Greenleaf Scholars Program


The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership is proud to sponsor the Greenleaf Scholars Program. The purpose of the program is to identify and support promising early career scholars and professionals who wish to study the impact of servant leadership in a wide range of organizational or social contexts. The program is administered through Seton Hall University. 

The goals of the program are (1) to inspire a new generation of critical scholarship based on the concepts of servant leadership that were articulated by Robert K. Greenleaf; (2) to support rigorous scholarship that offers evidence of the impact of servant leadership on the health and effectiveness of organizations and communities; and (3) to build a nurturing community of academic researchers, practitioners, and students who study and teach servant leadership.

Each Greenleaf Scholar will receive an award that totals $2,500.

Selection Criteria

Greenleaf Scholars will be selected by an international review committee comprised of faculty members from a range of universities. Applicants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Significance of work to the servant leadership movement
  • The expected influence on practice of the proposed study
  • Quality of the applicant’s research proposal, including the research plan, progress on the project, and scholarly potential of the research.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of servant leadership scholarship and Robert K. Greenleaf’s works.


We strongly encourage applicants from a diverse group of scholars who utilize a range of methodologies. The selection committee aims to represent the disciplinary and methodological breadth of servant leadership scholarship through the selection process. While previous award winners will, in rare cases, be considered for subsequent support, it would only be for a new research study and only if all previous commitments to the program have been fully met.

The Greenleaf Center will sponsor awards each year for pre-tenured faculty, early career practitioners, and advanced graduate students who engage in research that explores servant leadership. Greenleaf Scholars will be selected by an international review committee comprised of faculty members from the following public and private universities in the United States and overseas, including:

  • Seton Hall University
  • Northwestern College
  • University of Michigan
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Union Institute and University


All applicants should be at the dissertation stage of their doctoral studies or hold a doctorate (no more than 5 years post-degree).


The 2023 Greenleaf Scholars Application Is Now Open!

DUE AUGUST 11, 2023 at 12PM ET

Please be prepared to upload your responses to the following as a single PDF document. To ensure an anonymous review, we ask you to take care not to include any personally identifiable information in this document. Please note, your application will be deemed incomplete if you fail to provide all required information.

1. A description of the research (1800 word maximum) that you are proposing to support with this award. It is recommended that you address the following criteria in your proposal statement:

● Abstract (50-100 words): To the extent possible, the abstract should be jargon free and crafted with a lay audience in mind (i.e., a submission that could be used for a local newspaper)
● The importance of your research and how the findings might influence the practice of servant leadership
● Relevant theoretical framework(s)
● Methodology, including the dataset used and how it was obtained

2. A description of your plans for your research (500 word maximum). It is recommend that this statement address the following topics:

● A brief timeline for the completion of the research
● What is the anticipated impact of the research?
● Do you plan to submit to journals or conferences? If so, please name the journals or conferences you have identified.
● If you have you previously published or presented research related to your proposed topic and/or servant leadership, please name the article/journal/conference.

3. A concise definition of the concept of servant leadership and how this definition connects to your proposed research. Please describe how your research builds on the writings of Robert K. Greenleaf. (500 word maximum)

Additional program questions may be sent to: