors and expand on the knowledge/skills that many students do not recieve as part of their academic trainingLeadership topics may include vision and goal setting, self-authorship, decision making, teamwork, and collaboration. Career topics may include negotiation, conflict resolution, project management, networking, and presentation skills.

Approximately eight professional development sessions are scheduled each year. Each event is approximately two hours. Depending on student schedules, either a brunch or luncheon buffet is provided. The meal is one portion of the event and is followed by the selected presentation or workshop for that date.

Communication Coaching

Communication coaching workshops are with KU faculty and is meant to help students build skills and confidence in communication through group and individual practice.  Scholars work with other members of their class and individually with communication instructors in the fall and spring semesters each year. Communication topics can include oral and written communication, graduate level writing, writing for the public, research communication, crisis communication, cultural communication, interpersonal communication, and social media and communication networks.

Scholar Presentations

An oral presentation is given by each student in the spring. This presentation affords current scholars the opportunity to: 1) implement the oral communication coaching material and skills they learned in the programming sessions; 2) present their research and to learn about the research of other scholars; 3) gain valuable feedback from a field expert; and 4) develop a skill set that can be used immediately in their academic career to build the confidence needed for future leadership and career opportunities.

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