Presidential Leaders Fellowship

Presidential Leaders Fellowship Class Photo

Program Goals

The course is titled “An Introduction on How to Get Things Done in a Highly Complex World.” Students completing the Presidential Leaders Fellowship will achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Understand complex societal issues through the lenses of history, politics and economics
  • Take leadership in devising and executing solutions to aforementioned issues
  • Compellingly communicate the solutions, both orally and in writing
  • Work collaboratively and proactively in a team
  • Identify a personal purpose to guide ongoing personal, professional and philanthropic development


Open to incoming freshman (and transfer sophomore) students. Grade-point-average and test scores are not considered during the selection process.

Application Requirements

  • Submit a completed application for admission to The University of Tulsa by Jan. 15.
  • Submit the online Special Programs Application, with short essays, by Jan. 15.

Program Structure

The purpose of the Presidential Leaders Fellowship is to help students do the following:

  • Understand complexity
  • Become self-aware regarding personal strengths
  • Become innovative leaders who can implement solutions to societal, cultural or environmental issues
  • Produce effective work in team settings
  • Master project management

The fellowship is a program that challenges students to think differently about leadership. Professors guide you, not only toward becoming an effective leader, but also an effective team member. Through lectures and real-world applications, students will be equipped to lead by tackling interesting, complex social problems and designing and articulating solutions. The Presidential Leaders Fellowship is an opportunity to meet friends, build connections with future leaders, and begin to make a a difference in the community.

Students accepted to the program will be required to complete various assignments relating to the aforementioned program learning outcomes. The course has four components:

  • Orientation
  • Weekly classes
  • Development and presentation of three projects

Summer Readings
Three to four books will be selected each year to correspond to modules of the course, which are focused on complex social issues in current events.

Past examples include: Free Speech on Campus, K-12 Education, Populism in Oklahoma, Healthcare in the United States, and U.S.-China Trade Relations.

Prior to the first day of classes in August, fellows will participate in a half-day retreat for introductions and discussion of summer readings and the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, which all fellows will complete and analyze.

President’s Seminar
Each week, fellows will meet for a 90-minute class led by President Clancy and professors Terrie Shipley and Adam Seaman.

During the semester, Presidential Fellows will study societal issues with significant complexities in regard to economics, history and politics. In teams, fellows will work to identify possible solutions to these complex problems. For each module, fellows will develop and propose solutions in writing and orally to their peers and the greater campus community.

College Philanthropy Initiative
Twenty-five fellows will be selected through a rigorous application process for the College Philanthropy Initiative. During this one-year sophomore (and transfer junior) experience, students will identify and address a social issue in Oklahoma through the creation of an entrepreneurial action campaign.