Institute for Leadership Studies

Dominican University of California’s Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) is a leadership development center that incubates leadership learning ideas and actions. The Institute for Leadership Studies facilitates positive individual, organizational, and societal change. We believe engaged citizenship and socially responsible leadership are essential to effect such change. Our leadership development curriculum seeks to develop leaders, inspire constructive changes and organizational cultures through trusting relationships.

ILS serves as a partner to our campus and our community as we strive toward continuing to achieve our Dominican values of service and community based on knowledge and reflection. ILS partners with a variety of academic departments that offer leadership degrees, minors, and certificates. ILS is housed in the Barowsky School of Business, and serves the entire University, the Bay Area community, and beyond.


The Institute seeks to be nationally recognized as a premiere center for leadership development. It facilitates positive individual, organizational and societal change, engaged citizenship, and socially responsible leadership through research, education, and community services. It benefits business, government, non-profit organizations, and the Dominican community.


We help people become better leaders. ILS advances the study, teaching, and practice of effective, ethical leadership in our world.

Programming and Services

As a consortium of faculty and students, with business and community leaders committed to providing leadership development opportunities, the Institute serves as an incubator for leadership learning ideas and actions. It serves as one of the University’s portals to and from the community and business world to contribute expanding options for leadership practice, to facilitate constructive change in our society and its organizations. The programs and services offered are in four main areas: (1) leadership education and training, (2) leadership practice and community service, (3) Leadership Research Think Tank and consulting services and (4) public forums.

Research and Leadership Think Tank

  • Think Tank to advance leadership theory and practice
  • Faculty and student research
  • Research projects for business, government, and non-profit organizations
  • Leadership impact assessment and organizational analysis and intervention
  • Consulting services related to team building, executive coaching, meeting facilitation, and strategic planning

Leadership Education and Training

For Students:

  • Help in administering the undergraduate and graduate programs that include leadership courses in the curriculum and a minor in Leadership Studies: A 16-unit multi-disciplinary minor is offered to undergraduate Day and Adult Degree Completion students.
  • Leadership Consulting Projects that are project-based, and Service Learning, embedded in select undergraduate and graduate business courses, offering students practical experience by cooperating in teams on current business and community projects. Over the course of one semester, Leadership Practicum students collaborate in teams on actual business-related projects. Students experience the importance of vision, the relationships with one’s partners and the ethical behaviors that promote leadership effectiveness across diverse contexts.
  • Graduate students in the MBA program may take leadership courses.
  • Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute Leadership Training & Congressional Institute: Dominican has participated in the Panetta Institute student leadership programs.
    • Panetta Institute Leadership Seminar: The incoming President of Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU) attends a one week seminar at Panetta Institute housed at California State University Monterey Bay. Invitees are incoming student body presidents of 23 California State University campuses, Dominican University of California, and Santa Clara University.
    • Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program: Each year, through a competitive selection process led by the Department of Political Science and International Studies, one Dominican student leader is selected who is prepared and interested in serving our community, state and nation. The one-semester program begins with a two-week orientation at the Panetta Institute at CSU Monterey Bay. Following the training and orientation, the Dominican student intern is placed at a congressional office in Washington, D.C., where the student will work for the fall semester.
  • Global Ambassadors is an academic co-curricular program in partnership with Dominican's Global Education Office that supports international and domestic students interested in advancing knowledge and appreciation of world cultures and global affairs. The program’s mission is to promote international understanding and goodwill, while facilitating student’s leadership development.
    • Global Ambassadors also holds events on campus that build cultural awareness and exchanges that builds community among Dominican University of California campus members.
    • Global Ambassadors are trained as visiting Dominican ambassadors, to Marin County K-12 schools, sharing their cultures through presentations about their personal stories, and their country’s culture through such touchpoints as cultural norms, language, literature, art, music, history, geography, and visual and other artifacts, as well as their country’s perspectives on international issues.
    • The program offers Independent Study opportunities (BUS 3923: Leadership in Action) from 1-4 units.
    • Founded by the Institute for Leadership Studies, the program is a partnership with the Global Education Office.
  • LeaderShape Institute™  is hosted each year at Dominican University of California: A 6-day summer residential leadership educational program for undergraduate students aged 17 to 22. Named by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as an "exemplary program," The LeaderShape Institute™ is an intensive, energizing, educational experience designed to equip young adults to become extraordinary leaders.
  • LeaderShape Fellows: Graduates of the LeaderShape Institute™ who volunteer their time to work for positive change within the campus and the larger community by challenging themselves and supporting each other to be pro-active leaders of change.
  • Leadership Host Ambassadors are student leaders who volunteer to greet guests and assist in the coordination of Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies lectures, forums and seminars. The Leadership Host Ambassadors contribute their time primarily at the Leadership Lecture Series, featuring topics related to individual, organizational and/or social change inspired by effective leadership. Founded in 2003, the Series has gained a reputation as a premier series in Marin County and has opened Dominican’s doors to thousands of guests since its founding.
  • Rotaract International at Dominican University of California: Rotaract, a program of Rotary International, is comprised of a group of young professionals and students who are committed to making an impact in the community through service, non-profit collaboration, and networking events. Rotaract fosters leadership and responsibility, encourages high ethical standards and promotes diversity, international understanding, and peace.
  • Student Leadership Academy: Co-curricular training program offering Dominican students opportunities to learn and practice their leadership skills through formal training workshops, leadership practicum in businesses, government and community organizations.
  • Toastmasters International: Dominican Toastmasters is the on-campus site of a worldwide network of organizations, aiming to improve how we communicate with others. It is open to both Dominican students and the surrounding community. Dominican Toastmasters strive for better communication and opportunities.
  • American Association of University Women is a worldwide community that empowers women by advocating for their rights, researching and reducing social barriers, and delivering programs that give them the confidence and skills to succeed. Men are welcomed to participate.
  • Business Bakers Association is a community building club that convenes to talk about world events while baking delicious treats for the Barowsky School of Business and university campus community. The club is primarily comprised of Barowsky School of Business students, faculty, staff, and alumni; however students from any major are welcome to join and participate.

For Professionals:

  • Executive Education and Consulting Services in the Institute for Leadership Studies at the Barowsky School of Business has developed an ROI-approach to leadership development. The Executive Education Program is practical and research-derived. Businesses and organizations are much like individuals—those that constantly add new skills, hone existing competencies and boldly adapt to new market realities, are the ones that succeed. The Executive Education programs are designed for independent professionals seeking to enhance their skills; business owners or executives with teams to train, and organizations who need strategy and practices assessment. 
  • Leadership Certificate helps promising team leaders become effective strategists, communicators, and leaders. Each of the Leadership Certificate’s six one-day sessions focuses on a different leadership skill and includes hands-on learning techniques and measurable outcomes. The Leadership Certificate includes a capstone project called “Project Leadership,” in which participants design and implement a plan to address a strategic business need of their organizations. The program is designed for:
    • High-potential performers being groomed for advancement
    • Managers and directors seeking to expand their authority
    • Technical specialists seeking to increase their organizational impact
    • Entrepreneurs seeking to inspire their organizations to achieve goals
  • Professional Selling Skills Program is a three-day highly interactive and practice intensive program for professionals with technical knowledge and skills who seek to achieve successful sales of complex services or products to deliver substantive value to the customer. The program focuses on communication techniques used by the top 10 percent of salespeople as well as the skills necessary to build authentic and lasting relationships with your customers. The program features hands-on training in the five core sales interaction skills:
    • Empathetic listening
    • Needs-oriented questioning
    • Opportunity identification
    • Trust building
    • Solution framing
  • Performance Coaching is a four day program focused on how to manage team and individuals, finding the intersections between employee and company success. Our Performance Coaching course involves skill building to truly know one’s employees and demonstrate one’s commitment to them in a way that builds trust and enhances performance. This new model of performance management focuses on coaching rather than evaluation. Maximizing the performance of the teams and individuals requires knowledge, trust and commitment to their development.
  • Fundamentals of Successful Project Management is a three-day workshop focused on developing skills and processes needed to effectively define, plan and manage projects for project managers and senior team members. At the conclusion of the workshop participants will:
    • Understand concepts, skills and techniques needed to define, plan and manage projects
    • Have applied these skills and techniques to case study projects and situations in class
    • Possess improved project and task definition as well as estimation skills
    • Know tracking mechanisms to improve management and status reporting
    • Share a common project management language with their peers
    • Be better prepared to define, plan and manage projects in the real world
  • Custom Programs includes anything from tailored, on-site versions of our leadership, sales and coaching programs, to special courses and seminars developed exclusively for Barowsky School of Business client businesses.
  • Consulting Services can help evaluate a business’ market, people and corporate culture, and devise actionable plans for addressing the organization’s most pressing business needs and promising opportunities. Addressing rapidly changing markets requires purpose, clarity and discipline. Improve organizational performance in a three-step process: Right Focus. Right Talent. Right Motivation.
    • Right Focus: Make choices based on competitors’ and customers’ reactions to your product and service offerings.
    • Right Talent: Transform talent to be a competitive advantage in executing your mission.
    • Right Motivation: Create a culture of performance management that drives individuals’ efforts. By ensuring your culture is a mix of self-motivation and guided risk-taking, where individuals can find passion in their responsibilities, the organization will then be able to leverage the right focus and the right talent.
  • Business Edge Briefings Series offers breakfast forums for business owners and organizational leaders that highlight cutting edge business strategies and techniques for businesses to be resilient and competitive in the domestic and global business environments. The briefings’ goals are to ignite innovation, inspire creativity, and increase profits and productivity. The Business Edge is a partnership between the North Bay Leadership Council and Dominican University of California’s Institute for Leadership Studies and the Barowsky School of Business. Forum community partners include CEO Club of Marin, Marin Economic Forum, Marin Small Business Development Center, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, and Stanton Chase.

Leadership Practice and Community Service

  • Leadership Practicum, Consulting and Service Learning: Partnering with business, government, and community organizations conducting service learning projects to provide leadership and teamwork, practice opportunities and also advance socially responsible and effective leadership and team behaviors.
  • Marin Chapter of the World Affairs Council (WAC) partners with the Institute for Leadership Studies, and the Department of Political Science and International Studies offering a series of monthly programs on the Dominican University of California campus, in the Creekside or Shield Room. Each month, from August through June, WAC presents a lecture on a specific world issue, such as War in Iraq, Energy Crisis, or Palestine/Israeli conflict.
  • Leadership Learning Lab (L3) offers leadership effectiveness assessments, consulting and coaching services to leaders and their organizations. The L3 provides MBA students with a living laboratory for the study and practice of leadership development, while serving as a community consulting service to leaders of Bay Area organizations. Leaders of Bay Area businesses and non-profit and government organizations volunteer to serve as clients of Dominican’s students in the MBA, offering students leadership development consulting practice using a 360-degree feedback model.
  • Leadership Think Tank conducts research and convenes forums to advance the study and practice of effective leadership at all levels. Leadership Think Tank Scholars form a learning community, contributing to the academic literature and applied research, seeking to develop innovations and best practices that improve leadership and team development, as well as systems for constructive change in the workplace and in society.
  • Partnership with Latino FuturesSM: Latino FuturesSM is a vibrant initiative advancing Latino entrepreneurship and leadership in the priveate, social, and education sectors. Dominican University of California's Institute for Leadership Studies and Barowsky School of Business partners with Latino Futures, to engage in research, community dialogue, and education in which business and community leaders, faculty and students come together to break barriers, create valuable paths, and remove obstacles by engaging Latinos in all facets of leadership to build social and economic prosperity for America's future.

Public Forums

  • Leadership Lecture Series: Each semester, the Institute hosts public forums that actively engage the community in socially relevant discussions and calls to action. Dominican’s popular Leadership Lecture Series in partnership with Book Passage, features lectures on topics related to individual, organizational and/or social change inspired by effective leadership. These events are primarily in the Fall and Spring on a variety of leadership topics across multiple discipline areas and organizational sectors. The events are an opportunity to welcome our neighbors and friends to join our faculty and students as we learn of ideas and actions of leadership by individuals seeking to promote constructive change in our world and its organizations.

The Institute is led by a professor in the Barowsky School of Business and is supported by an advisory council of faculty and deans representing a variety of academic disciplines, student development leadership and community leaders from private, independent, and government organizations.

To access our website go to,, email (; or call events line at 415-485-3202.