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Servant Leadership Programs

The mission of the Cowan-Turner Servant Leadership Program is to promote the understanding and practice of servant leadership at Georgia Tech. Our programs and activities make a positive contribution to creating a culture that reflects the principles of servant leadership.

About the Program

The program at Georgia Tech began in 1999 with the establishment of the William B. Turner Chair in Servant Leadership (funded by the Bradley-Turner Foundation). It is currently directed by Dr. Robert Thomas and is housed within the ILSI, a part of the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech. Dr. Thomas works in conjunction with the program's advisory board consisting of Mr. Joel Cowan, Mr. Blake Patton, Mr. Alex Gregory, Dr. Terry Blum, Ms. Claire Christopher, Ms. Marissa Pittard,  and Mr. Jack Turner.



Robert Greenleaf believed that the key to creating a more just, caring and sustainable society was to raise the performance of our institutions as servants. He felt that our business, academic, governmental, and faith-based organizations could be a place where people grow as individuals, where they become healthier, wiser, freer and more autonomous. The Cowan-Turner Servant Leadership Program was created to promote the understanding and practice of Greenleaf's servant leadership at Georgia Tech. We do this by offering courses in servant leadership and social entrepreneurship, developing programs that help students understand how to lead as a servant leader, designing and delivering workshops and programs for faculty interested in enhancing their abilities to influence others, and supporting student organizations interested in learning how they can integrate the philosophy of servant leadership into their personal and professional lives. 

Programs and Activities

Our Programs and Activities Include:

Overall Goals

Overall Goals

  1.  To create learning modules on servant leadership for Leadership/Management/Teambuilding courses at
    • Georgia Tech
    • Other institutions of higher education
  2. To partner with Georgia Tech academic and administrative units to develop programs and activities that encourage behaviors and policies that reflect the principles of servant leadership
  3. To provide guidance and support to student organizations engaged in leadership development*
  4. To develop program(s) for students to provide them with a solid understanding of servant leadership and how to integrate this philosophy into their personal and professional lives. In this process, we encourage students to disseminate this knowledge to other students and student organizations.
  5. Encourage and support scholarly activities within Georgia Tech and other institutions of higher education on servant leadership.
  6. Ensure the sustainability of the Cowan-Turner Servant Leadership Program regarding:
    • Leadership
    • Administration
    • Organizational Structure
    • Academia
    • Finance

*Special efforts are taken to attract and inform students from the Columbus area