FEI Handbook and Leadership for a Democratic Society Information

LDS Program Information

Program Curriculum

Executives can expect an integrated mix of lecture and discussion; exercises and simulations; assessment instruments and self-discovery activities; individual presentations, reflection and introspection; readings, case studies, audio and video materials , guest speakers,  and field experiences.  In striving to complete the program and receive a certificate of mastery, executives will complete short written assignments and give at least two presentations.

The LDS program outcomes challenge executives to assess their own critical self-awareness, gain actionable knowledge and practice various concepts and models.   This knowledge and practice sets the participant on the path to implement their knowledge and insights and move toward skilled leader performance following the LDS program.  

The Leadership Develop Plan, created by each executive, includes a compilation of participant learning across the LDS program, next steps on their Leadership Challenge, and a long-term plan for their own professional and personal development.  The Leadership Challenge is the executive’s organizational change project that addresses how they will lead their organization into the future.  The Leadership Development Plan offers a way for each participant to synthesize their learning in a way that prepares for enhanced individual and organizational leadership after completing the LDS program.  

FEI Faculty

FEI faculty have experience and credentials in a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to leadership development, human capital management, education, political science, behavioral science, international affairs, public administration, and adult education.

Class Size

Most Leadership for a Democratic Society programs have between 40 and 80 executives.  Executives are grouped into small teams called Leadership Development Teams (LDTs).  Each LDT is comprised of six to ten executives that is guided by a faculty facilitator.

Pre-Arrival Information and Assignments

Approximately three weeks prior to the start of the program, you will receive an email with preliminary information and pre-arrival assignments, including a weekly schedule. (Sample weekly schedules for each program format are available upon request). 

The pre-arrival assignments include approximately two and a half hours of activity including updating your Center for Leadership Development Central (CLD Central - cldcentral.usalearning.govuser profile, reading an article, and several profile assessments (including one 360 assessment).  

Additional pre-arrival information will be accessible via our CLD Central online learning management system.

In addition to the pre-arrival assignments, your Leadership Development Team (LDT) facilitator will email you to schedule a 30-45 minute telephone call to receive additional information and to answer many of your questions.

Laptop or Tablet Required

All executives must bring a laptop, tablet, or other device. The device you bring should be one that you are comfortable using and can access a public wireless network. Each room has Ethernet and wireless internet access for your convenience. Note:  Federal employees with high security features on their government issued laptops may experience difficulties accessing a public (exclusive to the FEI campus) network.

Please refer to the Technology and Wifi section for more information.

FEI - Main Building LobbyArriving at FEI

You will need to pass through the FEI Welcome Center. See Security section for more information. 

Once through FEI Welcome Center, programs begins with registration, followed by optional campus tours, an opening session, and dinner. If your travel plans necessitate early or late arrival, please be sure to notify the Lead Faculty, Program Coordinator and/or small group facilitator so alternate registrations arrangements can be made for you.

Guest Rooms

All executives are required to stay on the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) campus for the duration of the program.  This approach is designed to foster out-of-class discussions and shared learning.  You will receive your room assignment during the registration on the first day of the program. 

Please refer to the Guest Rooms and Services section for more information.

Meals and Dining

All meals are provided.  Executives receive three meals a day with the exception of day one (Dinner only) and the final day (Breakfast and Lunch only).  During the program, meals are served in the Rotunda Dining Room in the lower level of the main building.  

There are times when participants may elect to eat off-campus per flexibilities in the schedule – these are at the option of the participant and are not funded through the program.  Please note that some agencies will not reimburse participants for meals that they elect to eat off-campus.  We encourage you to check with your agency regarding their reimbursement policy.

Please refer to the Dining section for more information.

Food Preferences and Accommodations

Please let us know of any special needs or accommodations when updating your CLD Central user profile.  Participants with special dietary requirements are also asked to contact us prior to their arrival.

Typical Daily Schedule

A typical day has classes from 8:15-12 noon, from 2:30-5:00 pm, and again from 7:00-8:45 pm. Walking classes are offered some afternoons between 12-2:30 pm. That time is also reserved for study, reading, and work on class projects. While the atmosphere is informal, the curriculum is rigorous.

Wellness Program

The Wellness Program is another special feature that helps executives balance career and health. Beginning with a Health Risk Appraisal, personal data, a physical screening, and presentations on health risks, nutrition, and stress management is provided to each participant. Optional daily fitness and walking sessions, as well as nutritional information on daily menus, support executives living a healthy life.


As a valuable benefit of the Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS) program, after completion participants can choose to continue their leadership learning with up to five hours of individual coaching with an executive coach.  Coaching reinforces and expands the learning from the LDS program by supporting and challenging the individual to further develop both their effectiveness as a leader and “coach” in their organization and their growth and development as an individual. 

Participants will work with their coach to identify their goals for the coaching sessions. These may include specific goals and challenges identified in their Leadership Development Plan (LDP) and/or other topics identified by the individual.  


The Leadership for a Democratic Society program adjourns after commencement (around noon) on the final day to allow executives sufficient time for travel. Transportation is not provided for participants - you are responsible for your own travel both to and from the FEI campus.

Updated April 2020