NLI Relaunch

With the reimagining of Cabrini University’s Nerney Leadership Institute leadership development will be seamlessly integrated into the education of every student, regardless of major or activity.

Founded in 2013 as a center within the School of Business, Arts, and Media to prepare its graduates for leadership roles in the workplace and community, the Nerney Leadership Institute (NLI) is now extending its programming to all four of Cabrini’s schools.

“We’re going to develop and integrate student learning outcomes with leadership development, inclusive of all students,” said University President Donald B. Taylor, PhD, “both in the classroom and with student life outside the classroom.

“I want to thank Tom Nerney, who is the most incredible supporter of Cabrini University. Tom gives so much to all aspects of Cabrini.”

Thomas P. Nerney (’77, HON’15), for whom the Institute is named, has expertise in leadership development through his experience as Chair, President, and CEO of USLI, which he joined in 1996 after 18 years on Philadelphia Insurance Companies’ senior management team.

“My vision for the Nerney Leadership Institute has always been, and continues to be, for students at Cabrini to leave after four years with something that could impact them and separate them from other students graduating,” said Nerney, a former Cabrini Trustee and Board Chair, who believes the first step is self-leadership. “Developing leadership skills brings out the best in you, unleashes your full potential, and I do think it makes life more fun.”

As the University’s strategic plan for 2025 evolves, leadership development is at the forefront.

“Our mission states in part that ‘Cabrini University is a Catholic institution of higher education dedicated to academic excellence, leadership development, and a commitment to social justice,’” said Chioma Ugochukwu, PhD, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are reimagining the leadership program at Cabrini University to ensure that leadership development, one of the pillars of our mission, is elevated and prioritized as much as the other pillars in our mission.”

Anne Filippone, Executive Director of Student Engagement and Leadership and NLI Co-Director, explained that the NLI’s mission-driven expansion will “take some of the leadership initiatives that exist on campus already and look to broaden them and build on them.”

The NLI currently conducts workshops and internships designed to build character and engagement; teaches the value of self-awareness in leadership style formation; and creates “toolkits” for problem-solving and effective collaboration-building.

Cabrini also offers academic programs in leadership that complement the NLI’s activities: a Doctorate (PhD or DBA) in Organization Development, Master of Science in Leadership, and minor in Leadership Studies. Undergraduates may also discover their leadership abilities, hone their skills, gain an edge on the competition, and earn a Leadership Studies certificate through their participation in LEADStrong, a co-curricular leadership program.

“Leadership development is for every student,” said Melissa Terlecki, PhD, Psychology Professor and NLI Co-Director, echoing Ugochukwu’s commitment to leadership as a part of Cabrini’s mission in Catholic higher education.

“The beauty of it is when it comes to commencement,” said Taylor, “I’ll know that every graduate will have been prepared to be the best leaders they can be, in their professional life, in their personal life—independent of what industry they’re in—because this has been embedded through all four years of their undergraduate experience.”

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