What is PLP?
The Professional Leadership Program (PLP) is a mentoring and leadership development program for students at the University of North Texas. It was created to develop our top students with the professional soft skills needed to have the leadership edge in any industry or position they seek after college. Students are presented with opportunities to network and prepare for future internships and full-time employment through events in Dallas and the surrounding area. While strong employment opportunities are a goal of the program, the driving principles are to help students gain skills, knowledge, and a servant leadership mentality, to enter into their career already knowing what is needed to lead and succeed.
How long has the program been in existence?
PLP was started in 1994 by the Dean for the College of Business, Clayton Singleton, who had a vision to shift the paradigm from a classroom only learning experience for business students, to one that is experiential based, and linked to developing skills and competencies that are essential in the marketplace.
How do you recruit and select mentors?
Mentors for PLP volunteer and are recruited from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors across the DFW metroplex. This results in a diverse group of companies and industries providing a wide range of experiences. The recruitment effort is done by the PLP Staff, in collaboration with the involvement of the Board of Directors, UNT faculty and staff, current mentors, and PLP Alumni.
How long is the mentor assignment?
Each mentor/mentee match is assigned for one academic year (August to May). We ask that our mentors commit to meeting in person or conference call with their students at least once every 4- 6 weeks.
How do you recruit and select students?
Applicants come from all majors across campus. The program has a recruitment process beginning in January and ending in March, where students can apply at any time; however, selections are made in April for the following academic year. Interested students must complete the online application, list two references, and answer the self-assessment questions. Once the application is complete, an interview will be scheduled for the student. We do not recruit to a specific number, but rather a quality in our candidates. We look for high achieving students with prior leadership experience, and those who demonstrate a coachable mentality. The 2016-2017 PLP class had 125 members.
What are the requirements to apply?
Applicants for PLP need to be of sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate status by the fall semester they are wishing to enter the program. As of 2016, limited amount of sophomores will be accepted. In addition, applicants need to have a 3.25 GPA. Written requests can be made for individuals wishing to apply who do not meet these listed requirements. These will be considered on a case by case basis.
What Majors do you target for PLP?
We are open to all majors. With support coming mainly from the College of Business, historically business majors have made up 70% of the program participants, but priority is not given to business majors. Currently, the class is comprised of about 50% business and 50% nonbusiness majors. We currently represent six university colleges: College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Visual Arts and Design, and the Texas Academy of Art and Sciences.
What curriculum and content do you deliver to PLP students?
During the course of the academic year, the facilitators present content on a wide array of topics such as: Ethics, Global Awareness, Emotional Intelligence, Servant Leadership, Social Entrepreneurialism, Negotiating Skills, Personal Branding, Social Media, Organizational Culture, and more.
Students are also presented with two McKinsey case studies, one during each semester, where they work with their team to analyze a situation and competitively pitch a business solution to a panel of executives. In this process, students learn to effectively collaborate and utilize critical thinking skills to solve real world business problems.
Who are the Facilitators that deliver the curriculum & content?
The Facilitators are “Subject Matter Experts” from Industry and the not-for-profit sectors across the DFW metroplex. Many have businesses that are National and International in scope; hence it provides our students with an opportunity to learn both the theory and experiential sides of management and leadership.
What is the profile of the students?
15% International students
51% College of Business students
12% Graduate students
How are you funded?
In summary, today our funding comes from two sources: 1) State funding for staff salaries and expenses, and 2) Gifts and In-kind donations that provide for expenses related to program activities such as: Business Networking Events with Mentors and Corporate Sponsors; select Industry Field Trips; and a Student Recognition Banquet at the end of the Academic year.
Do you support or foster Community Service projects?
Servant Leadership is a strong driving principle of the Professional Leadership Program. As such, community service and volunteer projects are very important for the development of our participants. Each semester students are required to complete at least one community service project.
Where are your classes, and events held?
Classes are held every Wednesday from 4-6 pm for block I, and 5-7 pm for block II, in the Business Leadership Building (BLB) on UNT campus. Events vary from on-campus to others in the DFW area.
What is the projected growth for the Program in the next 3- 5 years?
Academic Year/# of Students
2014-2015 100 Students
2016-2017 125 Students
2017-2018 150 Students
2018-2019 250* Students
2020-2021 500 Students
*The current delivery model and program design will require several material areas of change: class size, mentor ratios, curriculum & content delivery (more technology and potential for “Apps”), staffing ratios, and increased endowed and state funding.