The Academy for Leadership Development was established in 2004 by the Division of Student Life at Baylor University to create a common place where diverse individuals studying, researching or practicing leadership in the context of a Christian worldview will benefit from collaboration. The purpose of fostering greater synergy among "leadership thinkers" is guided by an aspiration to provide a meaningful forum for talented Baylor students to develop their strengths in preparation for answering a call to sustained leadership in whatever their chosen vocations, whether they be service in public life, private enterprise, social issues, or the Church.
Leadership is not about elections, promotions, titles, prestige, or position. Leadership is the ability to effect positive change in one's environment, however large or small. Some change, however, brings about personal and environmental transformation. This type of change moves beyond substituting one thing for another and instead causes a "metamorphosis in form or structure, a change in the very condition or nature of a thing, a change into another substance, a radical change in outward form or inner character, as when a frog is transformed into a prince or a carriage maker into an auto factory" (Burns, 2003, p. 24).
The Academy for Leadership Development is built on the assumption that some individuals are called to sustained positions of leadership (and possess the Romans 12:8 Christian spiritual gift of leadership); furthermore, no one is released from the responsibility to influence the world for noble and good purposes through opportunities to lead. As part of this endeavor, "Leaders take the initiative in mobilizing people for participation in the processes of change, encouraging a sense of collective identity and collective efficacy, which in turn brings stronger feelings of self-worth and self-efficacy.... By pursuing transformational change, people transform themselves . . . instead of exercising power over people, transforming leaders champion and inspire followers" (Burns, 2003, p. 24-25).