Government Service Leadership Academy

The Norwich Government Service Leadership Academy:

Norwich students, both Cadets and Civilians, who dream of working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), FEMA, or the Department of Defense (DoD) can now participate in our newly developed Government Service Leadership Academy (GSLA).

The goal of the GSLA is to develop students to enter the government workforce prepared to help our nation stay ahead of our global competitors, whether by protecting our national security from cyber-attacks or developing new tactics or techniques to support communities in crisis.

What do students gain through the Norwich Leadership Academy?

Students in this program will get experience both in the classroom and in the field. These experiences will foster and develop leadership skills that federal, state, and local agencies need. Experts from various fields, including NASA, USDA, intelligence agencies, public health, environmental protection, and energy and infrastructure communities, provide fellowships and internship opportunities to our students.

Who is Eligible for the Norwich Government Service Leadership Academy?

All Norwich undergraduate students are eligible to join regardless of major.  Students must be full-time undergraduates and in good academic standing every semester they participate. While no student will be turned away to complete the required activities and benefit from the experience, joining no later than the first semester of the junior year is best. 

Why is the Government Service Leadership Academy Unique to Norwich?

When Captain Alden Partridge founded Norwich University in 1819, he envisioned creating an educational institution built for the challenges facing a new democracy. His vision is succinctly captured in the University mission statement from 1843:

“To give our youth an education that shall be American in its character - to enable them to act as well as to think - to execute as well as conceive - to ‘tolerate all opinions when reason is left free to combat them’ - to make moral, patriotic, efficient, and useful citizens, and to qualify them for all those high responsibilities resting upon a citizen of this free republic.”

Today, that mission remains unchanged. Making this vision come to life, Norwich University created a framework for building respected citizens and leaders with the skills needed to succeed. The University initially created this Leadership Development System (LDS) for the Corps of Cadets. Building on its success as applied to a military lifestyle, the Leadership Academies use Norwich’s well-tested LDS in an academic framework in conjunction with the University's vast experiential learning opportunities.

What are the Pillars of the Norwich Leadership Development System?


Norwich develops educated leaders known for their courage, determination, and positive impact on our country and world. Our graduates are marked by the belief that we succeed through our team's success and that the hard-right path is preferred over the easy wrong path. Professionals who build enduring bonds of respect and trust with their charges, colleagues, and superiors often secure that success. Norwich leaders are identified by the confluence of their knowledge and values, combined with the confidence to bring them both to life through words and deeds.


Since our founding, Norwich has provided the Nation with graduates of character and vigor capable of growing, improving, and defending the institutions of America and the philosophies that breathe them to life.  This capability has been born through the embrace of respectful debate, a thirst for knowledge, and a willingness to act when others hesitate.  Our graduates have made their marks in all fields of citizenship and have been admired for their willingness to explore the unknown territory of human possibility. 


Our graduates’ leadership abilities and deep understanding of the requirements of citizenship have earned Norwich a reputation for service – to our ideals, our goals, and the organizations and professions that reflect both.  The world has come to recognize that our graduates exemplify the virtues of self-discipline and honesty that build the trust required for organizations to do important things and improve the human condition.  The value we place on housing these traits in a healthy body with a sound mind arms our graduates with the strength to thrive under adversity and the resilience to persevere through challenges and setbacks.  Our “I Will Try” motto encapsulates our willingness to affect change through service.

How is the GSLA Program Structured?

The GSLA is a four-year scaffolded leadership development model. The first year serves as the foundation, and each subsequent year builds on the previous year. The candidate will develop a comprehensive leadership portfolio that will be populated with the outlined items within each phase.

Goals for each year are categorized into four developmental areas - Intellectual, Holistic Health, Social, and Ethical Growth. To progress from one phase to the next, a student must complete progression requirements that will be assembled in their portfolio. 

Four-year Leadership Development Model

Bronze Phase: Learn and Lead Yourself

Bronze is the first development phase and will instill in each participant the core principles encapsulated in the Guiding NU Values. It focuses on transforming the principles from abstract concepts into concrete actions that shape the daily lives of members.

  1. Intellectual

    • Understand how to succeed academically in a university environment.
    • Understand the value of the experience.
    • Develop organizational and time-management skills.
    • Build a broad foundational understanding and exposure to competencies needed to thrive in government service.
  2. Holistic Health

    • Understand how to build and maintain a healthy body and resilient mind.
    • Develop courage and confidence by participating in team-building activities.
    • Develop self-discipline.
  3. Social

    • Develop confidence in communicating with others and forming relationships.
    • Develop self-control and social skills and cultivate respect for others.
  4. Ethical

    • Understand the Norwich foundational documents and their value in developing as ethical leaders and citizens.
  5. Certification Requirements

    • Demonstrated progress in both experiential learning and professional growth
    • Completion of HHPR 199 Resilient Bodies, a 1-credit course
    • Rook training and ROTC courses OR Leadership and/or Ethics course
    • Completion of an Academic Success Skills Workshop

Silver Phase: Build and Lead Others

Silver, a transitional phase for participants, marks the progression from students developing themselves to fostering the development of others. The first step is teaching members how to lead individuals and small teams. Silver serves as a vital bridge connecting personal growth to the broader discipline of interpersonal influence and team building. With a strong emphasis on character-based leadership and ethical decision-making, the Silver experiences cultivate these critical leadership skills by strengthening interpersonal communication, organizational skills, and planning abilities, laying the groundwork for effective team leadership. Participants are introduced to the practical aspects of organizational leadership and begin to apply their leadership skills in internships and team projects.

  1. Intellectual

    • Learn leadership levels (fear, popularity, respect, trust).
    • Learn how to cultivate leadership development in small teams.
    • Learn to coordinate professional workshops and seminars.
    • Learn the organizational structure of business organizations.
    • Participate in study away opportunities.
  2. Holistic Health

    • Continue building a healthy body and resilient mind.
    • Develop others by leading them in activities to develop healthy minds and bodies.
    • Demonstrate and share the value of self-discipline.
  3. Social

    • Learn to conduct developmental counseling for members.
    • Develop an understanding of professional and social norms.
  4. Ethical

    • Analyze self and set personal developmental goals.
    • Develop a personal ethos.
    • Practice ethical decision-making.
    • Explore leadership in crisis situations.
  5. Certification Requirements

    • Bronze Certification
    • Continued progress in both experiential learning and professional growth
    • Academic success skills mentoring of Bronze participants
    • Either Corps sophomore training and ROTC courses OR completion of General Education Leadership with additional Leadership seminars provided through the Academy

Gold Phase: Grow

The Gold Phase invites members to implement their acquired leadership knowledge and skills. In the Gold Phase, participants will focus on communication, strengthening their oral and written communication skills to lead their teams effectively. Clear and effective communication allows a leader to clearly convey ideas and directives and foster understanding and collaboration within a team. Moreover, the Gold Phase seeks to develop the ability to motivate others and critical problem-solving skills. Through internships and leadership roles, members are given opportunities to influence individuals, not by authority, but by an inspiring commitment to shared goals. The Gold Phase allows participants to cultivate the skills and competencies needed to lead in a professional setting.

  1. Intellectual

    • Facilitate academic success training for participants.
    • Learn the tenets of organizational leadership.
    • Teach organizational and time-management skills.
    • Teach professional development workshops for Leadership Academies.
    • Teach the vision and mission of the Leadership Academies.
  2. Holistic Health

    • Plan and lead team bonding exercises.
    • Adopt fitness for life.
    • Display and inspire others to embrace self-discipline and attention to detail.
  3. Social

    • Communicate standards and goals effectively.
    • Mentor others in professional and social norms.
    • Develop skills and habits that promote trust and respect within a team.
  4. Ethical

    • Evaluate progress towards developmental goals.
    • Live and refine personal ethos.
    • Develop and practice ethical decision-making.
    • Learn to implement the NU guiding values to develop others.
  5. Certification Requirements

    • Bronze Certification
    • Silver Certification
    • Demonstrated progress in both experiential learning and professional growth
    • Completion of leadership reflections for portfolio
    • Leadership Academy mentorship participant

Platinum Phase: Become

Platinum is the final phase in a member’s leadership development journey. It equips students with the necessary skills to create an ethical institutional vision and exert meaningful influence on formal organizations. This advanced phase moves beyond the focus on individual and small team leadership, transitioning into organizational stewardship. Leadership Academy members are encouraged to craft a compelling vision for their organization and inspire others toward its realization. They learn to influence effectively the culture, operations, and direction of an organization to achieve strategic objectives. Holistically, the Platinum Phase enables members to hone their organizational leadership craft and prepare for a bright future in their chosen professions.

  1. Intellectual

    • Create goals, values, and vision statements.
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of seminars and trainings.
    • Develop a leadership philosophy.
    • Oversee the teaching of tenets and provide additional refinement.
  2. Holistic Health

    • Evaluate and adjust bonding activities.
    • Exemplify and promote a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Social

    • Encourage diversity of thought to aid in problem solving and understanding.
    • Develop individuals and units to comfortably interact in different professional and  social settings.
    • Display the attributes and judgment of a leader.
  4. Ethical

    • Lead other by ethical example.
    • Ethically shape the organizational climate.
    • Evaluate and act on complex situations where virtues collide.
  5. Certification Requirements

    • Bronze Certification
    • Silver Certification
    • Gold Certification
    • Continued leadership application experience
    • Internship
    • Completion of leadership reflections for portfolio
    • Mentoring of participants

Appendix A: Mandatory Classes

Below is a list of required courses. The Director will assess the courses/training of students who transition from the Corps of Cadets to the civilian student body to determine which phase they qualify for. More broadly, the Director will also assess the experience of those participants in the Corps of Cadets to determine what GSLA phase requirements have been met (Appendices A-D). Based on that assessment, those in the Corps could potentially enter the GSLA at the Silver or Gold Phases.

Air Force Cadet Pathway
LEAD Level Bronze Courses  
AS 101 Foundations of USAF with Lead Lab (1 credit)  
AS 102 Foundations of USAF with Lead Lab (1 credit)  
Successful completion of Rook training
LEAD Level Silver Courses  
AS 201 Foundations of USAF with Lead Lab (1 credit)  
AS 202 Evolution USAF Air & Space Power with Lead Lab (1 credit)  
Successful completion of sophomore training
Army Cadet Pathway
LEAD Level Bronze Courses  
MS 111 Military Science I with Lead Lab (1 credit)  
MS 112 Military Science I with Lead Lab (1 credit)  
Successful completion of Rook training.
LEAD Level Silver Courses  
MS 211 Military Science II with Lead Lab (2 credits)  
MS 212 Military Science II with Lead Lab (2 credits)  
Successful completion of sophomore training
Navy Cadet Pathway
LEAD Level Bronze Courses  
NS 121 Introduction to Naval Science with Lead Lab (2 credits)  
NS 122 Sea Power & Maritime Affairs with Lead Lab (3 credits)  
Successful completion of Rook training.
LEAD Level Silver Courses  
NS 221 Leadership & Management with Lead Lab (3 credit)s  
NS 222 Navigation with Lead Lab (3 credits)  
Successful completion of sophomore training
Civilian Student Pathway
LEAD Level Bronze Courses  
HHPR 199 Resilient Bodies (1 credit)  
1 course that fulfills the Leadership or Ethics General Education requirements, excluding PY 210 (credits vary)
LEAD Level Silver Course  
1 additional course that fulfills the Leadership or Ethics General Education requirements, excluding PY 210 (credits vary)  
PY 210 Psychology of Leadership (3 credits)

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