The Odyssey Program

Professional and Leadership Development

Odyssey experiences that fall in this category may be distinctly professional or leadership-focused; some experiences may well fall into both categories simultaneously. Such experiences may be a stand-alone course (coded PL), may be integrated into a standing course, or may be entirely independent of academic coursework. Experiences that fulfill this category may be either financially compensated or not.

 A Professional Development experience gives the student an opportunity to develop or refine skills related to a specific professional field or immerses the student in a well-focused exploration of the student’s choice of profession or vocation. A vocational exploration can include the search for an appropriate career or field of study, but it can also be a process for broader discernment about the values, enduring passions, social roles, and forms of public service that will inform one’s professional life. Vocational explorations meriting Professional Development credit will have well-delineated objectives regarding the vocational aspirations to be explored and clear articulation of how the activities performed advance that exploration. Whether focused on a specific profession or an exploration of career and vocational options, Professional Development experiences include an evaluation of the student’s values, interests, strengths, and abilities as they relate to the field or vocational options being explored. A minimum of 100 hours of engagement or a contractual commitment over a two-year period to a Professional Development endeavor is required for the Odyssey credit.

 Leadership Development experiences focus on the development of a student’s unique leadership style as well as enhancing the student’s awareness of group dynamics and the fulfillment of goals through engaging with a group. Odyssey credits for such experiences require a minimum of 100 hours of engagement in up to four Leadership Development commitments during the student’s time at the College.

 In addition, Odyssey credit in this category requires the incorporation of a reflective, analytical component, including written analyses. When the Professional and Leadership Development experience stands apart from a class, this reflection should be submitted to the Hendrix faculty or administrative staff member advising the student during his or her Odyssey experience.

 Examples of experiential learning activities that might fulfill this category:

 INDIVIDUALIZED ACADEMIC EXPERIENCES. In addition to standing courses, a professor may wish to add to an existing course a major experiential project (module) that would qualify for Odyssey credit under this category. Also, if the professor so chose, it might be feasible for a smaller number of hours of professional or leadership development that are a component of a course to be supplemented by non-course hours to complete the 100 hours necessary for the Odyssey credit in this category. Similarly, completion of leadership experiences in the ROTC program can fulfill this requirement as long as a Hendrix faculty or administrative staff member is involved in overseeing the reflective component that completes it as an Odyssey experience.

 CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES. This category includes any activities not directly tied to the curriculum. These include the extracurricular works of the formalized Leadership Scholars program, the informal work of other leaders with significant responsibilities in student organizations, serving as a key player in a political or community advocacy event on- or off-campus, or engagement in varsity athletics. Up to four such leadership experiences may be combined to fulfill this requirement.

 COURSES. Those courses that include a major hands-on component in professional or leadership development could be candidates for fulfilling this Odyssey category. Specific examples include practicum courses focused on the application of theoretical principles examined within a discipline.

 In the Professional Development category, on-campus work experiences that are tied to engagement in academic professional development (e.g. serving as a tutor in academic departments on the campus) may also be Odyssey-worthy.


Supervisors for the PL category may be members of the Hendrix faculty or administrative staff. Please consult the Career Services page to familiarize yourself with the additional requirements for internships. 

Note that for Professional Development projects, the required 100 hours of participation (120 for Career Services internships) must take place in a single activity. For Leadership Development they may be divided among up to four separate activities.

Professional Development experiences should contribute to the development or refinement of your skills related to a particular professional field. Your online proposal submission should incorporate an evaluation of your values, interests, strengths, and abilities as they relate to that field.

Leadership Development experiences should contribute to your understanding of group dynamics and promote the development of your own unique leadership style.

For information on internships and professional field experiences, please see the appropriate section in this guide.