Student leadership program comes to campus

Students attend a Student Leadership Challenge Model workshop to obtain a certification. SLCM is based on a program used internationally that is adapted for students. Photo by Srikar Baskara | Mercury Staff.

Students now have the opportunity to easily obtain a leadership certification that is endorsed internationally through the Student Leadership Programs office.

The Student Leadership Challenge Model workshop series offers free certification, which individuals can complete by attending five sessions the model is centered around. The program is based on the Leadership Challenge model and is a student version of a corporate design used in companies across the world.

The workshops are directed and conducted by Beth Roller, assistant director of leadership programs and the certified facilitator for the SLCM program at UTD.

“One of the number one qualities that corporations or people that are hiring are looking for is leadership,” Roller said. “Our hope is that, through this workshop, that you really have thought more about leadership concepts and models in general, so it is something that you are able to use in your interview settings, in your corporate settings or to apply to graduate school or other opportunities.”

The five models follow a cyclical order and students are required to demonstrate understanding by submitting an online reflection after each session. The first is called Model the Way, where students learn that leaders exemplify the way for others. The others are Inspired a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act and Encourage the Heart.

“Their goal is to break down leadership into something that is simple and applicable into a lot of areas but also make it meaningful and help people to understand how their words are translating to the people that are following them,” Roller said.

The certification is one of few targeted to benefit all students across campus.

“It’s a great resume builder and we get to learn other people’s thought and experiences and it provides a nice bonding experience,” said Vishalini Kadirkama Sundaram, a health care studies senior and a workshop co-facilitator. “It also helps students get their feet wet in what leadership is that’s not based in a classroom setting. It’s not a cookie-cutter leadership program, it’s more of a specialized thing that you can apply to all areas of your life, not just professionally.”

The program went through a trial run in fall 2016. Students who have received their certification were given the opportunity to apply for a co-facilitator position for future workshops and have been working with Roller this semester. They’re able to directly apply this knowledge in practical field experience.

“As a co-facilitator, I dive into one main aspect of leadership and I get to teach other students about what leadership is and how they can apply it in their personal and professional lives,” Sundaram said.

The program is also unique in that it offers an interactive approach rather than a straightforward lecture type course, which makes the program more engaging for students.

“It’s not like taking a class, it’s about really getting to know the material and very practical methods of how to apply it,” Sundaram said. “It applies to everything, from being a student to being a friend.”

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