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Center for Leadership Development
Schedule at a Glance

Leadership for a Democratic Society


  • Aug 4, 2020-Jan 22, 2021 at Federal Executive Institute (FEI), 1301 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Tuition: $14027  (#24588)   REGISTER


The Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS) program offers an unmatched learning experience to prepare senior-level executives for the complex challenges of leadership. Transformational leadership is one of the most significant issues influencing performance and effectiveness. Leaders are being asked to reimagine operations, function with fewer resources and find new ways to tackle complex challenges.

Using the U.S. Constitution as the principal foundation, the program guides executives to understand the diverse goals of the government and the citizens it serves. The program challenges executives to excel in a 21st-century world while remaining connected to constitutional values.

Leveraging the expertise and experience of each executive, the program establishes a learning community where the participants and faculty are both teachers and learners. Through a selection of courses and experiential activities, participants are able to tailor their learning experience to meet their self-determined leadership challenges.

The LDS program provides a life-empowering and career-strengthening experience that will serve as the enduring foundation of each executive leader’s journey of personal and professional growth.

Program Curriculum
The program curriculum is anchored in current leadership theory, OPM’s Executive Core Qualifications, and leadership competencies. Executives can expect an integrated mix of lecture, discussion, and guest speakers; exercises, simulations, and field experiences; assessment instruments (e.g. MBTI, 360, wellness); readings, case studies, audio and video materials; and reflections, written assignments, and individual presentations.

Certificate of Mastery
The program outcomes challenge executives to assess their own critical self-awareness, gain actionable knowledge and practice various concepts and models. This knowledge and practice sets the participant on the path to implement their knowledge and insights and move toward skilled leader performance following the LDS program.

To receive a certificate of mastery, executives will complete short written assignments, give at least two presentations, analyze their leadership challenge, and create a leadership development plan.

The leadership challenge is the executive’s organizational change project that addresses how they will lead their organization into the future. The leadership development plan offers a way for participants to synthesize their learning in a way that prepares for enhanced individual and organizational leadership upon completion. The leadership development plan includes a compilation of learning across the LDS program, next steps on their leadership challenge, and plan for their long-term development.

FEI Faculty
FEI faculty have experience and credentials in a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to leadership development, human capital management, education, political science, behavioral science, international affairs, public administration, and adult education.

Class Size
Most LDS programs have between 60 and 80 executives. Executives are grouped into small teams called Leadership Development Teams (LDTs). Each LDT is comprised of eight to ten executives that is guided by a faculty facilitator.

LDS Program Formats
The Leadership for a Democratic Society program is offered in three formats. All three formats of the program achieve the same learning outcomes and all provide executives with the same access to the faculty and various educational-support opportunities unique to the LDS program. All three formats are equally rewarding and meet all of the requirements for the certificate of mastery.

Residential Learning Program
The Residential Learning Program (RLP) is a four-week continuous, in-residence immersion program. Participants engage in on-campus learning sessions, off-campus field experience activities and small-team learning environments. Participants engage in a variety of activities while attending sessions Monday through Friday for four weeks (including some evening sessions) along with a full weekend of sessions over the first weekend of the program.

Applied Learning Program
The Applied Learning Program (ALP) is designed to allow participants to integrate classroom learning with workplace learning situations. The ALP challenges participants to apply the knowledge and skills gained through their coursework to their workplace during the intersession of the program, allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of leadership. The program consists of three sessions a) an initial 80-hours of in-residence education, b) applying learning in the first in-residence section to their work environment, and c) return for the second in-residence section later and complete a final 80-hours of the program in-residence.

Blended Learning Program
The Blended Learning Program (BLP) is designed to meet the leadership development needs of Executives who are unable to be away from work or home for an extended period or who prefer to learn through distance education. The program consists of three sessions a) an initial 80-hours of in-residence education, b) complete 80-hours of asynchronous online education over the following four-months, and c) reconvene for two-days of activities.

How You Will Benefit

  • Broadened understanding of the U.S. Constitution as the foundation for Federal public service;
  • Increased critical self-awareness as an individual, team member, and leader;
  • Enhanced leadership and management strengths and areas for improvement, especially in the areas of team-building, strategic thinking, influencing/negotiating, political savvy, and external awareness;
  • Enhanced ability to identify problems and plan for action to improve organizational effectiveness;
  • Appreciate more fully the importance of Federal service and the diverse talents and resources of Federal executives;
  • Improved ability to leverage the diverse talents of the Federal workforce;
  • Expanded professional networks, enabling improved inter-organizational collaboration and problem-solving;
  • Increased resiliency, mental and physical wellness, and work-life balance.

Who Should Attend

  • Senior Executive Service members, GS-15s or their equivalents
  • Selected senior non-federal employees, to include Private sector, state and local government who are of an equivalent grade/level (as determined by FEI)
  • GS-14 Federal employees (and equivalents in other pay systems) who have executive-level duties may request a grade waiver to participate in the LDS program. Please refer to the Enrolling in the Leadership for a Democratic Society program page for additional information and guidance.

How to Register
Registration for this course must be submitted by your agency training office to the FEI Registrar. Many spaces in this program are sold to agency training representatives prior to the start of each fiscal year. However, individual spaces may be available in specific programs. Please contact the FEI Registrar at or (434) 980-6232 for more information.

Voice: (434) 980-6232
Fax: (434) 980-6267

Additional Information

Please refer to the FEI Handbook or the LDS program description for additional information.