SLP received central funding in 1999, and the first full workshops started in 2000. The goals of the original program included providing equal access to training, improving the quality of work life, and reducing University liabilities. The program received broad support from groups that included the Board of Deans, labor unions, the Professional Staff Organization, the Civil Rights Investigation Office, and the University Human Resources Committee (UHRC).
POD developed all aspects of SLP, from budget to curriculum, with input from focus groups, surveys of UW supervisors, consultations with key departments, and analyses of best practices at peer institutions and in the public sector. POD continues to revise and update the program in response to emerging management trends, the changing University environment, and other factors.
More than 4,000 UW supervisors have completed SLP Level 1 since its inception. SLP Level 2, which does not receive central funding, launched in 2010. This fee-based program grew out of the desire to provide support to leaders who have mastered leadership fundamentals and seek to further advance their development.