Fall 2020 Updates - Detailed information regarding protocols and scheduling for the Fall semester is now available. More

Center for Leadership and Ethics

Leader Development Programs for the VMI Community

Our Mission

The Center for Leadership and Ethics' (Center's) mission is to advance the understanding, practice, and integration of leadership and character development at the Institute and to share insights gleaned from the VMI programs with a broader national audience

Leadership Conference Small Group Table Discussions with Cadet FacilitatorsGeneral Dennis Via Leader in ResidenceCadet Pitches during 2019 Business Leadership and Innovation Summit BLIS

Mission: Educate, Engage, Inspire
Developing Leaders Who: Think Critically | Solve Problems | Make Ethical Decisions

2018 Wortham Speaker Milana Hogan VMI Students visit Hanoi Hilton in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam Alejandro Villanueva Addresses VMI Football Team Practice Courageous Leadership 

Program Mission Sets

The Center's programming falls into three broad mission sets: cadet Co-Curricular ProgramsLeader Development, and Strategic Engagement. These mission sets provide opportunities to develop new skills and enhance leadership learning.

VMI Ethics Team CompetitionCol. Gray interacts with Cadets in HI370L PS3442018 Leadership Conference Keynote Bill Bennett

 CLE Mission Sets promote experiential learning, peer leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills

Cadet Co-Curricular Programs

  • Cadet Superintendent’s Advisory Board
  • Intercollegiate Ethics Team
  • Leadership Book Program
  • Leadership Enrichment Opportunities
  • Leader-in-Residence

Leader Development

  • Faculty & Staff Professional Development
  • HI370/PS344 Pilot II
  • E-Publications:
    • VMI Leader Journey
    • Cadet Leadership Opportunities Inventory

Strategic Engagement

  • Conferences / Symposia
  • H.B. Johnson Distinguished Speaker
  • Caroline Dawn Wortham ‘12 Speaker
  • Courageous Leadership Speaker

Programmatic Theme for 2019-20: “Leadership in a Fractured World”

Throughout the year, we will explore our theme of “Leadership in a Fractured World” in our cadet programs, speaker events, and during our capstone event, VMI’s 10th Annual Leadership and Ethics Conference.

10th Annual Leadership and Ethics Conference

2019 marks our Center’s 10th anniversary. We will commemorate this occasion during our annual leadership and ethics conference and once again touch on leadership and ethical issues of national importance. The conference's goal is to stimulate cadets' critical thinking and refine their ethical decision-making.

This year's conference titled "Disruption: Challenging Leadership at Every Turn" takes place Oct. 28–29 in Marshall Hall and will incorporate internationally recognized speakers, table group discussions, interactive exercises, and an Ethical Leadership Challenge.

VMI Cadets, cadets from peer institutions, and senior military colleges, students from other leadership programs, faculty, alumni, and interested outside attendees participate annually.


Core Progressive Professional Development for Faculty and Staff at VMI

Our Center conducts progressive professional development programs and workshops to enhance interpersonal, teaching, and leadership skills.  This program reinforces VMI culture; provides attendees with enhanced self-awareness, includes some baseline leadership skills common to both staff and faculty; and incorporates critical thinking and reflection opportunities.  

For more information on these programs, please contact Maj. Dave Dixon, Assistant Director, Leaders Development at dixondf@vmi.edu or X7799.

Accelerating Professional and Personal Success – A core developmental sequence for incoming faculty and staff members to reinforce knowledge of key interpersonal skills fundamental to personal and career growth. These skills set a foundation for quality interactions with cadets, peers, and supervisors in and out of the classroom / work-place.

  1. Outcome: Understand and apply key interpersonal skills to enhance professional development and personal effectiveness as a VMI faculty or staff member.

  2. Objectives:
    1. Understand and incorporate Habits of Excellence as part of the professional and personal development plan.
    2. Define and articulate the Leader/Follower connection to enhance on-the-job effectiveness at VMI and personal effectiveness off duty.
    3. Gain a greater degree of self-awareness of active listening tendencies and communications styles; apply active listening and communications techniques to enhance personal / group effectiveness.
    4. Comprehend and reenact how to elicit and give feedback to develop productive professional relationships within VMI.

Continuing Professional Growth for Employees (Years 6-10) - A sequence of seminars conducted over an academic year. The course develops each individual’s self-awareness; how to influence other people, and leadership fundamentals that can be applied within academic and administrative departments.  The seminars focus on key leader and follower skills that enhance participants’ effectiveness in performing committee or departmental duties. 

  1. Outcome: Understand and apply key interpersonal skills to enhance professional development and personal effectiveness as a VMI faculty or staff member.

  2. Objectives
    1. Understand and incorporate Habits of Excellence as part of the professional and personal development plan.
    2. To assess and enhance understanding of their individual strengths by participating in StrengthsFinder instrument and coaching.
    3. To develop selected leadership and supervisory skills that can be successfully applied during committee work and the course of their daily duties.
    4. To understand and apply organizational leadership theory and techniques during seminar discussions and exercises.