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Leadership in the Collaboratory

Foundations of Leadership

Leadership is influence that enables others to bear fruit that will last in God’s Kingdom. It begins when your life is yielded to God and welcoming of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit so that His will for the world becomes yours. This enables you to receive humility to remember what God has forgiven you, vision for His preferred future, love for others and desire to lay down your life to serve them, and certainty of His ongoing work in the lives of others. Leadership begins with learning to desire what God wants, and matures when you receive a life vision from him and act on it: it is right desire, right vision, and right action.

Shared leadership principle

Shared advisor-student leadership is a core strategy for mentoring in the Collaboratory. In the traditional classroom, educators serve as the final authority on the content and direction of a course. Advisors in the Collaboratory are also educators, but their role is that of a player-coach, developing student leaders while also making hands-on contributions in their field of expertise. A primary task of the advisor is to work himself or herself out of a job by developing student leaders to assume responsibility, and by transferring authority and responsibility that is commensurate with students' maturity and ability. Early in the relationship the advisor will generally be prescriptive in directing the leader’s work, to protect the long term interests of other students and Clients (from rookie errors); but the goal is transition from the role of boss to coach, and from coach to delegator. The benefits provided to Clients are not more important than educational goals for students. For this reason, advisors will sometimes give student leaders the freedom to choose their own course and to learn from mistakes. Finally, advisors work to cultivate an attitude of humility among student leaders and workers regarding Client organizations and communities served, and an expectation that they will benefit from relationships with their partners in addition to serving them. Such humility is of course a lifelong lesson. The great work in every discipline is almost always the work of a student; one who is able to pay attention to and learn from others. Want to learn more? Student leaders and their advsiors are encouraged to read our principles for sharing leadership.

Becoming a leader or advisor

Group Leaders: What you can do now

Interested in leadership? With 100% turnover in student leadership every 2 to 3 years we are constantly preparing new members to lead. Here are 5 steps you can take now to become a candidate for leadership:

  1. Establish a solid attendance record and a reputation for completing your weekly tasks as part of the Collaboratory membership criteria.
  2. Go to a fall Collaboratory retreat.
  3. Read this wiki page about leadership in the Collaboratory, and visit the job descriptions page to read about qualifications for various leadership positions.
  4. Most important: Let your Team or Group leader or your Advisor know that you would like to be considered for the Leadership Development Class (LDC).

All Collaboratory leaders prepare for service by completing the LDC, offered every spring semester, so if you are interested in Leadership and have demonstrated the commitment of a leader then please ask a current leader to nominate you for the LDC this spring.

Appointing new leaders and advisors

Here are links to general guidelines for appointing leaders, and qualifications for various leader positions.


Visit the job descriptions page to read about the specific qualifications for various leadership positions.

  1. Must be a committed Collaboratory member.
  2. Must be able to attend the Collaboratory Leaders Workshop during the last week of August.
  3. Able to adhere to a leader's or advisor's contract.
  4. Christian testimony and evidence of a desire to grow as a disciple of Jesus, including:
    • Fellowship with other Christians in a local church.
    • Seek the mind and will of God through the practice of spiritual disciplines, including worship, prayer, and scripture study.
    • Desire to live a life of obedience to God.
  5. Desire to learn and grow with the help of others, and the humility to do so.
  6. Desire to help other Christians follow Jesus through faithfulness in their intellect, character, and actions.
  7. Concern for sharing Christ in word and deed with those who do not know him, and for stewardship of the creation.
  8. Committed to the mission and vision of the Collaboratory, and to dependable participation as evidenced by the candidate’s record of service.
  9. Understand the Collaboratory's probation policy.


Here are general responsibilities of collaboratory leaders and their advisors. Visit the job descriptions page to read about the specific responsibilities for various leadership positions.


Student leaders share leadership responsibility with the educator advisor assigned to them. With the advisor’s help their responsibilities are:

  1. To actively learn from an advisor and more experienced leaders.
  2. To participate in discipleship events and activities, including the Collaboratory Chapel, Fall Retreat, Prayer Breakfasts (and others not mentioned) and encourage others to participate.
  3. To participate in leaders’ administrative and development activities, including the Leaders Workshop and Leadership Team Meetings.
  4. To cast vision for goals that may span multiple generations of students, and secure buy-in for existing obligations and commitments of the project.
  5. To mentor peers, helping them learn how to work on a team, develop skills that support the work of the team, contribute faithfully, and mature as followers of Jesus Christ.
  6. To insure that the team provides thorough documentation between generations of students; and to pass documentation on to the next leader.
  7. To mentor his or her replacement.


Advisors are player-coaches to Collaboratory Groups and Teams. Their responsibilities are to:

  1. Mentor each new generation of student leaders for greater responsibility, and transfer authority that is commensurate with their ability.
  2. Intervene with student leaders to protect the long term health of the activity and interests of those served, while also giving student leaders the freedom to make and learn from mistakes.
  3. Function as a member with a stake in the goals of the team, making hands-on professional and scholarly contributions to the work of the project.
  4. Develop in student participants the humility that expects to receive more from off-campus project partners than they can give.

Where does the time come from to advise a Collaboratory group or project?

  1. The time allocated by faculty members to advise comes from their scholarship and institutional service responsibilities in addition to teaching load credit received.
  2. Collaboratory projects are also Christian ministry. For some advisors, ministry is justification beyond contractual obligations to the College for time allocated to IPC advising.

Approved on 2007 03-15

Leaders Committee: 2007 03-15
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