What is the Doerr Institute for New Leaders? DINL is a large scale leader development enterprise at Rice University. It is not affiliated with a school or any other institute at Rice. The Doerr Institute is committed to the early development of leader abilities in young people, and unlike other programs, is not focused on experienced students in leader roles—we help develop all students who want to increase their capacity to lead, no matter how young or inexperienced they might be.
What is the DINL's mission? The mission of the Institute is to elevate the leadership capacity of Rice students — both undergraduate and graduate — across the university. DINL doesn’t adhere to one definition of leadership; rather, our leader developers help students develop their own pragmatic definition of leadership based on two cultures: their culture of origin, and the culture in which they wish to eventually work. This flexibility is key to tailoring development across our fabulously diverse student body.
How is DINL unique from other leadership programs? Most leadership programs reach relatively small numbers of students. DINL is focused on providing opportunities across the university.
What's the difference between a mentor and a coach? Mentors are people with greater experience than the people they mentor, and so mentoring is a power relationship, usually in alignment with a specific career path. Mentors often give advice and can be excellent for networking and career development. ICF certified coaches are professional leader developers with specific education, training, ethical standards, and experience developing their clients. Coaches establish a supportive relationship, in that the student client holds the power and the coach helps to shape the student's development in a tailored fashion. Coaches almost never give specific advice, instead they help student clients reach their own conclusions and goals. Coaches are excellent leader developers. And to clarify, DINL employs only professional leadership coaches whose training is approved by the International Coach Federation. At present we do not use mentors, life coaches, or other untrained advisors.
Does DINL offer credit or certificates for those who participate? No. Research clearly indicates that people who learn to lead with external incentives often stop actively learning when the incentives are no longer in place. Our goal is to create lifelong learners and for students to continue to develop as leaders after graduation. We seek to incentivize students by offering exceptionally high quality experiences.
How does DINL or Rice define leadership? We don't. Our leader developers help students develop their own pragmatic definition of leadership based on two cultures: their culture of origin, and the culture in which they wish to eventually work. This flexibility is key to tailoring development across our fabulously diverse student body.
Are there similar programs at other schools? Rice has the most progressive and widely available leader development opportunities among the top 20 schools, both in the US and globally. Just the fact that every Rice student will be offered tailored leader development by their own professional leadership coach sets Rice apart from every major university in the country.
How do you know if your initiatives actually develop leaders? The DINL has a full time team of four researchers whose sole job is to assess our processes and outcomes, and to serve as a feedback loop so that we can continuously improve. Every component of our program is assessed, to include each and every professional coaching session. We also offer our metrics team as a service to other organizations on campus who want to learn more about their impact in developing Rice students as leaders.
How can I get involved? DINL regularly visits residential colleges to describe opportunities to learn to lead. Students can sign up then, or anyone can contact the DINL at any time by writing to email@example.com.