Servant Leadership Certificate


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Please note that this class will meet in a highly interactive, live online classroom. There will be reading assignments, videos and offline reflective work in between sessions to enhance your learning and application of new skills and ideas.

This newly re-designed certificate examines the concepts, history and real-world practice of servant leadership. A Servant Leadership approach emphasizes meeting the needs of the organization’s employees, customers, other stakeholders and the broader community. This series will also emphasize participant clarification of personal values and development of goals for how they will embody and apply this form of leadership. Instruction will include an overview of the principles of the founder of Servant Leadership, Robert Greenleaf and then focus on more modern applications of Servant Leadership with specific examples from both profit and nonprofit organizations. The challenges and opportunities of this leadership style will also be explored as preparation for participants navigating their own leadership journey as they create shared purpose within their teams and organizations.

All readings for the class will be provided in view-only digital PDF format. If participants would like a personal copy of the book from which the majority of readings are taken, we recommend purchasing a copy of Practicing Servant Leadership: Developments in Implementation by Dierendonck and Patterson (2018).

See what participants are saying about this course.


“The best leaders are clear. They continually light the way, and in the process, let each person know that what they do makes a difference. The best test as a leader is: Do those served grow as persons; do they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become leaders?” — Robert K. Greenleaf

Examine the core aspects of servant leadership and incorporate those learnings into your professional life. Designed for formal or informal leaders at any level in the organization and open to leaders in private business, health care, human services, nonprofit, or public sector. We cover servant leadership foundations, leadership through self-awareness, connecting servant leadership to your world, and bringing servant leadership to life.

Program objectives

Participants will:

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of the unique approach of Servant Leadership as a leadership style.
  • Explore the advantages, challenges and paradoxes inherent in adopting a Servant Leadership approach.
  • Examine and refine personal leadership values using self-reflection through focused dialogue, journal writing and other methods in order to develop their personal leadership values and articulate them to others.
  • Analyze Servant Leadership principles, determine how those principles can be applied, and identify areas for further personal development.
  • Review specific examples of organizations that have operationalized servant leader principles to gain application insights and inspiration.
  • Explore how servant-let organizations can impact community society and systems historically and in a contemporary context.

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Overview: Extra Information

SHRM Recertification Provider 2021 seal

Continuing Studies is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®.

Course Outline

Program sessions

All five sessions are required to receive the certificate. These sessions will be interactive and there will also be some reflective work and reading for participants to complete outside of class. As part of the in-class portion of the five sessions, you will experience guest speakers who are actively practicing servant leadership in their organizations who will share personal insights.

Session 1: Servant Leadership Foundations

Session 2: Personal and Organizational Challenges of Servant Leadership

Session 3: Serving Customers/Clients/Citizens

Session 4: Servant Leadership at the Team and Organizational Level

Session 5: Connecting Servant Leadership to Community and the World

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 33
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 3.3

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

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Not scheduled at this time. Join the mailing list.

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Program Questions?

Contact Laura V. Page at laura.page@wisc.edu or 608-890-3627

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

Meet your instructor(s)

Laura V. Page

Laura V. Page (MS, UW-Madison; MS-J, Northwestern Univ.) is the area director for the leadership and management programs at UW-Madison Continuing Studies. Page was an independent management consultant for more than two decades and is a frequent seminar instructor, staff retreat planner and keynote speaker.

John Rutkiewicz

(MS, UW-Milwaukee) is an organizational consultant. He brings more than 25 years of experience as a leader and manager in fields ranging from sales and marketing to customer service and finance. He is a certified coach and conflict mediator who specializes in leadership development, coaching, top-team alignment, conflict resolution and interpersonal communication.

What Attendees Are Saying

"The Servant Leadership Course provided me an opportunity for personal growth in developing a leadership style that reflects my values, thoughtful reflection on methods, and challenged me to live a life of service in both my professional and personal life. Servant Leadership answers the desire to serve and aspires one to lead. A valuable course in developing those who answer the call to serve others, and develop the framework for successful Leaders. I would highly recommend the course as it opens up new opportunities to develop high-performance teams based on identifying personal skills and strengths." — Jennifer Shilling, Wisconsin State Senator, 2011-2020
"This course was good for heart and head. It was packed full of expert speakers, case studies, guided conversations with peers and exercises to help me take it all home. My colleagues came from health care, IT, manufacturing, and public service. The hardest and most important conversations and decisions are almost always about the people – and this course has helped me get those conversations and decisions right more often." — Alison
"The Servant Leadership Certificate Series through UW-Madison was life-changing. Each Friday turned into a welcome respite to take the time to focus on leadership and learn from others. I walked away from every single session feeling energized and renewed in my commitment to be a better leader, a better steward and a better person. Servant Leadership principles hold true in every situation, in everyday life, whether you lead people in the traditional sense or not. It has made me more reflective and has helped me identify and focus on what is important in life." — Kari