Center for Leadership and Ethics

Leader Development Programs for the VMI Community

Educate, engage, inspire text over graphic of knight and images from past CLE events

Educate, engage, inspire text over graphic of knight and images from past CLE events


VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics educatesengages and inspires the VMI Corps of Cadets, Faculty and Staff in leadership and character development and shares insights gleaned from the VMI programs with a broader national audience.  To this end, programming falls into three broad mission sets: cadet Co-Curricular Programs, Leader Development, and Strategic Engagement. These mission sets provide opportunities to develop new skills and enhance leadership learning. Through programming and instruction, the Center educates, engages, and inspires leaders who think critically, solve problems, and make ethical decisions. 

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Cadet Co-Curricular Programs

Cadet Co-Curricular Programs focus on engaging and inspiring members of the Corps of Cadets. Several programs incorporate experiential learning, critical thinking, and engagement opportunities with nationally-known speakers and subject-matter experts.

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Leader Development

Our Center conducts progressive professional development programs and workshops to enhance interpersonal, teaching, and leadership skills. Additionally, beginning in AY 20-21, Col. Dave Gray will serve as course coordinator for VMI’s required core curriculum leadership course - LEAD 344.

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Strategic Engagement

Strategic Engagement Programs engage outside professionals, subject-matter experts, and leading practitioners as speakers during one of VMI’s conferences or as part of one of our speaker series programs.

2022-23 Annual Leadership Theme: The Courage of Convictions

This year's annual theme "The Courage of Convictions" will focus on both the personal aspects of developing and exercising moral courage and the organizational environment set by leaders to encourage respectful, honest, and candid conversation. In a rapidly changing and often partisan world, high visibility cases of corruption and social injustices in all walks of life are rising. Complacency, groupthink, and increasing societal/cultural tribalism threaten our governments, societies, and establishments.

The key to restoring balance and normalcy is a respectful and healthy leader-follower relationship. Followers need to develop the courage to recommend or pursue principled change while leaders should encourage mission-focused intelligent dissent. Our scope will focus on how and when to influence positive and effective change, ideally within an organization, to avoid incivility or reckless rebellion. 

Our strategic outreach efforts during conferences, speaker events, the VMI Leader Journey podcast, and on social media will emphasize such topics as courageous followership, civil discourse, critical thinking, intelligent dissent, building trust, and establishing a culture of candor and psychological flexibility. This focus will help bring VMI’s Unifying Action Plan five outcomes to life.

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Links to Resources

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders