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Our Approach

To develop and implement the Leadership Framework, we draw inspiration from the concept of Collective Impact.

The Division of Student Affairs, as well as multiple additional units on campus, have committed to the common agenda of the Leadership Framework as our guide for creating and implementing programs intended to support students’ leadership development. Through the mutually reinforcing activities of multiple departments and shared assessment, we will increase students’ learning and development of their leadership capacity. Leadership Development & Community Engagement serves as the backbone organization for this effort by supporting a community of practice (the Leadership Collective Impact Group), supporting the centralized assessment efforts, and building resources for students and staff.

“…collective impact, the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem… Unlike most collaborations, collective impact initiatives involve a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants.”

Kania & Kramer, 2011: Collective Impact

Centering Equity

“Collective impact is a network of community members, organizations, and institutions that advance equity by learning together, aligning, and integrating their actions to achieve population and systems-level change.” 

Kania, et al., 2022: Centering Equity in Collective Impact 

We strive to center equity in our collective impact efforts to support student leadership development. We work to challenge and dismantle systems within the Northwestern institution and beyond that are barriers to equitable outcomes for all our students, particularly our BIPOC students. We work with students, staff, and faculty to develop our collective leadership capacity. Our end goal is collective liberation from any oppressive systems. Everything related to the leadership framework and our collective impact effort will be rooted in this goal. Collective liberation also means recognizing that all of our struggles are intimately connected, and that we must work together to create the kind of world we know is possible, (Northwestern Student Affairs Strategic Plan).


The Five Conditions of Collective Impact

The Five Conditions of Collective Impact
Common Agenda Common language, core competencies, principles, knowledge, skills, and dispositions
Shared Measurement Shared data collection and assessment of leadership learning outcomes
Mutually Reinforcing Activities Differentiated, yet coordinated, activities that serve students with a broad range of interests at multiple stages of their development
Continuous Communication

Consistent and open communication

Continual opportunities for learning and celebration
Backbone Support Leadership Development & Community Engagement

Check out more information on the development of the Leadership Framework.