Dean's Engaged Leaders Program

The Dean's Engaged Leaders Program (DELP) is an exciting opportunity offered to incoming CFANS students who are committed to developing their potential to enhance our civic spaces through leadership, a commitment to diversity, and stewardship of the urban, rural, and natural environment.


American society and our local communities are becoming increasingly multicultural and diverse. This comes at a time when concerns about our cities, the food system, and environment continue to capture news headlines. How do these trends fit together? What does it mean to build our community spaces through civic leadership? How can we make a difference?

The Dean's Engaged Leaders Program provides a unique opportunity for CFANS students to explore these questions. DELP fosters the development of leadership skills in academic, social, and public service contexts. The program emphasizes hands-on learning, real-world applications, and relationship building with faculty and community leaders.

Features of the Dean's Engaged Leaders Program include:

  • Year-long (two-semester, Fall and Spring), 90-minute seminar class with readings, discussions, guest speakers, and case studies. This course is a Fall registration for 3 credits, while the course actually meets during both Fall and Spring semesters for an average workload of 1.5 credits per semester
  • September leadership retreat to Itasca State Park and the White Earth Indian Reservation
  • Service projects with community organizations in the spring
  • Tools to identify personal leadership styles, strengths, and intercultural skills
  • An opportunity to engage in service-learning with a local cultural community
  • Explore leadership connections to the international community


Each year, 25 incoming high school students—who collectively have a diverse set of perspectives and experiences to share—are chosen to participate. To be considered for this unique opportunity, please follow the application process. The Dean's Engaged Leaders Program is open to all interested new students who apply to (and are subsequently admitted and enrolled in) the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Related Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota.

Apply here!

Videos of Recent Group Activities with DELP

Panel discussion with MN state representative Rod Hamilton and retired World Health Organization leader Elisabeth Emerson

Student trip to White Earth and Itasca State Park

For questions or additional information about this program, please contact Mark Bellcourt in the CFANS Office for Diversity and Inclusion: