As a graduate student at NYU, you are already working at the leading edges of scholarship in your field. You have practiced leadership by taking on the tremendous task of turning an idea — your research interests or prospectus — into a thing (a thesis or a dissertation!) that exists in the world. Earning your graduate degree requires immense resourcefulness and initiative as you design your project and gather data. It also requires collaboration and empathy as you work effectively with your research team, peers, and committee members.
Leadership & Collaboration
These practices of leadership inherent in your degree also extend to broader contexts. Leadership and collaboration, more broadly defined, include taking the initiative to turn an idea into reality, working effectively with collaborators to bring about a common goal, and building up others in the process. Building leadership and teamwork skills allows you to be more effective and inclusive colleagues in your future departments and work environments.
There are many ways to practice leadership during your time at NYU. You could apply your scholarship to the needs of businesses or community organizations in the role of team member, consultant or advisor. You could organize an annual graduate student conference with your colleagues, serve as a graduate representative in your department or your field's professional organization, or get involved in an external organization related to your goals or interests. The leadership and collaboration skillset begins with exploring your strengths and interests and finding where you can make a powerful contribution as you get involved.
To strengthen your leadership skills: take initiative to serve where you're rooted; collaborate to innovate; give back as a mentor; and continue to learn and grow.
Leadership & Collaboration competencies in practice
The best way to start leading is to take initiative where you're rooted. Serve as a graduate representative in your department, a student group, or your field's professional organization. Join the advisory board of an NYU department or an external organization. As you partake in the life of your department, school, or larger NYU and NYC community, you will begin to discover what drives you and where you can make a difference.
Fellowships. NYU offers specific practice-based fellowships that connect students to community needs. The Public Humanities Initiative Doctoral Fellowship is a year-long fellowship that matches humanities PhDs with public institutions in NYC. The Urban Democracy Lab funds fellows to take on community-engaged research projects in partnership with urban social justice organizations. NYU also sponsors membership to The New York Academy of Sciences, which spearheads programs, initiatives and jobs that promote science for the public. The Social Sector Leadership Diversity Fellows is an 18-month cohort-based leadership fellowship whose vision is to eliminate the racial leadership gap in the social sector.
Even though writing and defending your dissertation may seem like a largely independent process, building teamwork into your project allows for both greater mutual support and creative innovation. Start a working group to workshop your writing and create accountability, especially in the dissertation phase. Attend academic or social events around campus or join communities like the Dissertation Writing Intensive to meet like-minded colleagues. Together, organize a conference, exhibition, event, or edited volume.
Cross-Team & Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Working together to bring ideas into the world also doesn't end at your dissertation. How do you bridge your research interests with what you would like to see happen in the world? What new ideas emerge from your synergy with your colleagues? Collaborative opportunities available at NYU include the NYU Center for the Humanities' Bennett-Polonsky Humanities Labs, in which PhD students and faculty work together to found interdisciplinary labs or innovative research, and the NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge. In fact, NYU offers several opportunities for venture funding and competitions, including for women founders and education-based ventures. As you work with others, don't forget to take time to reflect: What do you like most or least about teamwork? Is there a particular role you most enjoying playing? How do your strengths make you a more inclusive leader?
Student Orgs. Explore NYU Engage, NYU's portal to all things student-org related. Register your organization with NYU for perks like access to meeting spaces. NYU also offers funding for student-led initiatives through Graduate Student Organization Grants (GSOG).
One of the most meaningful ways to practice leadership is by building into your community as a mentor. What knowledge and wisdom have you gained in your time at NYU that you would like to pass on? How would you like to support others in their life and career paths? There are many ways for doctoral students to walk alongside colleagues or undergraduate students, whether through NYU's many mentoring programs or through the classroom as a teaching assistant or adjunct instructor.
Teaching. Teaching at NYU creates unique opportunities for formal and informal mentorship. Teach in your department, the College Core Curriculum, H-Labs, or through Speaking Freely. (See the Communication competency for more on teaching).
Mentorship Programs. NYU offers several built-in opportunities to mentor undergraduate students and graduate student colleagues. The Diversity Undergraduate Research Incubator is a summer program that matches underrepresented/underserved undergraduates with a doctoral mentor. Mentors guide students through an original research project in any field. The GSAS Mentorship Program connects senior and junior PhD students to provide support and advice and to build community. For other ways to get involved, check out NYU's list of mentorship opportunities.
- As you put leadership into action and explore where you can make a contribution, continue to hone your leadership skills. Attending seminars, workshops and bootcamps can help you to grow as an inclusive, equitable, and effective leader.
Learn about Leadership. Leadership Essentials: An Online Series — developed by the NYU Leadership Initiative — is a course that offers modules and personalized feedback for leadership support. Go at your own pace through the three modules. The Advanced Certificate in Management and Public Humanities offers a 20-point coursework program (Theorizing the Public Humanities, Practicing Humanities in Public, and one elective) focused on preparing Humanities PhDs to lead in the public sphere.