President’s Leadership Institute

The President’s Leadership Institute is facilitated through the Office of Corporate and Leadership Development.

Polk State College has a long history of developing the leadership skills and talents of its internal stakeholders by providing professional growth opportunities for its employees. This effort has resulted in two specific leadership development programs that occur annually, the Empowering Leaders Professional Series and the President’s Leadership Institute.

The President’s Leadership Institute was refreshed in 2022 and aligned with the vision of Polk State College President, Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti, who notes that “investing in the professional development of faculty and staff not only benefits employees, but also our students and their success.”

This leadership development program is for Polk State faculty and staff and provides participants with the opportunity to expand their learning and experiential skills to develop a deeper understanding of how personal and professional decision-making can drive successful outcomes. Participants take part in site visits to statewide conferences and the Florida Legislature and engage in activities that foster the development of strong interpersonal relationships with classmates and mentors.  The program provides participants with the requisite leadership skills and confidence to excel in the workplace and beyond. A key component of the program is the College Impact Project which requires participants to research, evaluate, and address specific needs within the Polk State College ecosystem by creating targeted solutions via carefully crafted proposals. Over the years, nearly 50 of these proposals have been accepted and implemented, all with the goal of improving the efficiency and dynamics of Polk State College.

Class IV Application: 2024-2025
(Applications available: July 1, 2024. Application deadline: August 30, 2024)

Questions regarding the President’s Leadership Institute may be directed to Dr. Craig S. Collins, Associate Vice President for Corporate and Leadership Development, at or

  1. Benefits of Participation

    Highlights of the President’s Leadership Institute include a DISC behavior assessment with correlated workplace applications, mentor relationships focused on professional growth, experiential learning at conferences and in Tallahassee, local leaders as guest speakers, a cogent book study, and the enhancement of oral and written communication skills. These program assets serve to foster leadership-skills awareness and professional development opportunities for the participants.

  2. Expectations of Participants

    Each participant takes part in leadership-building opportunities that enhance professional and personal skills. The following commitments are required for program participation:

    • Attend monthly President’s Leadership Institute professional development sessions (participants may have no more than two absence opportunities outside the dates/sessions noted as required).
    • Complete an individual DISC assessment and attend required DISC session.
    • Execute an individual project as outlined below.
    • Attend a minimum of two Polk State College District Board of Trustees (DBOT) meetings.
    • Attend two Polk State College events (events to be determined by Class II) i.e. basketball game, concert, etc.
    • Travel to Tallahassee to observe the legislative session and interact with state leaders.
    • Attend Leadercast Lakeland.
    • Participate in the institute’s graduation.

    Project Guidelines

    Each participant, over the course of the program, will work alongside a mentor to both select and conceptualize a project.

    • Select a mentor of administrative level for the duration of the program (minimum) for guidance relative to leadership growth and your project of choice.
    • Develop and implement a project that has institutional impact, applicable to the participant’s current scope of responsibilities.
    • Monthly meetings with mentor.
    • Defend project before President’s Staff, administration, and program alumni.
  3. Responsibilities After Program Conclusion

    At the conclusion of the program, alumni from the President’s Leadership Institute alumni continue to:

    • Build on his or her experiences through further participation in the President’s Leadership Institute, various leadership opportunities, and the mentoring partnership.
    • Receive information pertaining to leadership advancement.
    • Share program experiences and assistance with future ambassadors through teaching, mentoring, and presentation events.
    • Assist with the program’s development by completing a program assessment and providing a written synopsis of how the program has influenced and inspired his or her career trajectory.
  4. Requirements for Participation

    • Be a full-time employee in a professional position at Polk State College.
    • Have a bachelor’s degree or certificate of completion for the ELPS program.
    • Be employed at Polk State full-time for at least one year in a professional position.
    • Anticipate remaining at the College for a minimum of one year after completion of the President’s Leadership Institute.

    Note: Previous graduates of the ELITE program are eligible to apply for the President’s Leadership Institute.

  5. Application Process

    With a supervisor’s approval and a departmental financial commitment of $1,000, an individual may submit an application with the required supporting documentation by the stated deadline.

    Note to Supervisors: By recommending an employee for participation you acknowledge the out-of-office time commitment of the employee for the dates listed below.

    The President’s Leadership Institute application, with all required documents, must be submitted to the Office of Corporate and Leadership Development by September 15, 2022.

    Required Documents for Application (to be uploaded as part of the electronic application)

    • A letter of support and endorsement from the immediate supervisor AND the Vice President who oversees the department that both comment on the applicant’s leadership potential and indicate support for his or her participation in all of the activities of the President’s Leadership Institute.
    • A resume that includes leadership experiences, education background, and community and volunteer activities.
    • A typed personal statement with reasons for applying for this leadership opportunity. To include:
          • How participation in the Institute benefits professional goals.
          • How participation in the Institute is beneficial to the College.

    Participants must commit to the dates below for participation in Class II of the President’s Leadership Institute.

    September 22, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Introductory Breakfast and Session I [REQUIRED]
    October 20, Session II
    November 17, Session III
    January 19, Session IV
    February 16, Session V
    March 22, Session VI
    March 26 – 28 (Tentative Dates: Tallahassee Legislative Visit)
    April 26, Session VII
    May 17, Session VIII
    August 1, Graduation [REQUIRED]

  6. Student Leader Scholarship

    If you are interested in donating to the President’s Leadership Institute’s “Student Leader Scholarship” visit