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Student-Led Projects FAQs


Jack Lee ’15

Jack Lee ’15

Jack came to Bard from Atlanta, Georgia. As a Posse scholar, he is recognized as a young leader and receives a full-tuition scholarship to attend Bard. He’s a joint major in political studies and film, and plans to pursue a career in international broadcasting.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is TLS?
The Trustee Leader Scholar Program (TLS) is Bard College’s undergraduate leadership development initiative, which engages students in hands-on community service projects.

Who is in TLS?
TLS students come from every academic discipline on campus. There are about 50 TLS student leaders each year. Most of them remain active in the program throughout their college careers.

What do TLS students do?

TLS students design and implement service projects of their own choosing. For example: they build schools in Ghana, run GED programs in local prisons, lead environmental advocacy walks through Hudson River communities, and host innovative academic conferences. TLS students write extensive proposals, budgets, reports, and self-reflections. They meet one-on-one with TLS administrators, and attend workshops and retreats to explore issues in leadership.

What are the aspects of a TLS leader?
Leadership is never solely synonymous with power. While there are many ways to lead, all leadership styles are not equally worthwhile even if they appear effective. We ask students to experiment with leadership methods that work toward their goals. Effective leadership often requires paying close attention to particular circumstances, people, personalities, body language, and histories. In any given situation there are multiple options for action.

What is the ultimate goal of TLS?
TLS puts capable adults into the world with the ability to design, plan, fund, and implement large-scale projects.

How does TLS differ from similar programs?

Unlike many other colleges that offer academic credit for service learning, Bard has chosen to keep community service and academic life separate. This makes it possible for students to plan and carry out ambitious projects that span multiple years. For their participation in the program, students receive transcript recognition and stipends. Notably, many TLS students have said, “I’d have done it anyway.”

How do you apply to the TLS program?

Current Bard students are considered by application on a rolling basis. The best way to start the process is to talk with the TLS staff, who are always open to hearing the words, “I have a TLS project.”

How can you help?
Making contacts, building networks, and creating webs of action are crucial to project success. TLS projects flourish because of enthusiastic students, faculty, administrators, and community members who generously give their time, creative energy, and financial support. Contact us to see how you can get involved.