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Faith-Based Leader Program

The University's Faith-Based Leader Program is designed for students who want to experience the challenges and opportunities facing leaders in the Church or in other faith-based organizations. Interning as an executive assistant for a senior leader in the Church or another faith-based organization, students will be immersed in the reality of its day-to-day operations while experiencing first-hand the scope of the issues and challenges that confront executive officers.

"An education that is complete is one in which the hands and heart are equipped as much as the mind. We want to let our students try their learning in the world and so make a prayer of their education." - Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C. Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Instruction (Head)

During their junior year, students take a one-credit course called Faith-Based Leadership (LDR 391) that includes theological reflection and leader coaching developed specifically for students in the Faith-Based Leader Program. This course has a $250 fee. Scholarships may be available for students with financial need.

Practice (Hands)

During the summer following their junior year, students are placed in an eight-week internship with a faith-based organization. Interns get a “big picture” view of how faith-based organizations operate, which creates context for them to discern how God may be calling them vocationally to use their personal gifts.

Reflection (Heart)

Throughout the experience, interns are guided through the process of leader development and personal vocational discernment so as to help them identify how their faith is calling them to use their skills and talents in service of the Church or other faith-based organizations.

Program overview

  • Applications are open to sophomores during the spring semester.  Applicants are interviewed and up to 5 are chosen to participate in the program. After a formal interview process applicants are selected as interns.

Once Accepted:

  • During the fall of their junior year, students take a one-credit course, LDR 391: Faith-Based Leadership. This course meets on Wednesdays at 4:10 pm and is required for program participants. This course has a $250 fee. Scholarships may be available for students with financial need.

  • During the same semester, students interview with several executive mentors from participating organizations.
  • In December, students are paired with an executive mentor.
  • In the spring of junior year, students start the onboarding process with the organization with which they have been paired.
  • In the summer following junior year, students complete an 8-week internship within their  mentors' organizations.
  • During the fall semester of senior year, students provide a short presentation and submit a paper on their experience.


  • Participants receive a stipend for their summer internship. Funding is provided in part by grants, sponsoring organizations, individual donations, and the University of Portland.

Deadline & More Information

  • Nomination: Students must have support from a University faculty or staff member.  This individual should be able to speak to the student's leadership potential and be willing to submit a nominating letter no later than the application deadline of Friday, March 10, 2017.

  • Resume: Students must include a current resume with application.

  • To apply: Online Application  
  • Application Deadline: Friday, March 10, 2017.  Following the receipt of all application materials, all applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview.  


The Faith-Based Leader Program was developed by the Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and by Campus Ministry.

For more information contact Dave Houglum at or Fr. Jim Gallagher at