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LeADERS Q&A

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About 3,500 Old Dominion students received bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees during four ceremonies held May 10 and 11 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Photos by Chuck Thomas/ODU

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Program-Specific Questions

What is LeADERS?

Leadership│ePortfolio│Academic Internship│ Diversity│Entrepreneurship│Research│Service Learning

LeADERS is an Academic Experience, Professional Development, and Recognition Program:

  • Academic Experience: Students are encouraged to select courses in their degree program that are interactive, hands-on, and practical. This includes Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Research, and Service Learning classes and experiences.
  • Professional Development: Students complete a LeADERS ePortfolio to reflect on and showcase their learning and real-world skills developed from coursework and other experiences. Students also enjoy perks, such as priority access to career fairs, individualized and group ePortfolio support, and other events held exclusively for LeADERS Candidates.
  • Recognition Program: Students who complete their LeADERS ePortfolio and courses from three, four, or five different class areas of LeADERS earn bronze, silver, or gold LeADERS medals to wear during commencement. Students are presented with a LeADERS certificate and medal during a special ceremony, and they receive a transcript designation for their LeADERS experience.

How is the LeADERS program going to help me?

Research shows that students who participate in high-impact learning experiences, such as LeADERS courses, are more likely to be academically successful, feel a stronger sense of belonging at their university, and have better connections with peers and faculty members. This is why LeADERS was created to encourage students to take courses in the areas of Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Research, and Service Learning and to complete an ePortfolio.

In addition, employers want more than a resume from graduating students: They want to see what students have done. LeADERS Candidates will be provided with support in developing their ePortfolio, which they can then use post-graduation to showcase their experiences to future employers and graduate programs.

Lastly, students who participate in LeADERS will enjoy perks, such as priority access to career fairs, individualized and group ePortfolio support, a graduation certificate, a bronze/silver/gold medallion to wear during graduation, and a transcript designation with their LeADERS experiences.

When and how can I join LeADERS?

Any registered Old Dominion University undergraduate student can join the program at any time.

To join the LeADERS program please complete the LeADERS Candidate Interest Form located on the program's homepage at www.odu.edu/leaders. This is the first step in joining the program!

I received an email from the LeADERS Program. How exactly did I qualify ?

The LeADERS program has partnered with the Registrar to identify students who have completed 1 or more LeADERS courses. The program staff use this list of students to send targeted emails to students letting them know they already have taken 1+ course(s) that count towards LeADERS. However, any ODU undergraduate student is eligible to join the program.

What do I need to do to complete the LeADERS Program requirements?

To become a LeADERS Medalist, students must complete courses from at least 3 areas of LeADERS (Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Research, or Service Learning) and submit a LeADERS ePortfolio.

Students also must complete the following:

  1. Online LeADERS Orientation when first entering the program,
  2. Visit with an ePortfolio assistant, and
  3. Utilize the online LeADERS Program Completion Modules to finalize and polish their LeADERS ePortfolio in their final semester prior to commencement.

What recognition do I receive if I complete the LeADERS program?

Students who graduate from the LeADERS program will receive a graduation certificate, a bronze/silver/gold medallion to wear during graduation, and a transcript designation with their LeADERS experiences.

Is LeADERS a membership program, and is there a fee to join?

The LeADERS program is free and open to any registered Old Dominion University undergraduate student.

How much time will be required, and are there required meetings?

The required time commitments for LeADERS include:

(1) the Canvas Orientation,

(2) meeting at least once with an ePortfolio assistant, and

(3) utilizing the LeADERS eP template instructions and Program Completion modules in Canvas to complete the program's ePortfolio requirement.

Most students find that the online origination takes about 30 minutes to complete. The eP takes varying lengths of time, depending on the amount of work you put into it. Students are required to meet with an eP assistant at least one time, which could include visiting the eP studio during their normal hours of operation, attending one of the many eP workshops hosted throughout the semester (highlighted in LeADERS emails), making a 1:1 appointment with an eP Assistant, or using the option to submit an eP for review and video-supplied feedback. Students have the option to attend professional development events throughout their time in LeADERS, but it is not required.

Will being in the LeADERS program affect my graduation date?

Being a LeADERS Candidate should not affect your graduation date. While the LeADERS program is a valuable opportunity, the LeADERS Team never wants a student to take additional courses outside of their degree requirements in order to achieve a LeADERS medal.

Once I join LeADERS, do I have to complete the program in order to graduate?

Students do NOT need to complete the LeADERS program in order to graduate. If at any time a student wishes to be removed from the program we request that they submit an unsubscribe request. Please allow five business days for the LeADERS tab to be removed from your Degree Works page.

Do I have to complete all areas of LeADERS to finish the program?

Students DO NOT need to complete all of the areas of LeADERS to complete the program.

Students are only required to take one LeADERS course from 3, 4, or 5 of the LeADERS areas (Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Research and Service Learning) and complete ePortfolio requirements to receive the program recognition.

By when do I have to complete my LeADERS courses?

All LeADERS courses must be completed or registered for by a student's graduation date; in other words, many LeADERS Candidates take their last LeADERS course(s) in their final semester at ODU. If a student decides to walk for graduation prior to completing their degree, they are eligible for a LeADERS Medal; however, they must submit a completed ePortfolio for review prior to graduation and once again prior to completing all of their courses.

Who keeps track of the courses until my graduation date?

LeADERS Candidates and their advisors are able to track their progress in the program through the student's LeADERS tab in Degree Works.

I only have one semester left here at ODU. Is it too late to be part of the LeADERS program?

You can become a LeADERS Candidate at any point during your undergraduate career. While it may be hard to reach certain medal levels, there is a chance several courses and experiences you have had during your previous years could count towards completing the program.

If you are joining as a junior or senior standing, it is recommended you schedule a 1:1 appointment with someone from the LeADERS team to discuss your options. You can schedule an appointment by emailing us at leaders@odu.edu. Include your name, UIN, specific question, and, if you'd like to set-up an appointment, your meeting preference: Zoom or in-person.

What support is available to me as a LeADERS Candidate?

Academic Support: For assistance with choosing your LeADERS courses, you can contact your academic advisor or set up a one-on-one appointment with a LeADERS staff member. To schedule a one-on-one appointment, email us at leaders@odu.edu. Include your name, UIN, specific question, and, if you'd like to set-up an appointment, your meeting preference: Zoom or in-person.

ePortfolio (eP) Assistance: LeADERS Candidates have several options for getting eP help, which are listed on the eP Student Assistance website. Some of the options available to students include visiting the eP studio during their normal hours of operation, attending one of the many eP workshops hosted throughout the semester (highlighted in LeADERS emails), making a 1:1 appointment with an eP Assistant, or using the option to submit an eP for review and video-supplied feedback.

Events and Workshops: The LeADERS program and its partners hosts a wide variety of events and workshops throughout the academic year. You can find more information on upcoming events on the LeADERS Candidates webpage.

Are there prerequisites in order to join?

There are no specific prerequisites to join the LeADERS program. The LeADERS program is open to any registered Old Dominion University undergraduate student. While some LeADERS courses will have prerequisite requirements, the program alone has no such requirement.

If I am involved in other activities/groups, will I still be able to join?

LeADERS is open to any registered Old Dominion University undergraduate student regardless of the student's participation in other groups or activities.

Does this program come with scholarship opportunities?

The LeADERS Program does not currently have scholarship opportunities.

Will I have a mentor?

LeADERS is not currently a mentorship program.

Do I need to meet with an advisor or counselor to go over what I have to do for LeADERS?

There is no requirement to meet with an advisor or counselor for the LeADERS program. We do encourage all LeADERS Candidates to talk with their advisors about possible LeADERS courses when discussing their degree plans.

However, LeADERS Candidates are required to seek ePortfolio (eP) help at least once during their time in the program, which can include visiting the eP studio during their normal hours of operation, attending one of the many eP workshops hosted throughout the semester (highlighted in LeADERS emails), making a 1:1 appointment with an eP Assistant, or using the option to submit an eP for review and video-supplied feedback.

When will my LeADERS Program tab in Degree Works show that I have completed the program?

The LeADERS program tab will be marked completed in Degree Works after a student's LeADERS ePortfolio has been reviewed and accepted. This update in Degree Works may not appear until the week before or after graduation. Not having the LeADERS program tab marked in Degree Works will not affect an eligible student from receiving their Medal and certificate prior to graduation, nor will it interfere with a student's ability to earn their degree.

When will my ePortfolio be marked as completed?

The ePortfolio requirement in Degree Works will remain unfulfilled until your eP has been reviewed and accepted. This update in Degree Works may not appear until the week before or after graduation.

What do I do if I decided I no longer want to be in LeADERS?

If at any time a student wishes to be removed from the program we request that they submit an unsubscribe request. Please allow five business days for the LeADERS tab to be removed from your Degree Works page.


Online Student Questions

I am an online student. Can I participate in LeADERS?

The LeADERS program is open to all online students, and we encourage you to participate!

How can I find online classes that are LeADERS approved?

Courses that are designated as LeADERS-eligible courses are listed on the LeADERS courses webpage. Select the tab for each course area (Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, or Service Learning) to review the list of courses. *Indicates online course offerings are available

How can online students be more involved in LeADERS?

Students are provided with the option to schedules 1:1 appointments with LeADERS staff and ePortfolio assistants online via WebEx. In addition, most LeADERS events and workshops are streamed online via WebEx.

Do you do 1:1 appointments with online students via WebEx?

LeADERS staff and ePortfolio assistants are available to meet with our online students virtually. Instructions for scheduling an appointment with the LeADERS Team are located in the right-hand menu of this website. Instructions for scheduling an online appointment with an ePortfolio assistant are available on the eP Student Assistance webpage.

How do online students get their medal?

Graduating candidates that live out of town and are not able to attend the LeADERS Graduation Ceremony will have the option of picking up their medal in person or having it mailed to their out of town address.


Faculty-Oriented Questions

How does the LeADERS Program select LeADERS-designated classes?

LeADERS courses were selected for LeADERS class designations using the university catalog descriptions and additional information from faculty, departments, and university offices. Departments and faculty members that would like to request additional courses receive a LeADERS designation may do so using the Department/Faculty LeADERS Course Application Form located on the LeADERS Faculty/Advisors webpage.

I am a faculty member at ODU and think that one of my courses should be designated as a LeADERS course. How do I go about getting my class added to the list of LeADERS-designated courses?

Departments and faculty members that would like to request additional courses receive a LeADERS designation may do so using the Department/Faculty LeADERS Course Application Form located on the LeADERS Faculty/Advisors webpage. These requests are reviewed by Committee A in Faculty Senate and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Assessment.


LeADERS Course Questions

Is LeADERS a certificate program? Do LeADERS courses count towards my major or minor?

LeADERS is not a major, minor, or certificate program. Students should select LeADERS courses that fit naturally into their degree plan. LeADERS is an academic, professional development, and recognition program that provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their LeADERS courses within their LeADERS ePortfolio and be recognized during commencement with a medal.

Will I have to take extra courses?

No. While the LeADERS program is a valuable opportunity, the LeADERS Team never wants a student to take additional courses outside of their degree requirements in order to achieve a LeADERS medal.

How do I find LeADERS-designated classes or experiences?

Courses that are designated as LeADERS-eligible courses are listed on the LeADERS courses webpage. You can select the tab for each course area (Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, or Service Learning) to review the list of courses, or search for LeADERS courses by major in our curriculum guides.

In addition, once you have completed the LeADERS Candidate Interest Form, the LeADERS Team will add the LeADERS tab to your profile in Degree Works so that you may use this system to track your progress. Please note that this process needs to be completed manually and that there will be a delay between the submission of the LeADERS Candidate Interest Form and being able to see the LeADERS tab in Degree Works.

Am I able to count courses I have previously taken?

Any LeADERS-designated course that you have previously taken will automatically count towards your LeADERS requirements. A full list of these courses can be found on the LeADERS courses webpage.

If you believe you have taken a course that meets the requirements of a LeADERS course but is not currently listed or the course is part of your transfer credits, you can submit a Student Course Substitution Request form on the LeADERS Candidates webpage.

Do transfer credits count?

Transfer courses may be accepted; however, at least one area of LeADERS must come from ODU. In other words, students may designate up to 2 transfer courses for Bronze, 3 transfer courses for Silver, and 4 transfer courses for Gold. Students must use the Student Course Substitution request form to have transfer courses reviewed for LeADERS Program eligibility.

How can I tell if any of the classes I need to take in my degree plan would count towards LeADERS?

To find out what LeADERS courses fit into your Degree Plan, the LeADERS Team has developed LeADERS Curriculum Guides for most majors, which are located on the LeADERS courses webpage. These guides outline what LeADERS courses fit into each undergraduate major offered at ODU. Please consult with your advisor before making any changes to your degree plan.

The LeADERS Team is always available via email at LeADERS@odu.edu. You also have the option to meet 1:1 with a member from the LeADERS Team to discuss program requirements and selecting LeADERS courses that align with your current degree requirements. Instructions for scheduling an appointment are located in the right-hand menu of this website.

If I complete two classes within the same area of LeADERS, can that count as two of my LeADERS area requirements?

Students are required to take one LeADERS course from 3, 4, or 5 of the LeADERS areas (Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Research and Service Learning) and complete the LeADERS ePortfolio requirements to receive the program recognition.

For example, a student may take a Leadership, Diversity, and Research course to earn LeADERS Bronze. Conversely, a student may NOT take a Leadership course and 2 Diversity courses to earn a LeADERS Bronze.

Can I count the same course towards two different areas of LeADERS?

Students are not able to 'double-dip' with one course counting in more than one area of LeADERS. Each course has been designated to a specific area of LeADERS, and each course only has one designation. However, if a student takes a course that clearly fits into more than one area of LeADERS (e.g., a service learning study abroad course) and would like the course to count towards an area of LeADERS into which the course is not designated, he/she may complete a Student Course Substitution Request form for review.

What do I do if Degree Works is not showing the course that I want to count towards an area of LeADERS (if I have taken more than one course in the same area)?

If you would like Degree Works to reflect a different course in an area of LeADERS, simply email the LeADERS Team at LeADERS@odu.edu. Please share which area the course is in, what course currently appears in Degree Works, what course you would like to appear in Degree Works, and your UIN.

How do I receive LeADERS credit for a LeADERS co-curricular experience (e.g., Leadership Lecture Series, Study Abroad)?

Students may designate one area of LeADERS as a non-credit experience (e.g., Leadership co-curricular experience, 0-credit internship, etc.).

Students must use the LeADERS Program Student Course Substitution Request Form to have non-course experiences reviewed. Students must provide documentation and an explanation of how their course/experience meets the LeADERS Program Outcomes, and it is recommended that students review and implement Tips from the Committee that reviews these requests prior to submitting the request form.

Can I get LeADERS credit if I have completed an experience outside of the approved LeADERS courses (e.g., 0-credit internship, undergraduate research with a faculty member outside of class, etc.)?

Students may designate one area of LeADERS as a non-credit experience (e.g., Leadership co-curricular experience, 0-credit internship, etc.).

Students must use the LeADERS Program Student Course Substitution Request Form to have non-course experiences reviewed. Students must provide documentation and an explanation of how their course/experience meets the LeADERS Program Outcomes, and it is recommended that students review and implement Tips from the Committee that reviews these requests prior to submitting the request form.

How do I get LeADERS credit for a course that I think relates to an area but is not on the list?

If a student has taken a course that they feel meets the LeADERS Program Outcomes of a LeADERS area but the courses is not currently listed as a LeADERS course, the course may be considered for review. The student will need to complete a Student Course Substitution Request Form for review. Students must provide documentation and an explanation of how their course/experience meets the LeADERS Program Outcomes, and it is recommended that students review and implement Tips from the Committee that reviews these requests prior to submitting the request form.

Can I get Leadership credit for my leadership position/student organization/Greek involvement on campus?

Student organization/Greek life involvement does not count towards the Leadership area of LeADERS. However, students in formal officer roles within their organizations are encouraged to participate in the Monarch Leaders Retreat, which is a co-curricular Leadership experience option for LeADERS.

Please note, students may designate only one area of LeADERS as a non-credit experience including non-credit internships and other co-curricular experiences.

Why doesn’t my 1- or 2-credit course count towards LeADERS (e.g., 1-credit honors service learning course, 1-credit engineering internship)?

LeADERS-designated courses must be a minimum of three credits (or a combination of three credits among two or three courses). However, students may designate one area of LeADERS as a non-credit experience (e.g., Leadership co-curricular experience, 0-credit internship, etc.).

Students must use the LeADERS Program Student Course Substitution Request Form to have non-course experiences reviewed. Students must provide documentation and an explanation of how their course/experience meets the LeADERS Program Outcomes, and it is recommended that students review and implement Tips from the Committee that reviews these requests prior to submitting the request form.

If I took PHIL 230E, would that count as Service Learning? I saw that PHIL 228E was a LeADERS class, and they have the same title (Intro to Ethics).

Phil 230E does not meet the learning outcomes for LeADERS Service Learning courses. While PHIL 230E has the same course name as PHIL 228E, the PHIL 228E class is a special Honors College course section in which the students engage in a Service Learning project within the community as a part of the course requirements. Courses that are designated as LeADERS-eligible courses are listed on the LeADERS courses webpage.

What are my options if I can’t fit in at least three areas of LeADERS into my degree plan?

In order to graduate from the program, students are required to take one LeADERS course from 3, 4, or 5 of the LeADERS areas (Leadership, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Research and Service Learning) and complete the LeADERS ePortfolio requirement to receive the program recognition.

If you feel you can not complete the courses or experiences before your graduation date you have two options:

  1. Complete a LeADERS Program Student Course Substitution Request Form to request that a committee review work from one or more courses you have taken that are not part of the LeADERS Program to see if you can gain a potential LeADERS area designation for one of those courses.
    • If you choose this option, please keep in mind that many requests are not accepted and that you must review and incorporate tips from the committee that reviews these requests to ensure that you have a strong proposal that they may accept.
    • If you choose this option, you must do this before the automatic removal date stated on the website for current semester graduates.
  2. Or, if you wish to no longer participate in LeADERS, please complete the LeADERS Unsubscribe Form right now.

Does this count as a need for financial aid?

LeADERS is a voluntary academic program and is therefore not a requirement for graduation. LeADERS courses or prerequisites to those courses that fall outside of a student's degree requirements are not eligible for financial aid. Students should select LeADERS courses that fit naturally into their degree plan.


ePortfolio Questions

What do I have to do to complete the LeADERS ePortfolio (eP)?

During the Canvas LeADERS Orientation, Candidates either activate a new LeADERS eP template in either Wix or WordPress, or receive instructions for incorporating the LeADERS Program eP requirements into their existing eP. Please note: the LeADERS Program requires specific elements that must be present within the eP to earn a LeADERS medal. eP assistance is available to help you with your eP.

What resources are there for ePortfolio help?

LeADERS Candidates have several options for getting ePortfolio (eP) help, which are listed on the eP Student Assistance website. Some of the options available to students include visiting the eP studio during their normal hours of operation, attending one of the many eP workshops hosted throughout the semester (highlighted in LeADERS emails), making a 1:1 appointment with an eP Assistant, or using the option to submit an eP for review and video-supplied feedback.

Which platform will I need to use for my LeADERS ePortfolio?

For ease of use, LeADERS offers an ePortfolio (eP) template within ODU's WordPress and Wix platforms. These templates contain the required pages, with instructions pertaining to the content you'll need to provide. During a student's time at ODU, Wix and WordPress is free to use. During LeADERS Orientation, you will be guided through the process of activating your LeADERS ePortfolio, using a template provided in WordPress or Wix.

If you already have an ePortfolio (e.g., one you created for a class) that you would like to build upon for the LeADERS Program eP requirement, this tutorial provides instructions for Incorporating LeADERS into a Pre-Existing ePortfolio. Additional tutorials on this topic can be found on the eP tutorials page. WordPress and Wix are the eP platforms sponsored by ODU and most commonly used to complete LeADERS ePortfolios.

Do I need to make another ePortfolio, even if I already have one?

If you already have an ePortfolio on WordPress, Wix, or another platform, this tutorial provides instructions for Incorporating LeADERS into a Pre-Existing ePortfolio. You will need to add the required pages and content to satisfy the LeADERS ePortfolio requirement.

How much will my LeADERS ePortfolio cost?

During your time at ODU, using WordPress is free. When leaving ODU, if you would like to continue developing the website, adapting it to new purposes, you can easily export the site from ODU's servers and host it elsewhere. The typical cost for hosting a WordPress website elsewhere is between $5-10 per month for most services and sites; the average cost of web hosting for a year is around $110. However, many services, like WordPress.com, allow hosting with embedded advertisements (which can be turned off for an additional fee) for free. Tutorials for Exporting and Importing are available here.

Wix is always a free option, though a premium version of Wix is available for a cost.

Can the LeADERS ePortfolio be started before my final semester?

We recommend that students begin working on their ePortfolio (eP) as soon as they activate their WordPress template via the LeADERS Online Orientation. Students should complete each area of LeADERS once they have completed each course or experience related to that area. By completing the eP along with your courses and experiences, you will be able to reflect on those experiences more easily, and it will provide you with extra time for polishing your eP in your final semester.

Are there example ePortolfios that I can look at?

For examples of our model LeADERS ePortfolios please visit our LeADERS ePortfolio webpage.

Can my LinkedIn account apply towards the LeADERS ePortfolio?

At this time, we do not accept LinkedIn as an ePortfolio. LinkedIn does not provide the necessary structure for hosting, sharing, and displaying the content expected of a LeADERS ePortfolio. While LinkedIn does show the work history and connections of users, it is not a "showcase" of work and reflection.

Are there opportunities to resubmit ePortfolios again if they do not meet the LeADERS program standards?

Most LeADERS Candidates submit their ePortfolio (eP) within their last semester at ODU. Students are encouraged to submit their eP by the posted priority deadline to allow time for feedback and revisions if needed. The LeADERS Team also suggests students take advantage of the option to submit an eP for review and video-supplied feedback by an eP assistant. More information about this service can be found on the ePortfolio Video Support/Feedback webpage.

If later I wanted to set my site private, would I be able to?

Students who wish to set their LeADERS ePortfolio to private may do so; however, they will need to make the site shareable with the LeADERS Team. Please contact the ePortfolio Team for assistance. Instructions also are provided in the LeADERS Online Orientation and in the ePortfolio Resources in Canvas.