Women's Leadership Center

The Women's Leadership Center (WLC) at Alfred University was established in 2006 and is a part of the Judson Leadership Center. The WLC provides leadership education and skills development for AU's women.

Building on Alfred University's heritage as the first truly co-educational institution in the nation, the Women's Leadership Center offers women the opportunity to explore and fulfill their potential as leaders personally, professionally, and in their communities as they meet the challenges in a complex society.

The WLC provides a broad spectrum of programs and services for AU and the surrounding community. A sampling includes:

Pamela Lavin Bernstein '71 Women of Influence Speaker Series: Each year, the Women’s Leadership Center hosts several high profile speakers to discuss topics related to leadership, women, career strategies, or social/global issues. Our speakers are at the top of their game, and represent all fields of human endeavor. Contact us to find out who is coming this year!

Women’s Leadership Academy: A credit-bearing intensive leadership development experience for selected students. Academy members have special opportunities, such as field trips, conferences, professional mentors, leadership internships, and sponsored research. The Bernstein Leadership Award is available to members of the Women’s Leadership Academy and provides assistance for students to attend professional conferences or to serve unpaid internships which substantively support career preparation and leadership growth. The Academy is open to students their sophomore through senior year as well as graduate students. Students of any gender identity are welcome and encouraged to apply! Acceptance to the Academy is selective and includes an interview process.

WLC Research Award: The WLC Research Award is made available to students (undergraduate and graduate level) to pursue academic research on topics related to women’s issues, gender or women’s leadership.

Alpha Kappa Omicron Awards: Made possible through the support of alumnae sisters of AKO, the AKO Leadership Awards recognize two women students for their achievements in personal and campus leadership. The AKO Achievement Award acknowledges excellent academic performance by a sophomore woman; the AKO Social Change Leadership Award honors a junior-level woman for her leadership through a campus organization.

Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society: ODK is the National Leadership Honor Society and Alfred University has a chapter! Acceptance is based on both academic performance and commitment to leadership. Students are inducted each spring, but all are encouraged to inquire about ODK at any time. Members of ODK are celebrated for their commitment to leadership within the five pillars: research, athletics, service to campus & community, communications, and the creative & performing arts. The Society also values leaders who are collaborative, inclusive, and who value integrity, scholarship, and service. ODK is advised by Diana Maguire and Abby Hurley.

Women in leadership roles confront particular challenges, and The Academy is designed to help students build knowledge, sharpen skills, and expand options in their leadership responsibilities. The Women’s Leadership Academy encourages students to explore theories of leadership, study how gender roles (and rules) affect leadership, and practice leadership in meaningful ways. Membership to the WLA is selective, but students of all gender identities are welcome to apply.

The Women’s Leadership Academy offers these benefits to members:

  • Gain a better understanding of yourself and your skills, interests and goals;
  • Devise a mission statement for your own leadership growth to match your professional and personal goals.
  • Acquire personal and team-based skills that are essential to success in any field.
  • Manage a significant service-leadership project as your capstone experience.
  • Study contemporary and classical leadership theories and clarify your own leadership values.
  • Explore how gender, power, economic status, race, nationality, and other factors create opportunities and challenges for leadership.
  • Participate in field trips or exchange programs with other women’s leadership initiatives at regional colleges and universities
  • Special grants from the Bernstein Leadership Award to attend student leadership conferences, or serve paid leadership internships.
  • Participate in exclusive conversations and events with special guests of the WLC.
  • Build strong relationships with mentors specially matched to your interests and goals.
  • Develop lasting relationships with other Academy students and alumnae.

Academic Requirements

"Gender and Leadership" course (2 credits, offered Fall semesters)
"Women's Leadership Academy Practicum" course (2 credits, offered Spring semesters)
Two elective courses as approved by the Women's Leadership Academy Director (highly recommended, but not required for Academy completion)

Practice-Based Requirements

WLA students will complete a leadership capstone project which takes place during the Spring course (WGST 475).

The WLC is a grateful recipient of a research gift from Ms Sherry Walton ('80, '88) and Mr. Charlie Joyce. The Research in Women's Leadership Endowment at Alfred University is created to provide support for research initiatives at the Women's Leadership Center (WLC). The goal of this endowment is two-fold:

  1. To provide students with hands-on experience with the full spectrum of academic research into women's leadership issues, and
  2. To provide a signature program for women's leadership at Alfred University.

Previous research has included sexual harassment and wage inequity, both of which were sponsored in part by the American Association of University Women.

Future Research topics may include:

  • History of women’s leadership at AU
  • Develop core competencies matrix of women’s leadership
  • Develop a coherent theory of women’s leadership
  • The intersection of creativity, intuition and leadership
  • Inequity in education administration
  • Impact of leadership training on career choice and efficacy
  • How a weak economy impacts family dynamics when women, due to the nature of their employment, assume greater economic leadership
  • Super-girl syndrome
  • Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and leadership training

The Beth Robinson Judson Leadership Center of Alfred University, with the alumnae of Alpha Kappa Omicron, an Alfred University sorority established in 1944 as interfaith and interracial, with the ideals of truth understanding and sisterhood in equity, is pleased to offer the AKO Leadership Awards. The AKO Achievement Award is given to a sophomore woman who has demonstrated excellence in personal academic leadership and honors the high standards of scholastic performance. This award carries a $250.00 honorarium to be used at the recipient’s discretion. The AKO Social Change Leadership Award is given to a junior woman who has demonstrated superior efforts in creating change-for-the-good for the AU community. An emphasis is placed on active, authentic service-based leadership which creates sustainable change. This award carries a $500.00 honorarium to be used at the recipient’s discretion. For questions about the criterion for these awards, contact the JLC.

Emily Woo

Emily Woo, AKO Achievement Award

Emily Woo, class of 2025, is the recipient of the Fall 2022 Alpha Kappa Omicron Achievement Award. Emily is majoring in Fine Arts with a minor in Business Administration.

From Emily:

“Thank you for selecting me for the 2022 AKO Achievement Award. Throughout my life, I’ve been taught what great leadership looks like from the incredible and strong female leaders I have been lucky enough to experience. They have guided my perception of what phenomenal leadership looks like and it’s because of their influence that I am here today. I am honored to be considered a leader and I hope that my influence can encourage others to become leaders as well.”

natalie reynolds

Natalie Reynolds, AKO Social Change Leadership Award

Natalie Reynolds, class of 2024, is the recipient of the Fall 2022 Alpha Kappa Omicron Social Change Leadership Award. Natalie is a third-year art student with a minor in English. She is a highly involved student, including serving as our Student Senate President.

From Natalie:

“I applied for the AKO Social Change Award because I was encouraged by several AU Faculty to do so. I am honored that they thought of me even in terms of applying for the award and more so that I was chosen to receive it. I am reassured in my leadership efforts by being recognized and am determined to continue developing my leadership practice while being a female role model on campus and in the community. Thank you!”