Blanchard accepts position as executive director for Leadership Development Institute

Portrait of Leslie Blanchard

Leslie Blanchard, assistant dean of the LSU College of Agriculture is joining the Leadership Development Institute in the LSU College of Human Sciences and Education as executive director on August 1.

“We are incredibly proud of her outstanding commitment to students,” said Phil Elzer, associate dean of the College of Agriculture. “Her energy and ability to connect with students is unparalleled and will be a vacuum to the College of Agriculture.”

Blanchard was assistant dean for five years, and although she was not actively seeking a new position, she said, “it’s too much of a perfect challenge to pass up.”

During her time as a doctoral student, Blanchard collaborated with former School of Leadership and Human Resource Development director Ed Holton and LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture Bill Richardson to create LDI.

The first of its kind in Louisiana, LDI fills a unique niche by focusing on leadership development rather than leadership studies. The institute serves local, regional and national professional organizations with developing and finding effective leaders in addition to giving SLHRD students unique hands-on experiences.

Blanchard’s major accomplishments at the college related to leadership development for students, a skill she says is her calling.

Blanchard spearheaded the creation of the Governor's School for Agricultural Sciences, a two-week residential educational program for Louisiana’s academically talented high school seniors interested in agricultural sciences.

She also wrote the Project EXPLORE grant that funded nearly $300,000 toward student internship experiences in research and extension through U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Blanchard will remain closely connected to the College of Agriculture as she serves as the project investigator of two USDA-funded leadership and workforce development grants. She will remain an active member of the college Dean’s Council and the Agriculture Alumni and Friends Association.

“I am so proud of all we have accomplished during my time at the College of Agriculture, and I’m overwhelmed with the amount of love and support that has been sent my way,” Blanchard said.

From teaching leadership courses to middle schoolers to doctoral students, Blanchard brings more than 22 years of academic and leadership experience to the institute.

She previously served as the operations manager of the Louisiana Math and Science Teachers Institute in the Cain Center for STEM Literacy, is one of two Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certified Master Practitioners in Louisiana and is the winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

LDI is not exclusively for the faculty, staff, and students at LSU. Outreach extends to all individuals and organizations with solutions for private agencies, schools, government offices, non-profit institutions, foundations, large scale associations and corporations. For more information or to schedule a consultation for LDI services, contact Leslie Blanchard at