SELDP Stories

SELDP Program Overview


The 2014 Systems Engineering Leadership Development Program (SELDP) graduating class. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The 2014 Systems Engineering Leadership Development Program (SELDP) graduating class.
Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

SELDP is a comprehensive program that provides leadership development, technical hands-on experience, leadership and technical training, benchmarking, mentoring, and coaching. The program’s basis for design is founded in The Art and Science of Systems Engineering [ Full | Short ], the NASA Systems Engineering Behavior Study, and Behavior Competency Model. The behaviors exhibited by NASA’s highly valued systems engineers fall into five broad themes with associated competencies and their observable behaviors: leadership, attitudes and attributes, communication, problem solving and systems thinking, and technical acumen. Strategic thinking and political savvy are two additional leadership skills identified by NASA’s follow-on study of technical executives and are also covered in SELDP.

SELDP provides systems engineers with an agency-wide perspective, hands-on systems engineering developmental assignments beyond what they can learn and experience at their home centers, advanced leadership skills development, and exposure to innovative government and industry-wide systems engineering concepts.

Since its inception, SELDP has achieved a consistent 90 percent success rate of individuals transitioning into more complex and difficult positions upon returning to their organizations after completion of the program.

Program Components

  • Hands-on Technical Assignments – Hands-on developmental assignments are a core requirement of SELDP. Assignments are 9 months in duration at an assigned Center.
  • Leadership Development Workshops – Workshops focus on leadership, attitudes and attributes, communication, political savvy, problem solving, and systems and strategic thinking
  • Assessments – Assessment instruments are used to help participants gain a greater understanding of their strengths and areas for development
  • Mentoring – All participants are assigned a mentor
  • Center and Industry Benchmarks – Benchmarking with other NASA Centers and outside organizations to expand participants understanding/awareness of effective systems engineering and leadership choices
Morpheus, an SELDP assignment project. Photo Credit: NASA

Juno, an SELDP assignment project.
Photo Credit: NASA

Key Dates and Programs

  • February 1, 2016 – Call for Nominations & Assignments
  • April 15, 2016 – Nominations & Assignments Due
  • June 21, 2016 – Candidate Interviews
  • August 1-5, 2016 – SELDP Orientation
  • See Core Programs for Leadership Workshop Dates


  • Technical assignments round out core SE competencies providing engineers with end-to-end lifecycle experience
  • Exposure to innovative SE Organizations (Government/Industry) drives innovative thinking
  • Advanced Leadership Skills Development builds NASA’s future leaders
  • Exposure to other NASA Centers breeds understanding, builds relationships, and offers new ways of doing business
  • SELDP Retention Rate is 98.4% since inception
  • SELDP develops SE Leaders faster than traditional training methods

Core Leadership and Engineering Programs*

* Dates subject to change


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