Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Theory based classes are the foundation that future leadership is built upon. These classes provide a useful framework that leadership majors can draw from for the rest of their lives, but this ignores where they are now. The leadership school focuses too much on leadership beyond graduation and not enough on the limitless opportunities for leadership that are available to students today. The leadership school has no interaction with the vast number of leadership training courses that are taught to every group from Resident Assistants to Orientation Counselors to the various honor councils and governmental bodies that flourish on campus. Therefore the leadership school sits on a hill postulating about leadership, but not really engaging in training undergraduate leaders.
A skills course needs to be made available for two different communities, those students who are interested in pursuing a leadership degree and then to the larger campus community that is interested in leadership training. This class would be a compliment to the existing 'Foundations of Leadership" course that concentrates on leadership theory. Some students see the absence of skills instruction in this course as a great disappointment. The skills class would provide a basic framework of important leadership skills that undergraduate leaders would use daily. This course would have more of an immediate impact on students' lives than the conceptual courses and would address the current needs of Jepson majors. When considering that the last four presidents of the Westhampton College Government Association have all been leadership majors these skills are being learned it becomes apparent that somewhere, but not in leadership school. The Jepson School needs to take a more active role in the training of campus leaders or it is neglecting its obligation to its students and their immediate theory. needs rather than their longterm retention of
In considering all of these "Leadership Skills" became more important points the course focused. This class is developed to be a Tuesday and Thursday taught class. This is because many of the skills will require a significant portion of time that is not available in the shorter Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes. The idea of a once a week lab leadership for both the individual and campus communities. Murray cites several studies that point to a direct correlation to involvement in campus activities whether they are Greek fraternities, athletic teams, part-time jobs or even aiding in faculty research and continued enrollment. Students who are involved, who 'invest energy in a particular experience' are more likely to continue their education than students who are uninvolved. Murray further holds that by, 'becoming more involved in the life of your campus, you would be likely to increase your satisfaction with the overall undergraduate experience" and, "assuming a more active leadership role in your specific activities you would be likely to benefit more fully from the activities themselves." He also states that, "relationships established through student leadership activities often last well beyond the undergraduate experience."
Rinaldi, Joe, "Leadership skills : a course proposal" (1997). Honors Theses. 1183.