The Curriculum

The Sidney A. Ribeau President's Leadership Academy (PLA) experience begins with an intensive four-week summer program. This program gives scholars the opportunity to experience college life firsthand and to familiarize themselves with the Bowling Green State University campus and community. PLA scholars tend to perform better academically in the first semester as a result.

During the academic year, the program follows a curriculum designed to build leadership competence while developing skills to assist in academic success. Progression in cohorts, coupled with a thematic track system, encourages sequential learning and appropriate development. Therefore, students awarded the scholarship are expected to commit four years (8 consecutive semesters) of continuous enrollment at Bowling Green State University at the undergraduate level.

Study Tables

Academic success is the main priority of all BGSU students. To assist with the difficult academic transition from high school to college, PLA requires all first year scholars (regardless of incoming credit status) to participate during fall semester in their Study Tables Program. This program emphasizes the importance of achieving and maintaining good study habits and encourages improved time management skills. Furthermore, any scholar who does not maintain satisfactory academic achievement is required to participate in study tables in both fall and spring semesters until his or her GPA is above the minimum 2.75 program requirement.

One-on-One meetings

Each member of the Sidney A. Ribeau President's Leadership Academy is required to meet on an individual basis once a month with a member of the PLA staff. This personalized contact helps the scholar navigate through the academic, systemic, and social difficulties they may encounter at BGSU to ensure a smooth matriculation.

Leadership Forums

Providing structured opportunities for all PLA cohorts to collectively associate is as equally important to developing curricula for each cohort. To that end, the following components (not an exhaustive list) serve to bring together all PLA students throughout the course of the academic year:

Topical leadership presentations

Community leadership panel discussion
Collaborative scholar presentations
Women and leadership

Core values education
PLA alumni presentations
Study Abroad and conference presentations
Yearly community service project
On-going assessment and research


The Summer Program assists scholars with the transition from high school to college. Accepted students begin their PLA experience in July with an intensive four-week summer program, which introduces scholars to University life and sets the leadership foundation upon which the program is based.

Participants take college-level courses and experience college life firsthand. They read selected leadership texts and participate in seminars. Additionally, scholars take part in community service events and various cultural, educational, and weekend entertainment excursions. The program contains academic and co-curricular components designed to:

    Develop essential academic skills
    Create a foundation for leadership development and civic responsibility
    Provide an orientation to campus resources and facilities
    Ease the transition and adjustment of students to the college environment
    Serve the community
    Develop a support group of peers, faculty, and staff
  • Articulate the espoused values of Bowling Green State University and of the Sidney A. Ribeau President's Leadership Academy
  • Navigate the University campus with assurance and confidence
  • Demonstrate an initial understanding of basic leadership concepts and of their personal leadership style
  • Assess the value of the Summer Program through written communication
  • Self-assess gains in written and oral communication
  • Introductory courses with a focus on various aspects of leadership
  • Workshops – study skills, time management, utilizing the library, diversity and inclusion, stress management, healthy lifestyles, and individual and team development
  • Community service
  • Exploration of leadership development texts


The first year curriculum engages scholars in academic and personal growth, focusing on self-exploration and defining the role of the participant within the group dynamic. This year is the most critical for new scholars; thus, the curriculum was partially developed by colleagues in the First Year Experience Program and the Counseling Center. The goals of the first year curriculum extend from the Summer Program and take into consideration the educational, social, and personal challenges inherent in the first year of college:

Develop essential academic skills
Instill the value of student and faculty interaction
Develop analytical and critical thinking skills
Clarify values and explore ethical issues
Develop adequate oral and written communication skills
Participate in one student organization
Understand the link between leadership and service to others
Explore the purpose of higher education and the institutional mission
Provide an introduction to campus rules, regulations, policies, and procedures
  • Demonstrate ability to link the theoretical and practical aspects of leadership development
  • Demonstrate involvement in at least one student organization
  • Demonstrate knowledge of potential career paths
  • Articulate personal leadership style and philosophy of leadership
  • Cohort meetings – understanding your audience, group dynamics, enhancing academic skills, leadership inventories, writing a resume, reflection and assessment
  • Community service
  • Exploration of leadership development texts


The focus of the second year is on career and skill development. Scholars will be exposed to a variety of activities and programs designed to hone skills that are pertinent to their success as leaders. Scholars will also explore their career choices and prepare for internships and co-ops. The curriculum encourages students to refine academic, leadership, and professional skills--including oral and written communication-- to become active participants in student organizations and to prepare to be effective teachers as well as learners. The goals of the second year curriculum are to:

Refine academic, leadership, and professional skills
Refine oral and written communication skills
Become active participants in student organizations
Prepare scholars to be effective leadership teachers as well as learners
Develop relationships between scholars and potential internship/co-op sites


The third year continues the focus on career development while also advancing a focus on service to others. Additionally, scholars at this level begin to teach basic leadership development to others, gain advanced leadership training, and begin preparation for their final year in the PLA. Goals for the third year scholar are:

Share leadership knowledge with others in a structured environment
Become a leader in a student organization(s)
Articulate major points of various leadership theories
Participate in an internship, co-op, or alternative education program, such as Study Abroad
  • Demonstrate ability to assess data
  • Demonstrate ability to lead or facilitate a group to achieve its goals
  • Assess gains in written and oral communication
  • Articulate and demonstrate major aspects of leadership development
  • Participation in PLA Pals program (as mentors)
  • Cohort meetings – conflict resolution, ethics and integrity, communication, motivation, retreat preparation and planning, reflection and assessment
  • Professional preparation programs
  • Participation in a co-op or internship


The focus of the fourth year is dedicated to scholars assuming greater responsibility for their learning while preparing for their post-college experiences. A capstone presentation punctuates the end of the fourth year. Additionally, students plan the annual retreat and devise their own community service project. Goals for fourth year scholars are:

Develop a plan for post-graduation
Continue leadership in a student organization(s) while mentoring new leaders
Provide closure to the PLA experience
Develop and implement projects
Articulate the value of faculty/scholar interaction
  • Develop a plan for postgraduate experience
  • Demonstrate ability to link knowledge with values
  • Demonstrate ability to link academic and life experiences
  • Articulate tenets of various leadership theories
  • Discuss a significant relationship with a faculty and a staff member
  • Cohort meetings – transitional issues, reflection and assessment
  • Planning and executing group community service project
  • Planning and executing annual retreat
  • Planning and executing the senior colloquium

Updated: 08/03/2021 11:29AM