Transformational Leadership

The Bonus Major

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Academics - Fall 2022

December 20, 2022 | Shane Adams

Graceland’s newest academic innovation — a second major for all students to be bold explorers and reach new heights 

What is the “Graceland Experience?” It can be difficult to put into words that special something that Graceland students feel during their time on “the Hill” or in our classrooms. It is a multi-faceted, dynamic experience that enables students to draw regularly from both their curricular and their extracurricular activities. Alumni regularly buzz with how important their educational experiences were outside the classroom in developing themselves as well-rounded individuals.  

Two years ago, a group of alumni, administrators, trustees, and faculty set out to imagine how the University could adapt and change to address the needs of students in the coming decades. What they found was that Graceland was already well-positioned to meet those challenges, and they brought forward an exciting and dynamic idea – a second major for every undergraduate student called Transformational Leadership.  

This revolutionary idea drew from what was already known about the Graceland Experience: non-traditional educational opportunities are almost as important as traditional courses. Not only that, the University provides students with a plethora of opportunities for leadership development through positions in student government, on house councils, in clubs, and in their athletic teams. For over 125 years, the University has walked with its students as they become leaders in the world. Starting in the fall of 2022, Graceland students who graduate with a four-year degree will enter the world with two distinct majors – a major in the discipline of their choice and a major in transformational leadership. 


A Path to Success
The Transformational Leadership major consists of three distinct but interrelated content groupings:  

GENERAL EDUCATION
Graceland’s liberal arts-focused courses where students receive foundational communications, quantitative, and liberal learning skills.  

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP
A series of courses designed to help students discover and develop their individual, group, and organizational leadership skills.  

STRATEGIC SKILLS
Three key courses give students knowledge in social responsibility, health and wholeness, and digital fluency and citizenship. 


Leadership is central to the University’s culture. Students can gain leadership experience as soon as they arrive on campus. In the Transformational Leadership program, the University provides students with these additional practical skills designed to give them the tools they need to be successful adults and leaders in their careers and their communities. Leadership is something that Graceland knows well; it has nurtured leaders for many years, and with the introduction of the Transformational Leadership major, the University is innovating its academic model once again.  

 “The world needs more transformational leaders – dynamic, empathetic, and collaborative problem solvers. Through coursework, leadership opportunities, and strategic skills, Graceland students will be set on a path to success with a foundational education and experience that will propel them into future careers that have not yet been imagined.” 

-President Patricia H. Draves 

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