Now more than ever, globalization is a way of life. Graduates are increasingly valued for their understanding of different cultures and perspectives, and their ability to communicate effectively in that environment. For more than 25 years, WebsterLEADS has helped students develop a foundation from which they will change the world. The WebsterLEADS leadership certificate program offers students real organization, leadership and team-work experience, preparing them to assume positions in the global workforce.

A student presents research to fellow students.

WebsterLEADS student Cody Anderson with Colette Cummings and John Buck

Mission of WebsterLEADS

WebsterLEADS student Cody Anderson with Colette Cummings and John Buck

The mission of the WebsterLEADS student leadership development program is to offer students the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom to the practical world, on- and off-campus. The program helps students develop skills such as communication, critical thinking, decision-making, group process and sensitivity to diverse perspectives.

WebsterLEADS provides a co-curricular leadership experience with multiple components, which culminates with earning the Leadership Certificate.

Key Components of WebsterLEADS

LEADS is an acronym that stands for Learn, Evolve, Apply, Develop and Serve. This is used to encompass everything students will participate in and gain during the program.

Students are introduced to multiple perspectives of leadership thought and theory, and begin to see how those perspectives intersect with their own experiences.

David Farnham
Choosing Webster

“I knew that learning to be a leader would be desirable to future employers. Having both a top program for my major and a program like WebsterLEADS made my choice to transfer to Webster a no-brainer.”

David Farnham
David Farnham

BS in Sound Recording and Engineering, '24

School of Communications

Students engage in opportunities that challenge their skills and assumptions, setting them on a path to make a difference within their community.

Sydney Johnson
Leadership Skills

“I want to continue to grow my leadership abilities. I now have the skills to be an effective leader, and I know how to encourage others and lead them through WebsterLEADS.”

Sydney Johnson
Sydney Johnson

BA in Elementary Education, '23

School of Education

Students are immersed in experiences and environments that foster relationships, encourage personal reflection and deepen the understanding of diverse points of view — all of which contribute to individual growth.

Billy Ratz
Personal Growth

“Every student should be focused on what kind of leader they will become, because no matter what their major is, or where they want to go after graduation, leadership is a big part of what makes a good employee.”

Billy Ratz
Billy Ratz

Director of First-Year Experience and Family Programs and Co-Director of WebsterLEADS

Students sharpen their personal skills and abilities by contributing in ways that provide continuous insight, feedback and reflection about their personal leadership philosophy.

Laura Rodak
Build Confidence

“Being a WebsterLEADS student helped me develop special skills to be a better leader. I am Co-President of the International Student Association; without WebsterLEADS, I would not have taken that job.”

Laura Rodak
Laura Rodak

BS in Business Administration, '22

George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology

Students see themselves as global citizens, understand the responsibility of leadership, and can apply lessons to excel in this new world.

Jessica Battle
Practical Experiences

“Participation in WebsterLEADS helped me realize that there is value in identifying as a leader. In the program, I was encouraged to seek out practical leadership experiences.”

Jessica Battle
Jessica Battle

BS in Biological Sciences, '20

Leadership Certificate

WebsterLEADS provides a self-paced, co-curricular, leadership education experience that students complete with the guidance of peers and veteran WebsterLEADS participants. After students complete the curriculum, they are awarded a Leadership Certificate, which usually coincides with graduation.

Transfer students may also earn the Leadership Certificate by applying involvements and experiences from previous institutions toward some components of the WebsterLEADS program.

Students who complete any component while studying abroad will be eligible to have their Certificate designated with the special recognition of Leadership Certificate with Global Distinction.

Achieving the WebsterLEADS Leadership Certificate requires completion of the Core Components below. Please check with your campus program director(s) for a complete list of requirements for your campus.
The Core Components of the program include:

Participants take two courses during their career at Webster: a three-credit course called The Challenge of Leadership (EDEX 2750) which introduces students to prevalent leadership thought and theory, and a one-credit seminar-style course called Ethics and Leadership on Campus (ETHC 1000). The Program Director on each campus can tell you when these courses are offered on that campus.

Retreats are hosted for students on the Leiden, Geneva and Vienna campuses each year — sometimes collaboratively. These provide interactive, reflective, and learning community approaches to understanding leadership. The Program Director at each campus can tell you specific dates for retreat that will be held for your campus.

These workshops are offered at key points throughout the year and will focus on career-related issues such as personal budgeting, resume writing, networking, and interviewing. Certificate participants must attend four workshops to complete this particular requirement. Program Directors will promote workshop opportunities on each campus throughout the year.

There are two ways to complete this component:

Most often, students complete forty hours of service with a nonprofit agency or organization that is local to the campus community — or with a group somewhere else (perhaps near home) with whom they already have an existing relationship. Students submit a proposal for their SLP that must receive approval of the Program Director at the campus where the service will take place, and will complete reflection of their experience when it is completed.

Alternatively, students can take the course Topics in Service Learning (EDUC 3300), which is offered on the St. Louis campus in the Spring II term. This three-credit course focuses on service learning and servant leadership theory and culminated with a class-coordinated, community-based project.

The Practical Leadership Experience (PLE) is a concrete application of a student's leadership knowledge and skills that enhances the campus community and directly contributes to campus student life. Students are required to complete a PLE in a position of leadership on campus, which must least a minimum of a full academic semester (exceptions made for Orientation Leaders at any campus).

Join WebsterLEADS

WebsterLEADS logo

  • Are you an undergraduate student?
  • Do you like to take the initiative?
  • Can you see yourself develop as an individual while inspiring others?
  • Do you see yourself capable of making a difference to your environment?
  • Are you excited about sharing ideas and responsibilities?
  • Do you believe in working together to achieve bigger goals?

Then WebsterLEADS is for you!

Because the program structure and components are the same, students can fulfill any of their requirements for the Certificate at any of the four campus sites when they study abroad. Students who complete any component at a different site than while studying abroad will be eligible to have their Certificate designated with the special recognition of Leadership Certificate with Global Distinction.

Each spring, Webster Groves students will need to apply to join the next LEADS cohort.

Students in Geneva, Leiden, St. Louis and Vienna should meet with the on-site coordinator of their program. To set up a meeting and learn more about the program, contact the Program Coordinator/Program Director at your primary campus — or the campus where you are studying abroad.

Campus Location Contacts

Jennifer Stewart

Jennifer Stewart

Director, Student Engagement; Co-Director, WebsterLEADS — St. Louis

BA, Management and International Business, Webster University
MA, Media Communications, Webster University

Jennifer Stewart is the Director of Student Engagement, which includes Campus Activities, Student Government Association and Commuter Council; she is also the co-Director for the WebsterLEADS program. She is has participated as faculty and program director for I-LEAD (Institute for Leadership Education and Development) with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), is an instructor for ETHC 1000: Ethics and Leadership On Campus and EDUC 2750, the Leadership foundations course for WebsterLEADS, and is a trained facilitator for StrengthsQuests. Stewart is from St. Louis and enjoys bad jokes, traveling, baking cakes and of course spending time with friends and family.

Billy Ratz

William "Billy" Ratz

Director, First-Year Experience and Family Programs; Co-Director, WebsterLEADS — St. Louis

Billy Ratz is the Director of First-Year Experience and Family Programs. Ratz works to engage parents of undergraduate students at the Webster Groves campus to assist the University with recruitment and retention efforts. Ratz started the Student Ambassador Program and Webster Mentoring Program during his time with Webster and as a student was a member of Student Government and Campus Activities. Ratz served as a Mentor for the last two Global Student Leadership Summits. As co-Director of the WebsterLEADS program, Ratz is responsible for planning leadership retreats and teaching the Leadership foundations course EDUC 2750.

Faculty Name

Dounia El Jaouhari

Student Services Manager


Faculty Name

Christine Benninger

Student Services Coordinator, Program Director, WebsterLEADS — Leiden

BA, International Management & Psychology, Webster University
MA, Management and Leadership, Webster University

Christine Benninger is the Student Services Coordinator at the Leiden Campus and is the Program Director for WebsterLEADS — Leiden. Benninger is the Student Services Coordinator at the Leiden Campus and is the Program Director for WebsterLEADS — Leiden since 2010. After 18 years as a Training and Development Manager Benninger joined the Webster Leiden campus in 2000 and has held positions in admission, advising and student services for over 15 years. She currently is overseeing the High Impact Program for Webster Leiden's Study Abroad program.

Jennifer Sowerby

Jennifer Sowerby

Student Resource Officer, Program Director, WebsterLEADS — Vienna

Jennifer Sowerby is from the United Kingdom and works in the Student Resource Center at Webster Vienna. She will assist you with settling in at Vienna and will offer a helping hand during your time at WVPU. She also manages all things Study Abroad! If you are interested in joining LEADS and gaining valuable leadership experience and lifelong friends, send her an email!


Webster students

Leadership Scholarships

Webster students

Have you been a leader in extracurricular activities at your high school or community college? Planning on continuing that or jumping into other leadership opportunities with us? Webster Leadership Scholarships are available for freshmen and for transfer students and can be stacked with other Webster scholarships to reduce the cost of your degree.

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