Support for tomorrow's leaders

Scholar Development Program

The Scholar Development Program is a distinguishing feature of the Self Memorial Scholarship. Madison and Lila Self intended for the program to orient Scholars and to enhance their vision of potential professional careers. This program provides general education and training in career development, communication, 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 30 hours per academic 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.


Approximately ten Scholar Development Programs are scheduled each academic year. Each program is approximately two hours. Depending on student schedules, either a brunch or luncheon buffet is provided. The meal is one portion of the program and is followed by the selected presentation or workshop for that date.

The development sessions serve to meet core principles as defined by the donors and expand on the knowledge and skills, complementing the specialized education and training provided in their graduate program. Leadership 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. Communication coaching workshops help students build skills and confidence in communication through group and individual practice. Communication topics may 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.

Experiential Learning Project

Each academic year an opportunity is provided for experiential learning in which the Scholars draw from the development sessions for an executable project. Most recently the experiential learning component was in the form of a group project. During this group project, Scholars researched and made recommendations to KU administrators on programs designed to increase career pathway exposure for KU graduate students. In addition to an opportunity to use the skills learned throughout the year, this project allowed the Scholars to further their cross-disciplinary connections in small groups

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