Our Approach

After a two-year partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership, the Hart Center adopted a Leadership and Professional Development Model that is interconnected and is a continuous cycle for improvement. It is process and outcome oriented, focuses on the environment, and applies to individuals and teams. It includes three key elements: Assessment, Challenge, and Support.

Leadership & Professional Development Model

Leadership & Professional Development Model


The Hart Center Assessment Portfolio is a set of three assessments that can be taken at strategic points in a student’s academic tenure. The assessment, advising, and practicing process can be repeated before, during, and at the end of a student’s academic experience, to make sure they are consistently making and reaching their leadership and professional development goals.

The Hart Leadership Assessment is a self-assessment that can be taken at the beginning of a student’s first year and reveals a student’s baseline leadership strengths and areas for growth. We help students review and analyze results, then customize a Personal Development Plan.

The Hart Leadership Follow-Up Assessment is a self-assessment that can be taken at the end of the first year to help measure improvement, refine a student’s Personal Development Plan, and customize activities for the student to further practice leadership and professional development skills.

The Hart Leadership Team/Peer Review Assessment can be taken by teams or groups of students to give feedback, measure a member’s perceived leadership skills, further areas for growth, and encourage lifelong improvement.


The Hart Center believes the only way to grow is to challenge oneself. We encourage students to take the insight learned from the Hart Leadership Assessment, create a Personal Development Plan, and engage in activities that will build on a student’s strengths and fortify areas needing improvement. We expose students to the many opportunities available within the Lyle School, in the SMU community, and in the thriving Dallas-Fort Worth business climate, where students can practice leadership and grow as a leader.

Class Enrichment

Community Engagement Projects

Student Clubs/Organizations

Hart Center Workshops and Events

Co-ops & Internships


The Hart Center provides various levels of student support as needed―from individual to group and team coaching―to help students strengthen their leadership style, reach personal development goals, and be a more productive team member.

Individual Coaching
Hart Center advisers are available to help students create, modify, and refine their Personal Development Plan throughout their academic experience. Along the way, students can receive direct feedback and guidance from additional leadership development tools and opportunities. As graduation nears, students can receive final coaching on areas for them to be sensitive to, areas to develop, and areas to continue building on as a leader throughout their career.

Group Coaching
Student groups and teams can receive coaching throughout team projects for individual team members and teams as a whole. Hart Center Advisors can diagnose team functioning, give feedback, advise on project management, help resolve conflict, leverage team strengths, and evaluate and coach other members of the team.

The Mentor Program connects students to a working professional in their career interest area, who can serve as a resource for a student’s personal and professional development. Mentors share their industry and civic experience, as well as personal and professional insights, to help students create a roadmap to success.

“After working at the Hart Center as a student worker for two years, I left with an understanding that the people working there, both students and faculty, are extremely passionate and have a genuine interest in helping every student in the Lyle School. The Hart Center offers incredible resources beyond just the career fair, which everyone should at the least look into. I was able to meet many students and business professionals through the leadership programs, which ultimately lead to several internships and a job. The Hart Center is an amazing place with amazing people waiting to help YOU. Stop by, say hi, and take advantage of it.”

~SMU-Lyle Graduate Student