Preparing Cadets for Leadership After VMI

Are you looking to develop your leadership skills and become a successful leader in various sectors? Look no further than Virginia Military Institute (VMI). Founded in 1839, VMI’s honor, character, and service core values prepare cadets to tackle complex challenges and serve society. VMI enhances its “whole person” approach to undergraduate education through programs available at the Center for Leadership and Ethics. Established in 2009, the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics offers character and leader development programs emphasizing academic and experiential learning opportunities. 

Leadership in Organizations Course

The interdisciplinary LEAD 344 course focuses on leadership in an organizational context, integrating theory and practice. Cadets learn how to influence subordinates indirectly through organizational systems and procedures, organizational culture, and ethical climate. The course also encourages cadets to reflect upon and apply their knowledge to their experiences as leaders and followers in the Corps of Cadets and ROTC curricula.


Leadership Publications

Clickable thumbnail image of PDF booklet

VMI Leader Journey

The VMI Leader Journey is a leadership development system that incorporates the Institute's core values -- honor, character, and service -- practiced in an environment stressing civility. This document provides an overview of the cadet's four-year journey of "whole person" development across our academic, physical development, and military programs.


Photo of cadets marching in line in full uniform.

Leadership Opportunity Inventory

This document outlines opportunities available to cadets across the four-year VMI experience and demonstrates that cadets seeking opportunities will find them. In addition, it provides a foundation for a structured and formalized cadet leader development system, identifying cadet development goals and the methods by which those goals are attained.


The VMI Leader-in-Residence (LIR) program brings to VMI leaders of character whose distinguished careers within the military and/or private sector exemplify the citizen-soldier model.

Annually, the LIR conducts a “residency" at the Institute over several dates.  During visits, the LIR interacts with cadets, faculty, and staff in various formal and informal settings, including the classroom, barracks, and athletic activities such as club sports.  Additionally, the LIR delivers one major presentation, open to the public, on a topic related broadly to leadership.


Core Progressive Professional Development for Faculty and Staff at VMI

Our Center provides 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 staff and faculty, and
  • incorporates critical thinking and reflection opportunities.  

For more information on these programs, please contact Lt. Col. Tucker, Ph. D., Assistant Director, Leadership and Character Development, at tuckerpa@vmi.edu or X7799.

Accelerating Professional and Personal Success is a core developmental sequence for incoming faculty and staff members that reinforces 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/workplace.

  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 self-awareness of active listening tendencies and communication styles; apply active listening and communication techniques to enhance personal / group effectiveness.
    4. Comprehend and reenact how to elicit and give feedback to develop productive professional relationships within VMI.

Supervisor Training Success is a four-day program designed to improve the interpersonal and managerial skills of first-line and mid-level supervisors who lead teams and small groups at VMI. This opportunity is open to AP and classified personnel.

  • Candidates will take three self-assessments to learn about themselves, their self-efficacy, and their actions as a leader within VMI’s culture.
    • leader motivation
    • core values
    • self-confidence 
  • Candidates will understand the interplay of factors and techniques for managing their time while making more effective, sound decisions as team leaders.
  • Candidates will explore VMI's hiring process and performance management process.
  • Candidates will learn how to create strong teams and assist members in coping with change during the team formation process.     
  • Candidates will explore the basis of individual motivation while exploring techniques and strategies to motivate members of their team better.
  • Supervisors will assess their individual delegation style, understand how to select the right person for the delegated task, and successfully apply the delegation steps.
  • Candidates will explore the basis of individual motivation while exploring techniques and strategies to motivate members of their team better.

Lunch & Learn Seminars Success —This program will bring micro-learning to the department spaces upon request. These seminars supplement other professional development training offered by the CLE and focus on interpersonal and managerial skills for leading teams and small groups at VMI. Departments may request any or all of these opportunities.

Seminar Titles:

    • Who Said Administrative Professionals Are NOT Leaders?
    • Have You Checked Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Lately?
    • Is CIVILITY still ALIVE and WELL?
    • When Did Accountability, Answerability, and Ethics Separate?


    • Increase Team Cohesion
    • Enhance Collaborative and Teamwork Environment
    • Improve Communication

Continuing Professional Growth for Employees (Years 6-10) is a sequence of seminars conducted over an academic year. The course develops each individual’s self-awareness, ability 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 the StrengthsFinder instrument and coaching.
    3. To develop selected leadership and supervisory skills that can be successfully applied during committee work and daily duties.
    4. To understand and apply organizational leadership theory and techniques during seminar discussions and exercises.


Related Programs

Additional Resources

Self-Assessment Instruments

Self-awareness and reflection are essential to understanding one’s leadership style and behaviors. The following links contain a few key leader self-assessment Instruments that are free to the general public.

Self-Study Professional Reading Lists

The following professional reading lists (listed in no particular order) provide intellectual food for thought and reflection on a variety of leadership and ethics-related topics for a range of professions:

Associated Professional Organizations

The following professional organizations have resources available to their members on their websites.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders