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Strategic Leaders Program

The Strategic Leaders Program is an award-winning leadership program that provides a bold and different way of thinking about leadership. The program builds on McMaster’s six leadership capabilities to focus on operational excellence and leading others at the university.

Strategic Leaders oversee a function and/or team within a department or faculty. Typical roles include (but not limited to): manager, senior manager, associate director, program or institute directors, department or associate chairs.

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Applications for the Fall 2023 cohort are open.

Program Information

Learning Objectives: participants of this program will gain an awareness of their current capabilities and work to develop them to more effectively lead others and ultimately position themselves to grow their careers within McMaster. A variety of learning methods are incorporated including a McMaster specific multi-rater leadership assessment, experiential and self-reflection activities. Read more in the program overview.

Credential: individuals who successfully complete program requirements will be issued a certificate of completion microcredential in digital format.  A microcredential is an official recognition of a defined set of skills, knowledge, and competencies.

Eligibility: applicants must have served in a strategic leader role for a minimum of one fiscal year cycle as of the program start date. Employees are eligible provided they are employed: a) on a part-time or full-time continuing or contractually limited appointment of at least 1 year; or, b) under the terms of a Collective Agreement, written contract or employment contract which specifically extends the Tuition Assistance benefit to employees.

This program is funded by McMaster University. Participants are not required to make up the time away from their role to participate in this training. The Strategic Leaders Program is delivered by the McMaster Continuing Education (MCE) and sponsored by Human Resources Services.

Questions?  Contact

Program Dates & Format

Fall 2023 sessions are Wednesdays, October 11, 25, November 8, 22, December 13, 2023, January 17, and February 7*, 2024.

Time: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm for virtual sessions

*Note: October 11 (Main campus, TBD) and February 7 (One James North) will be delivered in-person, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. More information will be provided closer to these session dates.

Location: Virtual sessions will be delivered via Zoom. Self-study/pre-work via Avenue to Learn is expected between virtual sessions.

Applications are open and will close August 4, 2023. Admission notifications will be communicated the week of August 14, 2023.

Application Process

Complete the following steps:

1. Review this opportunity with your supervisor and ask them to complete the Supervisor Support Form. (Completed forms will need to be uploaded to the online application.)

2. Complete the Online Application. This form will require you to be logged into your McMaster Office 365 account.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Christine Costa, Organizational Development and Design Consultant, Human Resources Services at

Selection Process

Only completed applications will be reviewed and considered following the application deadline date, and applicants will be notified of acceptance in mid-December for the Winter cohort and mid-August for the Fall cohort. The following criteria will be considered in the selection process:

  • the alignment and specificity of one’s stated learning and career goals with program outcomes,
  • the length of time in one’s role – applicants must have served in a strategic leader role for a minimum of one fiscal year cycle as of the program start date; and
  • one’s current leadership role; priority is granted to individual currently working in a strategic leader capacity. Individuals seeking development and promotion into a strategic leader role will be considered as space is available.

Representation from across the University (inclusive of all University faculties and departments) will also be considered to enhance networking opportunities and to include diverse perspectives across academia and administration.

In the event that applications are deemed equal after review, a lottery draw will be used to fill available spaces.

Participants will receive program information, including any required pre-assignment, at least one week prior to the program start date.