Leadership Studies

Melissa Rocco

Part-time Faculty
Melissa Rocco photo

Office Location

Remote from Washington, DC



Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. Candidate in Student Affairs, University of Maryland
  • M.A. in Higher Education & Student Affairs, The Ohio State University
  • B.S. in Business Administration; Human Resources, The Ohio State University


In addition to her role as a Lecturer in the Leadership Studies Program at USM, Melissa is an instructor and doctoral coordinator for the Leadership Studies Program at the University of Maryland. She designs and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on topics including leadership theory, leadership in groups and teams, social action and social change, college student development, strengths-based leadership, and leadership identity development.

Melissa has worked in a variety of higher education, non-profit, and business settings. Previously, Melissa was an instructor for the interdisciplinary Leadership Studies Minor and Coordinator for Student Leadership Development at The Ohio State University. She has traveled all over the United States with Deloitte Consulting, LLC working on organizational change, talent development, and learning and training initiatives for Fortune 100 clients. She also traveled to over 30 college campuses as an Educational Leadership Consultant and worked in development and communications for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and Foundation.

In addition to her full-time roles, Melissa serves as a Co-Lead Facilitator and Quality Team member for LeaderShape, Inc. and volunteers as an executive board member and leadership program Co-Director for the Ohio Association of Student Councils. Melissa has also been designing and facilitating leadership programs for a variety of higher education institutions and non-profit organizations across the country for over ten years.

Originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area, Melissa currently resides in Washington, DC.

Areas of Expertise

Leadership identity development, leadership theory, critical perspectives in leadership, social change leadership, human/student development theory, organizational culture and change, curriculum design and facilitation

Research Interests

Leadership identity development of college students, developmental sequencing and scaffolding in leadership curriculum development, high impact practices for student learning

Professional Activity

International Leadership Association (ILA), ACPA: College Student Educators International (ACPA), Inter-Association Leadership Education Collaborative (ILEC)