Skip to main content

Cornell University

Emerging Leaders Program

The Emerging Leaders Program is a collaboration between COE and the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) to provide an outdoor leadership experience to students in the EOP, HEOP, and P3 programs.  

Click Here to Meet the Emerging Leaders!

Student-led lesson in navigation skills

About the COE/OADI Emerging Leaders Program

Led by the professional facilitators and expedition guides of Cornell Outdoor Education’s Team & Leadership Center (CTLC), this 5-day course combines leadership theory with hands-on, experience-based learning opportunities – primarily with the use of an adventure-based programming and a wilderness expeditionary setting.  The first two days, students will begin their journey on Cornell University’s campus through a series of introductory leadership development activities, personality style assessments, and an action learning full-day session at the renowned Hoffman Challenge Course. For the remaining three days, the course travels to the Adirondack Mountains region to begin a 3-day canoeing expedition.  During that time, students will learn backcountry skills such as navigation, camp craft, hiking, and flatwater canoeing. Through their journey, the team will learn and practice team communication tools, decision- making models, and rotate through various expeditionary leadership roles required for a successful trek. Some highlights from the expedition include canoeing through world-class waterways, canoe camping in amazing landscapes, hiking 3,000 ft tall peaks, and experiencing classic Adirondack canoe carries. Upon returning to campus, the course will wrap up with a post-expedition celebration, leadership values exercise, and final reflection activities. The curriculum for this program is based on similar learning experiences designed for graduate MBA students at Cornell’s Johnson School of Business.

Course Objectives

  • Through experiential learning, increase your self-awareness as a leader.
  • Discover personal leadership talents and strengths within a group and as a team member.
  • Build interpersonal communication skills.
  • Learn to adjust leadership styles as the situation requires.
  • Opportunity to practice leadership in unpredictable and unknown situations.
  • Gain an appreciation of the natural environment as a place for renewal, personal growth, and wellness.

The Emerging Leaders Program includes:

Leadership through Teambuilding

An all-day training at the Hoffman Challenge Course on the low and high ropes course elements designed to build team skills and expedition group cohesion. 

Students outdoors holding hands and balancing on a cable 2 feet above the ground.
Supporting each other on the team triangle element at the Hoffman Challenge Course.
Group at the Hoffman Challenge Course
Ready for the high elements at the Hoffman Challenge Course.
Climbers ready!

Leadership through Self-Reflection

An on-campus leadership development workshop where students learn to work with one another and expand their leadership abilities through self-reflection and leadership styles exploration.

Students gathered around a circle of rocks inside
Exploring personality traits and behaviors through the Leadership Wheel Exercise.

Leadership through Transformative Outdoor Experiences

A 3-day canoeing and camping trip in the Adirondacks where students get opportunities to learn, practice, and lead each other as they navigate the lakes, rivers, islands, and mountains. 

Emerging Leaders at the top of Castle Rock, Blue Mt. Lake
Emerging Leaders on top of Castle Rock, Blue Mt. Lake.
Canoe huddle 2
Canoe huddle at the Marrion River.
Canoe carry
Classic Adirondack canoe carry!
Setting up camp
Setting up camp under the rain? No problem!
Warming up next to a campfire.

Click Here to Meet the Emerging Leaders!

COE also offers the following OADI Affinity PE Courses:

  • Basic Rock Climbing

  • Day Hiking
  • Recreational Canoeing