The world is changing. Gone are the days when one country, one group, one person could dictate and deliver policies and programs in the best interests of all. We live in an interconnected world where decisions have massive ripple effects into the lives of many. And understanding “best interests” means understanding the multitude of perspectives that come from different backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. In this context, the concept of leadership is evolving. True leadership is not solely defined by the acts of a single authoritative figure anymore—it’s also about enabling many to work together toward a common goal.

NYU Wagner has been a pioneer in challenging the view of heroic leadership and advancing an understanding of collective leadership. And yet we also focus on developing individual capabilities. Why? Because the individual side of leadership is about developing your passion. That’s crucial to understanding how your passion can connect to others in order to deliver social transformation. By cultivating both the “me” and “we” perspectives of leadership, NYU Wagner helps you understand how to mobilize groups to develop a driving purpose and build commitment—together.

We are also committed to creating and supporting intentional opportunities, programs, and initiatives—inside and outside the classroom—where you can develop your leadership capabilities.

These beliefs are woven throughout all of our degree programs. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to help build successful organizations, craft relevant policies, and deliver effective programs, as well as be an agent of change who can help drive positive social transformation that truly incorporates all the interests involved.

WAGTalk: Sonia Ospina, "A Research Agenda on Collective Leadership and Social Change"

A Research Agenda on Collective Leadership and Social Change

Professor Sonia Ospina discusses her research on collective leadership, exploring the ways communities try to make social change.

More to Explore


Learning Pathways Grid

P. Rivard, E.G. Foldy, & J.W. Rudolph
Read more

Fernando Henao

Country Director
Grameen Foundation
Fernando Henao
Read more

Gentrification Toolkits

Bloomberg Associates
Read more
Centers and Initiatives

Leadership in Action at Wagner

Leadership in Action at Wagner is a virtual space that brings together a community of practice at NYU Wagner who study, mobilize, and develop effective leadership in public service. By providing public access to academic papers, reports, teaching materials, and briefs, Leadership in Action at Wagner is also a valuable resource for leaders in governments, nonprofits, and communities.

At Leadership in Action at Wagner, a diverse group of faculty, staff, students, and scholars are committed to​ understanding leadership as a critical dimension of successful public service work. Our leadership faculty and staff come from various disciplinary and professional backgrounds and have extensive experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, philanthropic and community organizations, social justice and issue-based advocacy groups, and more.

Explore our website to learn more about Leadership in Action at Wagner.


Sonia M. Ospina, Faculty Co-Director and Professor of Public Management and Policy

Erica Gabrielle Foldy, Faculty Co-Director and Associate Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management

Email: wagner.leadership@nyu.edu


Read more

LaPorta Named Rising Star

Read more