"Teaching is never saying the same thing the same way twice - each time you teach, students and the world have reconfigured."

Professor Sue Hamilton, Institute of Archaeology


student wearing 'Mr President' t-shirt


Leadership is about responsibility, delegation and commitment. It requires people to make informed decisions, stand up for what is important to them and make themselves heard. Establishing leadership skills in UCL students helps them in their future career and personal life, and it also helps them to forge a positive learning experience at UCL.

UCL believes that there are many ways students can show leadership and has established courses to equip them with skills to develop a leadership style that suits their own aptitudes and interests.

Showing students what forms of leadership are available

There are many forms of leadership including leading from the front, moral leadership, and leadership by example. Teaching staff help students develop their understanding of the different forms of leadership, their effects and how they influence change through the curriculum. For example:

Giving students the opportunity to 'lead' from the front

Students are given the opportunity to lead through their roles in group work or by using their research/knowledge to help others solve problems. Good examples are:

  • StARS programme - students act as representatives for their peers and work with faculties to discuss the curriculum and possible enhancements.
  • Centre for Applied Global Citizenship Studies and their work with NGOs - students are able to use research and knowledge from their course to find solutions to problems in real life situations. By working abroad they explore problems and ideas from a different cultural perspective and are able to look at the ethical and cultural dimensions of a practical problem.

Developing leadership behaviour within groups

Good leadership behaviour involves working well within groups, establishing roles, responding to feedback in an appropriate manner, and negotiating with others. Through group work, students learn about personal and social responsibility, a sensitivity to different cultures and personalities, and gain an understanding of how the nature of leadership can impact group efforts.

Teaching staff actively encourage students to develop a leadership approach. Examples include: 

  • UCL Engineering Doctorate, Virtual Environments Imaging & Visualisation - students are expected to manage a group project themselves, negotiating roles and planning development.
  • Interprofessional Learning - in 2008 the UCL Division for Medical Education were awarded an ESCILTA grant to bring together medical students with students of other healthcare professions. The project's aim was to develop teamwork skills and an understanding of the roles that other healthcare professions play in healthcare provision. In a profession where individuals hold certain expertise, it is important for students to learn the potential for this to become a barrier to good clinical practice and to teach them the importance of playing both team player and leader.

Using the curriculum to present some of the leadership challenges within their chosen industry and develop specific skills.

By applying theoretical issues to real-life learning, students gain a good understanding of the leadership challenges they will face in future careers.

  • Scenario-based learning: DPU post-disaster scenario – students found that even though their departments shared similar disciplines, difficulties arose due to the technical language differences spoken by each discipline. This mirrored the problems faced ‘on the field’ in Pakistan too.
  • Power and Politics in Global Health - this course informs students on how global health is influenced by power relations and encourages students to think how global health can be changed to promote good health for all.
  • MSc Construction Economics and Management course focuses on leadership, developing leadership and issues. It prepares students for the problems that they will face as senior managers, policy advisers or decision-makers in the construction industry.

Page last modified on 01 aug 14 13:53

Tell us about the inspiring teaching and learning taking place in your department: email teaching.learning@ucl.ac.uk