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Cardinal Commitment
Leadership program

Public Service Leadership Program (PSLP)

Multi-quarter part-time
Arts & Media, 
Education & Youth Development, 
Environmental Sustainability, 
Human Rights, 
Law, Policy & Justice, 
Technology & Engineering

The Public Service Leadership Program (PSLP) is a guided path on which students complete courses and a practicum related to a particular public service focus area.

The goal of the program is to develop thoughtful, skilled, and reflective practitioners equipped to effect social change.

PSLP members have competitive priority for Cardinal Quarter opportunities and paid Issue Area Coordinator roles, and they are eligible for Leadership Enhancement Grants to use toward further leadership development.

Students who complete the Public Service Leadership Program are eligible to have their commitment reflected on their academic transcript with the Cardinal Service Notation.

Kana Cummings

"As an advocate of community-based change, I hope to utilize my remaining time at Stanford to continue working to ensure that the social and environmental impacts of food waste and food insecurity on campus can be mitigated as much as possible. "

Kana Cummings, ’22, is studying sociology with a focus in data science, markets, and management. She is the current financial officer and former co-president for Stanford Food Recovery, a member of the Public Service Leadership Program, an ASSU executive fellow for COVID-19 response, a mentor for Project Access, an associate for Stanford Women on Boards, a vice president of professional development for the Stanford Pre-Business Association, and former vice president of Stanford Roots. Kana is originally from Cleveland, Ohio.

Kana Cummings, ’22

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Enrollment in PSLP is open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors from all majors.


To enroll in the Public Service Leadership Program, students must:

  • Complete the gateway course, Ethics and Leadership in Public Service. The course explores ethical questions that arise in public service work, as well as leadership theory and skills relevant to public service work. Through readings, discussions, in-class activities, assignments, and guest lectures, students develop a foundation and vision for a future of ethical and effective service leadership. At the end of the course, students who plan to participate in PSLP are asked to identify a Public Service Focus Area that they intend to engage through courses and a practicum.
  • Identify an advisor to meet with quarterly throughout program to discuss goals and opportunities. This can be a faculty member, staff member, graduate student, or community member with significant experience related to the student’s Public Service Focus Area.


The following experiences are required for completion of the Public Service Leadership Program:

  • Two courses related to the student's public service focus area, at least one of which involves community-engaged learning (i.e. a Cardinal Course) or community-based research.
  • Practicum: Significant experiential work related to the student's public service focus area. Can be fulfilled by Cardinal Commitment or Cardinal Quarter.
  • Leadership Practice: PSLP members must undertake a leadership challenge in their Practicum. See below for details.

To synthesize their learning and leadership development from various program components, students are expected to participate in reflection sessions once a quarter throughout the program. The reflection sessions will provide an opportunity for participants to connect with each other, share what they are experiencing and learning, and learn from each other.

Leadership Practice Details

Public Service Leadership Program members must undertake a leadership challenge (i.e. a major effort to guide people to a new place) in their Practicum. The leadership challenge provides a laboratory for developing leadership skills and a personal approach to leadership, and serves as a focal point for the reflection sessions that are a part of the program. PSLP members are expected to write a reflection on their leadership challenge upon completion of the program.

Qualifying leadership challenges include:

  • planning and implementing an organizational change process
  • organizing a group in accomplishing an important project, goal, or process
  • resolving a conflict or negotiating an agreement within your organization or between your organization and another organization
  • changing the culture of your organization
  • mentoring members of your organization
  • planning and implementing leadership development/leadership transition efforts for members of your organization
  • raising support for your organization from outside groups or significant individuals
  • raising the visibility of your organization


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The Haas Center offers all kinds of resources for Cardinal Commitment organizations. Learn more

We do our best to keep the information current for these student service organizations. If you find something that's out of date or want to check to see if an organization is currently active, please contact us.

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