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#5 Presidential Leadership Academy Graduate Assistant

Through the Presidential Leadership Academy ( at Penn State, select students will develop leadership and critical thinking fundamentals to thrive in an environment where multiple dimensions of an issue are explored, diverse viewpoints are welcomed and heard, and a fully informed and respectful discourse ensues that leads to sound action. Each spring, 30 rising sophomores will be selected for membership in the Presidential Leadership Academy. Students admitted into the Academy will represent the University in its entirety.

The Presidential Leadership Academy (PLA) offers one Graduate Assistantship for two years. This position involves an array of tasks and responsibilities involving the coordination and development of the PLA. The Graduate Assistant for the PLA works directly with the Director of the PLA and the Dean of the Schreyer Honors College.


This position reports directly to the Director of the PLA and is approximately 20 hours a week which includes some evening and weekend hours.

  • Oversee weekly blogging assignments and provide feedback on blog posts. This may include individual sessions in providing feedback, disciplinary meetings with students, and technological support.
  • Manage blog schedule and records through database.
  • Serve as teaching assistant for PLA classes and attend PLA classes.
  • Manage grade and attendance log for PLA classes.
  • Assist in the development of educational programming. This may include working with various student affairs units to collaborate on programming efforts for PLA, university community, and the PLA alumni society.
  • Assist in the development and planning of field trips. Attend field trips based on availability.
  • Contribute to the recruitment and selection process of PLA members. Graduate Assistant will present information sessions to prospective students and will be part of the admissions committee.
  • Collaborate with Schreyer Honors College Diversity Director on programming efforts and work with the student Scholar Assistant.
  • Serve on Schreyer Honors College committees as needed through PLA collaboration.
  • Assist in coordinating assessment efforts.
  • Hold regularly scheduled office hours.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Apply student development theories through advising students and development of academic curriculum.
  • An understanding of the process of collaboration with other student affairs units across campus.
  • Learn to work as a professional staff member in an academic college.
  • Develop an understanding of multiple aspects of student affairs with exposure to a variety of student affairs functions.
  • Enhance critical thinking skills, leadership, teamwork skills, and crisis interventions skills.
  • Develop an understanding and appreciates issues of social justice working with a diverse group of students.


  • Be enrolled full time in a master’s graduate program, preferably in Higher Education.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to work as a team member while also being able to work independently.
  • Must be energetic and a self-starter.
  • Teaching Assistant or instructor experience preferred.
  • Basic event planning and programming experience.
  • Experience with blogging and on-line learning tools.