Transformational Leaders Program

Students discuss a project in the Intro to Entrepreneurship class in the innovation lab at the Notre Dame IDEA Center.

The Transformational Leaders Program endeavors to support some of our highest potential undergraduate students with a comprehensive portfolio of services and opportunities to enhance their Notre Dame experience.


In the fall of 2021 the University created the Transformational Leaders Program (TLP), a scholarly initiative focused on enhancing the academic trajectories and community of some of our most promising students who have also, in some way, been historically marginalized or challenged.

The Transformational Leaders Program serves students’ academic, professional, social, and spiritual development, paying particular attention to celebrating the gifts of all of our scholars and assisting them to find the best academic path forward at Notre Dame. The aim is to help each scholar reach their academic and intellectual goals and develop their natural leadership, while staying healthy, grounded, and connected.

Our most important and precious resource as a campus community is our students. The Transformational Leaders Program sits squarely at the intersection of our commitment to student development and our responsibility to nurture the promise of future leaders.

Scholar Cohorts

Our Scholars come from a wide variety of backgrounds and form cohort groups with the attention of a dedicated Education and Outreach Specialist for each cohort. Students are assigned to a cohort group for mentoring, discernment assistance, and support, along with community building activities and peer groups.

University Commitment

The Transformational Leaders Program represents a commitment to:

  • Comprehensively support students to improve, enhance, and ensure academic and post-graduate success.
  • Create cohorts of dedicated, community-minded leaders who support one another in their personal and professional aspirations.
  • Provide physical space for gathering, studying, community building, and collaborating.
  • Support the development of leadership, communication, and networking skills.
  • Collaborate with the Office of Student Enrichment, the Center for University Advising, and the Center for Student Support and Care to provide additional material support when needed for the program’s students to flourish at Notre Dame. 

Benefits to Students

Students who opt into the program can expect: 

  • Mentoring by and connection to the program’s director and staff.
  • Intensive advising in collaboration with first-year and college advisers.
  • Community programming and social opportunities, including over campus breaks.
  • Opportunities for paid summer research and/or summer school study with housing.
  • A dedicated gathering and study space (217 Main Building) open Monday–Friday during University business hours.
  • Material support for typical campus undertakings readily available to all students.

Program Leadership

The program is led by Dr. Maria McKenna and a team of superb staff from a wider variety of backgrounds.

Maria McKenna

Maria McKenna

Director, Transformational Leaders Program & AnBryce Scholars Initiative

Professor of the Practice, Department of Africana Studies and Education, Schooling, & Society Program




Students and parents/caregivers interested in learning more about the Transformational Leaders Program are invited to contact us via email or at (574) 631-5888.

Campus Resources

Office of Student Enrichment (OSE)

OSE aims to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment so that every new generation of Domers finds a home and flourishes at Notre Dame.

More About OSE

Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS)

MSPS provides support for historically underrepresented students on campus through academic initiatives, cultural enrichment programs, student organizations, and by connecting students to the alumni network.

More About MSPS

Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE)

CUSE creates opportunities for students to pursue research and creative endeavors by helping them find faculty mentors, funding, presentation/publication outlets, and other resources.

More About CUSE

Center for Student Support and Care

Connecting Notre Dame students with academic, social, physical, mental, financial, and spiritual support, the Center for Student Support and Care is dedicated to providing comprehensive, individualized care.

More About Student Support and Care