Leadership Advancing 
Socially Engaged Research

1200px Sailing Laser

“Your Research Matters”

But why? And to whom? Publication counts and impact factors look impressive. But what will help you really make a difference in the world? And what kind of difference should you try to make, anyway?

If these questions speak to you, join us for the inaugural year of an innovative new program on leadership and the social impact of research. The combination of two prior training programs, SRR and EL-STEM, LASER will develop your leadership skills and help you engage the real-world impact of your research.

LASER was created to help give you the skills and the perspective to steer your work and your career in the right direction for you – and those who can benefit from it.

Application window is Feb. 15th to March 19th.

For questions, register for an info session on Prof Dev or contact John Lubker or Mark Bourgeois.

Download the Laser Brochure

2018-2019 Information and Call for Applications

Leadership Advancing Socially Engaged Research – LASER – is an experiential training program for Notre Dame PhD students in their 3rd or 4th year of study in academic year 2018-19. It is intended to develop leadership proficiencies and aptitude as well as to explore and build skills for socially engaged research.

Benefits and Activities

Program participants will have the opportunity to develop strengths in leadership, consider the ethical implications of their research, and positively impact the communities in which they work. The yearlong program provides an opportunity to learn from faculty, peers, and current leaders through research, workshops, mentorship, and real-world problem solving.

Benefits include:

  • The development of leadership aptitude, including an appreciation of leadership strengths and potential and the creation of an individualized leadership development plan
  • An opportunity for structured reflection on the social and ethical implications of one’s research
  • Perspective gained on research and career through an exploration of their social and ethical context
  • Training and practice in research communication
  • Development of mentoring skills and ethical sensitivity
  • Positive and tangible impact on campus or in the broader community

Activities include:

  • Participation in a yearlong seminar series and workshops on leadership and social engagement conducted by knowledgeable practitioners, researchers, and presenters.
  • Training in how to communicate your research and enhance its relevance to the general public, stakeholders in your research, cross-disciplinary collaborators, and policy makers.
  • A sustained project in leadership or research impact with the support of mentors and peers.

Eligibility, Expectations, and Selection Process

All Ph.D. students entering their third or fourth year in the fall of 2018 who are in good academic standing are eligible to apply. There are no disciplinary restrictions for this program. However, Master’s students and earlier or later year Ph.D. students are not eligible. This program is a yearlong commitment (August 2018 to August 2019) and admission is competitive.

Attendance is mandatory for each program meeting. A tentative calendar of all 2018-2019 meeting dates and times is provided below. Consult your schedule and make sure your advisor is aware of these day and time commitments before submitting your application. Attendance at each meeting is mandatory. However, limited case by case exceptions for unavoidable absences at particular meetings will be granted. If you know of such conflicts with any of these dates when you apply, please note that in your application and this will not be counted against you.

The selection process is based on the following:

  • The participant’s interest in and aptitude for leadership development as demonstrated by their ability to articulate how program participation will assist their professional, research, and/or service interests
  • Identification of a practicum experience that will support the participant’s leadership development and/or the social impact of their research
  • The applicant’s interest in and aptitude for mentoring other students
  • The applicant’s demonstrated desire to support the University’s service, teaching, and research missions
  • Previous experience with leadership in a higher education, community, or professional setting is also taken into consideration, but not required


Supplementing the primary benefit of leadership training and an enhanced perspective, students participating in the program will receive:

  • 1 course credit per term of participation, including summer (3 course credits total)
  • Certificate of completion
  • $1000 stipend

Submitting an Application

Applications must be received no later than March 19th.

Application materials consist of 1) a four-part cover letter, 2) a CV or resume, and 3) a letter of support from your advisor. Additional details:

  • The cover letter must address the following four topics (Note: all word counts are only approximate guidelines):
    1. Describe an actual experience when you took a significant risk (from your perspective) and failed. What does this story reveal about your character? How would you describe the experience to someone else so that they could benefit from your experience? What is the key lesson that you would pass on to others? (800 words.)
    2. Describe what you see as the social impact of your particular research area – why it ultimately matters to society, and the stakeholders to whom it matters most. What do you see as the social and ethical opportunity and, if applicable, risks? (400 words.)
    3. Briefly describe how your participation in the program will support your career aspirations, research, and/or service interests. Be as specific as you can about your thoughts and interests. (400 words).
    4. Briefly describe your proposed social engagement or leadership project or opportunity and what your roles and responsibilities will be. (250 words).
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae
  • A letter of support from your advisor
    • This letter should highlight why the applicant is a good fit for a program in leadership and social engagement and how they will benefit from participating. The letter should also confirm that the applicant is in good academic standing, generally meeting academic milestones, and that the applicant’s current program of study allows the time to devote to this leadership experience.

These three pieces (cover letter, CV/resume and advisor letter) should be compiled into a single concatenated PDF document.

If you do not have PDF software, you can use an online service such as SmallPDF to convert to PDF or concatenate multiple PDF files into one file.

Once this document is prepared, simply complete the short Google form and upload it there to apply.

Be sure you are logged in with your ND Google account when accessing the form!

Applications to the 2018-19 cohort of Laser are now closed

For more information, please visit the LASER FAQ

Leadership Advancing Socially Engaged Research: Program Schedule 2018-2019

Meeting Dates and Times
Wed., Aug. 15 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Wed., Aug. 29 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Wed., Sept 19 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Sat., Sept 29 9:00am – 3:00pm
Wed., Oct. 10 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Sat., Oct. 27 9:00am – 3:00pm
Wed., Nov. 15 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Wed., Dec. 5 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Sat., Feb. 2 9:00am – 3:00pm
Wed., Feb. 13 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Wed., March 6 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Wed., March 27 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Sat., April 6 9:00am – 3:00pm
Wed., April 17 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Wed., May 8 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Wed., May 30 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Sat., June 8 9:00am – 3:00pm
Sat., June 22 9:00am – 3:00pm
Wed., July 10 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Wed., July 31 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Wed., Aug. 14 3:00pm – 7:00pm