FIU Student Leadership Competencies

Student Leadership Competencies

Adapted for use at FIU's Center for Leadership and Service from the Student Leadership Competencies by Corey Seemiller.

  • History

    In Fall 2014, Florida International University's Center for Leadership and Service reevaluated their student leadership competencies to align them with research that had been conducted beginning in 2008 at the University of Arizona. After the 5 year study, which included analyzing learning outcomes from 413 academic programs from 49 different academic accrediting organizations affiliated with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, they added 23 additional accrediting organizations from the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors and the U.S. Department of Education. This resulted in 60 competencies with 4 dimensions each, knowledge, value, ability, and behavior. More information about this study and resources for all 60 competencies can be found at

    The author grouped these competencies into 8 categories, which CLS utilized as their new competency headings. The bullet points following the headings incorporate the competencies from the study that CLS intends to focus their programming on addressing, though many of the other competencies not specified may also be addressed by their programming. These focused bullet points have also been influenced by the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Competency Guide for College Student Leaders and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2014 Skills and Qualities Employers Value Most in Their New Hires.
  • Definitions
    Effective communication helps ensure achievement of goals. Student leaders have vast opportunities with varying constituencies to practice communication and learn effective communication strategies. When communication is a focal point of student learning, individuals will personally benefit and organizations will be run more efficiently.
    • Understands how to negotiate conflict effectively.
    • Ability to facilitate effectively.
    • Engages in active listening, non-verbal communication, and verbal communication effectively.

    Civic Responsibility
    Understanding of civic responsibility is developed through celebration of diverse cultures, advocacy for the needs and identities of all members within the community, recognition of the diverse communities within the campus and beyond, education and awareness of the concerns of those communities, and support of the ongoing inclusion, understanding and dignity of all members within the campus and beyond. Being able to understand one's own identity, as well as recognizing the similarities and differences of others, will equip students to serve and lead as citizens in a global society.

    • Motivated to act in a socially just manner.
    • Promotes diversity and understanding of others' circumstances.
    • Engages in inclusive behavior.
    • Understands the value of serving the community and being socially responsible.

    Group Dynamics
    Student leaders must understand how group dynamics function in order to successfully lead a team. They should also recognize that their role is to be a positive change agent, to influence others, and create a vision. Leadership is a process rather than a position. Leadership is relationship-oriented and situational in nature.

    • Values creating change effectively.
    • Understands the process of group development.
    • Awareness of organizational behavior.
    • Ability to respond to power dynamics effectively.

    Interpersonal Interaction
    Interpersonal interactions are critical for successful leadership. Student leaders often rely on committee volunteers to carry out the essential tasks related to providing programs and services. Their work is often supported by several on and off-campus constituencies. Professionalism, diplomacy and recognizing the support of others will enhance organizational effectiveness.

    • Understands how to collaborate effectively.
    • Ability to motivate and empower others.
    • Utilizes others' contributions effectively.
    • Develops productive relationships with others through mentorship and/or interacting with others appropriately.

    Learning and Reasoning
    Many of the issues that arise when leading a group involve a different level of cognitive thinking, which has student leaders making decisions, resolving conflicts, and reflecting. Students develop and apply learning and reasoning when they engage in event management. Student leaders should strive toward understanding the appropriate steps and issues involved in event planning and management that allow them to practice this competency.

    • Ability to understand the value of making decisions appropriate to each situation.
    • Understands how to solve problems effectively.
    • Articulates the value of reflecting on experiences to apply learning in the future.

    Personal Behavior
    Student leaders must role model social responsibility at all times but especially when representing the college/university. On and off campus behaviors should match the values of the organization and institution leaders represent. Establishing healthy lifestyle habits while in college also translates into healthy lifestyle habits after college. Balancing time between school, work, leisure, recreation, and family will help student leaders stay emotionally, physically, and spiritually grounded.

    • Places a value on taking initiative.
    • Motivated to follow-through on responsibilities.
    • Takes responsibility for personal behavior and acts in an ethical manner.
    • Demonstrates resiliency and the ability to respond to ambiguity and change.
    • Establishes healthy behaviors and satisfying lifestyle habits.

    Self-Awareness and Development
    Self-Awareness and Development offer leaders a compass to navigate through a variety of leadership situations and challenges. Student leaders should reflect and engage in the process of self-awareness and development to enhance personal growth and group effectiveness.

    • Understands the value in acting in alignment with my values.
    • Motivated to engage in self-development.
    • Willingness to enhance understanding of self.

    Strategic Planning
    Student leadership can play a significant role toward enhancing opportunities following the undergraduate experience. Student leaders have a unique opportunity to learn and practice effective strategic planning through event management. Student leaders should also consider early and frequently educational and position requirements for the work they hope to do upon completion of their formal education. Timely consideration and reflection will allow the student to utilize campus leadership opportunities to hone the skills and competencies necessary for their career choice.

    • Ability to articulate goals effectively.
    • Understands how to develop a mission and vision effectively.
    • Identifies importance of professional development.
  • Resources




Modesto Maidique Campus
GC 242

Fax 305-348-5058


Student Office, MMC
GC 2210


Biscayne Bay Campus
WUC 353


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