Social Change Model of Leadership

What Does It Mean to be a Student Leader at Mercer?

Macon Student Leadership Mission Statement

To enhance the overall educational experience of all students through involvement within the Mercer and Macon communities including campus wide cultural, educational and social programming, leadership development and volunteerism, and Greek life/student organization participation.

Mercer Student Leadership Model

The model above depicts the components that comprise student leadership on the campus of Mercer University. The model shows the three levels of student leadership involvement (Emerging, Experiential and Advanced), guided by the three core values (Service, Integrity and Advocacy). That entity is encompassed by the Social Change Model of Leadership Development (Astin & Astin 1996). All components of the model are described below.

Student Leadership Involvement

These three tiers of involvement encompass many, if not most, Mercer students. These categories specify areas in which Mercer students participate, organize, develop and/or engage their fellow students on campus.

  • Emerging: This is the most fundamental level of student leadership involvement.
  • Experiential: This level of student leadership involvement includes a variety of experiences that allow Mercer students to have hands on experience with leadership activities and responsibilities.
  • Advanced: This highest level of student leadership involvement is achieved by students who have a desire to learn, lead and achieve. This group of students hold the highest leadership positions, influence the development of various leadership opportunities for other students and look to expand their leadership abilities well past the Mercer community.

Core Values

The following values have been identified as cornerstones for the development of our student leaders:

  • Service: To elevate service to others above one's own self interest.
  • Integrity: To act honestly and responsibly while promoting ethical principles on the part of one's own organization.
  • Advocacy: To empower students to act as social change agents for the campus and community at large.

Social Change Model of Leadership Development

This framework, originally developed by Astin & Astin (1996)*, helps guide the formation of student leaders on campus. As depicted in the model above, there are three areas that coincide with our concept of student leadership. These areas utilize the "seven C's," which include:

  • Group Values: Collaboration, Common Purpose, Civility
  • Societal & Community Values: Citizenship
  • Individual Values: Consciousness of Self, Congruence, Commitment

Goals for Student Leadership

 The following goals have been identified to promote the mission and core values for student leadership at Mercer.

  • To help all students develop the skills, values and knowledge necessary for effective servant leadership roles.
  • To provide co-curricular opportunities that allow for civic engagement, leadership development and community service.
  • To support high achieving students within their leadership roles and responsibilities.
  • To enable students to utilize experiences acquired through Mercer programs for post-graduate service opportunities.
  • To assist students in developing their own philosophy of leadership.

Current Student Leadership Opportunities

  • Center for Community Engagement
  • Leadership Mercer
  • Leadership Certificate Program (currently in planning phase)
  • National Society of Leadership and Success
  • Mercer Service Scholars
  • Social Entrepreneurship Program

*Astin, Helen S. and Alexander W. Astin. A Social Change Model of Leadership Development Guidebook Version III. The National Clearinghouse of Leadership Programs, 1996.

The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) at Mercer University-- Macon


2021 NSLS Inducted Cohort

The NSLS is the largest leadership honor society in the United States. Our NSLS chapter at Mercer University - Macon was started in 2013. Our local chapter is part of the national organization with 700+ chapters and over 1.4 million members. 
Students are selected based on exemplary academic achievement. As of May, 2022 we have 1,811 members who have access to:

The NSLS leadership program teaches the interpersonal skills that employers seek to give you an edge in the job market. Hear directly from current members as they share how their experience has changed their life.
If you become a member, some of the other benefits are:

  • Learn from exceptional leaders like former President Barack Obama during exclusive Speaker Broadcasts.
  • Meet new friends and make lifelong connections (on-campus and virtually).
  • Overcome challenges with success coaches shortcutting your way to success.
  • Access to private networking events.

Visit the NSLS website to learn more about and accept your nomination. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the common questions we receive are listed below. If you have any other questions, visit nsls.org to chat with a team member or email help@nsls.org

What do I have to do to become inducted?

  • Our five-step program takes approximately 12 hours over the course of the semester at your pace. 

Is this recognized on campus?

  • We are a student organization that is regongized through the Office of Campus Life. As of 2021, we had 1,762 in our chapter and there are more than 1.4 million members nationwide.


Contact Omar Romero-Cruz, Graduate Assistant for Leadership Development, at campuslife@mercer.edu or at 478-301-2987 with questions.

Leadership Mercer Program

Leadership Mercer 2019

Leadership Mercer 18-19 Cohort at the Kings Park Community Center

Mercer University’s co-curricular model for leadership is based on the Social Change Model for Leadership Development, which allows students to engage in leadership at multiple entry points (i.e. Emerging, Experiential, and Advanced). Currently, a program is in place to support students at the emerging leader’s level. Leadership Mercer is being implemented to support students at the experiential level. The program’s structure is designed to prepare and equip students to be leaders in the 21st Century.

Program Goals

Goal 1: To assist students in enhancing their leadership develop skills in order to be an effective servant leader.
 Goal 2: To provide co-curricular opportunities that allow for civic engagement and community service.
Goal 3: To assist students in developing their own philosophy of leadership.

Core Values of Leadership

Understanding yourself- A successful leader knows the leader they want to become; this session allows the cohort to begin discovering more about themselves, each other, and their leadership 

Integrity- A successful leader acts honestly and responsibly while promoting ethical principles on the part of one's own organization.

Service- A successful leader serves others first. Possibly partner with the Center for Community Engagement for the cohort to participate in a service project for this event.

Advocacy- A successful leader empowers others to succeed, grow, and create change.

Program Components

Monthly Seminars: A large group discussion with speakers, activities, and practice examples of important aspects of leadership (see Core Values of leadership).

Small groups: Monthly small group discussions of a Ted Talk, small passage, or other additional material as a chance to debrief the monthly experience.

Final Project: A culminating project to work with the entire cohort on a service project to put the leadership skills discussed throughout the year into practice.

Mercer University Student Leadership Awards


2022 Bear Award Recipients

Each April the Macon Office of Campus Life recognizes students and student organizations from across campus that have outstanding co-curricular involvement during their time at Mercer. Below are the awards given each year. We applaud all Mercer students that get involved and make a difference in their time at Mercer.

Nominations are all online for individual and organization awards. For all student organzation awards, you must submit Bears at Their Best throughout the year! fraternity and sorority chapter should not apply for student org. awards. Please see FSP website for award nomination process.

Student Organization Awards (Submitted through Bear's at Their Best throughout the year to recieve these awards)

  • Most Improved Student Organization
  • Student Organization Campus Contributions
  • Student Organization Educational Efforts
  • Student Organization of the Year
  • Community Service Award
  • Annual Diversity and Inclusion Award (Student Organization)

Individual Leadership Awards (online submission only)

  • Spright Dowell Award (ODK selects this awards recipient)
  • SGA Student of the Year (SGA selects this award recipient)
  • The Barry Jenkins Award (SGA selects this award recipient)
  • The BEAR Awards for Campus Involvement
  • Thelma "T Lady" Ross Spirit of Mercer Award
  • "Papa Joe" Hendricks Award
  • The Mercerian Award
  • Annual Diversity and Inclusion Award (staff/student)
  • Organization Advisor of the Year

Student Leadership Positions


Student Life Leadership Opportunities

If you are interested in any of these positions and would like to be directed to the office that oversees them, please email at Campuslife@mercer.edu.

Academic Leadership Opportunities

Athletic Leadership Opportunities