Krannert Leaders Academy Prof. Charlene Sullivan, associate dean of undergraduate progromas, and Sharlee Lyons, director of the Krannert Leaders Academy, chat with students about the program's initiatives at a kickoff event in early September. (Photo by John Underwood)

Targeting Top Performers

Krannert Leaders Academy goes platinum

The newly established Krannert Leaders Academy (KLA) is the enhanced version of the Direct Admit program that began four years ago to attract high-potential students to the Krannert School. The first class of Direct Admits in 2012 included 85 students.

New this year is the Leadership Certificate Program, a four-year program that encourages students to reach their professional potential by aspiring to gold or platinum status through participation and leadership involvement in Krannert activities.

Outstanding Krannert students can soon become part of the academy even if they’re not directly admitted. Sharlee Lyons, KLA director, plans to expand the program by allowing Krannert students to apply after their freshman year based on their GPA and extracurricular involvement.

All students who have been directly admitted to Krannert become part of the academy and will receive even more opportunities to excel inside and outside the classroom as they move into their upper-division courses. Opportunities also include the Leadership Certificate Program, external case challenges, team- building and networking workshops, club and community leadership events, mentoring relationships, interviewing skills workshops, goal-setting sessions and internship opportunities.

Specialized academic core courses designed for top performers are being created, as well as integrated seminar courses where students work in teams with faculty who are bridging functional boundaries to provide students with the insights necessary to manage in a fast- paced digital economy.

Julia Kalish, an award-winning instructor at Purdue, is teaching academy students in fall 2016. “We’ve developed a new course that transitions students to Krannert and exposes them to the fundamentals of information management while allowing them exclusive interaction with the other students.”

This fall class of 116 academy students also will benefit from a new course Kalish developed for spring 2017 titled Management and Evaluation of Ethical Projects. “It will provide students with an opportunity to explore systems’ thinking ideology, ethical business practices, team-building skills and basic project management tools,” Kalish says.

Additional special programming includes professional development workshops, study abroad opportunities and access to academic advisors Debbi Bearden and Taylor Weast, who are solely dedicated to helping academy students design and execute their plans of study.

“Our faculty have always worked closely with students in the classroom to ensure they had the proper academic preparation to master functional skills and pursue meaningful, lifelong career success,” says Krannert Dean David Hummels. “But increasingly, a mastery of functional skills provides only the table stakes to get them in the game.

“To really stand out, students need to master a host of higher-level skills including leading teams, communicating effectively, working cross functionally in multicultural environments and using real data to solve real problems. The Krannert Leaders Academy will attract the kind of students who can excel inside and outside the classroom and provide them a rich set of opportunities to hone those skills,” Hummels says.