What is GC-ELA?

Our graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are developing extremely strong expertise in their disciplines. Yet the challenges our society is facing require more than just expertise, these challenges require a new generation of leaders who can build collaborations, work across disciplines, and forge stronger solutions from diverse perspectives. The Graduate College Emerging Leadership Academy (GC-ELA) is committed to developing these skills in our most promising graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. GC-ELA is a program that focuses on:

  • Leadership research, theory, and practice
  • Ethics
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • The effects of gender and diversity issues on work teams
  • Communication
  • The program culminates in a semester-long mentoring experience for each participant with a current Iowa State leader

Each academic year we gather a cohort of approximately 20 young leaders. We are seeking leaders with broad career aspirations in industry, government, NGO, entrepreneurship, and academia.

Group of GC-ELA participants and mentors
The Graduate College Emerging Leadership Academy (GC-ELA)
The Graduate College Emerging Leadership Academy (GC-ELA)
Four people sitting together in a circle discussing

GC-ELA 2024-25 Cohort Application

We invite faculty, department chairs, and Directors of Graduate Education (DOGE) to encourage graduate students or postdoctoral scholars in any discipline to complete the application form. Upon acceptance into the GC-ELA, the student’s/postdoctoral scholar’s major professor, home department or graduate program will need to pay $600 to cover the program's costs.

NEW! We’re pleased to announce that ISU’s Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities (CEAH), in partnership with the Graduate College, will cover the total cost of participation in the GC-ELA for up to 5 graduate students enrolled in programs in the arts, design, or the humanities at ISU. Please contact Dr. Matthew Sivils (sivils@iastate.edu) for information about the worktag required for application.

The deadline for the 2024-25 academic year cohort is May 15, 2024.

Apply Here

*If you have not already registered for PD@ISU, you will first have to register. Then, return to the application page above.

The Graduate College’s Emerging Leaders Academy (GC-ELA) was a great venue to meet other graduate students-leaders across the ISU campus, learn from current campus leadership, and engage in leadership activities and discussions. GC-ELA helped us develop the skills to build interdisciplinary collaborations and forge solutions from a diverse, equitable, and inclusive perspective.

Past Participant


"In GC-ELA, I have engaged in a different type of learning than any experienced as an academic thus far. In GC-ELA, I've learned about how I lead and interact with people. The meetings prompted self-reflection and thought-provoking discussions and activities regarding leadership styles. I already feel like a more well-rounded individual, both professionally and personally."

"I started this program thinking I have at least a basic idea about what leadership means. During the short period of time I was involved in GC-ELA proved how little I actually knew about being a true leader, and what leadership really means. I have learned more about myself, my leadership style, what strengths I bring in to a team environment, what are my weakness, how to overcome them. This program changed the way I view things in general. I learned about team building, communication, and the importance of being a culturally competent leader in a society which is vastly diverse. It was a delight to hear from the experts from different fields how they tackle problems, what makes them more successful, and what qualities we need to cultivate as future leaders."