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Leadership Knoxville Scholars

Leadership Knoxville Scholars (LKS) takes an innovative approach to leadership education through community partnerships, bringing together student leaders in collaboration with Leadership Knoxville. LKS targets the best and brightest student leaders at the University of Tennessee and connects them to impactful leaders within the Knoxville community. LKS operates under the core values of servant leadership, community building, and social change. LKS is an intensive two-year leadership development and community immersion program.

Program Highlights


Leadership Knoxville Scholars participate in two separate leadership courses that bookend their experience in the program. The first class, ELPS411 LKS Fall Seminar, focuses on Servant Leadership and the Social Change Model of Leadership while learning about civic engagement and the history of the Knoxville communities. ELPS 411 LKS Senior Capstone, the last course, focuses on leadership development and civic engagement post graduation.



During the two years in the program Scholars receive one-on-one mentorship from a prominent community leader from the Leadership Knoxville program. Scholars and mentors meet at a mentor reveal during their second semester in the program and remain together until graduation. These relationships are used to further the scholars’ professional and personal development.


Servant Leadership is a core value of the LKS Program and so the program aims to serve the community through Community Action Projects (CAPs). Scholars are put into groups and  paired with one of five community partners that have identified a need within the Knoxville community. Students will work with these organizations for one calendar year. CAPs are a great way for Scholars to further enhance their leadership development while being civically engaged in Knoxville.

If you are interested in hosting Scholars for the 2024 calendar year, please fill out our interest form.

Community Immersion

In addition to service opportunities, Scholars have other chances to get involved in the Knoxville community through their Knoxville Immersion Trip and semesterly Knoxville Excursions. The Knoxville Immersion Trip  takes place before the students begin the program in the fall of their junior year. Past trips have includes visiting the CAP partners, low ropes challenge courses, a bus tour of the city provided by Visit Knoxville, eating at local restaurants while speaking with local entrepreneurs, and visiting the Sunsphere.

While in the program, Scholars have the opportunity to explore and learn about the Knoxville community through planned excursions. Past excursions include attending a city council meeting, hiking at Ijams while learning about urban wilderness, and visiting Knoxville Arts & Fine Crafts Center.

What Are Participants Saying about LKS?

“[Leadership Knoxville Scholars] is without a doubt the favorite program I participated in during my time at UT. These two years have challenged, empowered, and encouraged me to be a leader in my community, and it taught me to explore Knoxville and plant roots for the future.”

“Being in LKS has given me the opportunity to be a part of an organization that teaches me more about Knoxville and the people that make it so unique.”

Application Information

Applications are now closed. Reach out to with any questions.