Scholar Development Program

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 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.

Program Sessions

Program sessions are scheduled around Scholar academic commitments and include Skill Sessions and Communication Coaching workshops. Skill Sessions for the Self Memorial Scholars are one-day programs with workshops on communication, management, and leadership. Two sessions are scheduled each year. The Fall Skill Session is held in August and the Spring Skill Session is held in January. Communication Coaching workshops occur throughout the semester, usually with two programs each semester lasting about two hours.

The development sessions serve to meet core principles as defined by the donors and expand on the knowledge and skills provided by their graduate program. Leadership topics may include vision and goal setting, decision-making, teamwork, and collaboration. Career topics may include 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, interpersonal communication, and social media and communication networks.

Communication Coaching

Madison and Lila Self-prioritized communication coaching as a key component of the Scholar Development Program. They desired for students to develop good, effective public presentation skills to support their entry into professional careers. Through short presentation practice and individual feedback during coaching workshops with KU faculty, Scholars build skills and confidence to support their academic and career journeys.