This August, more than 200 students will return to campus early to participate in the first-ever Leadership Institute at the Colleges. The Leadership Institute is an opportunity for students to build upon their existing knowledge about leadership and acquire skills that will help them work more effectively with students from across the campus, transforming the HWS community. The Leadership Institute will also give student-leaders the opportunity to better define for themselves what “excellence in leadership” means, while building inclusive, cross-cultural competencies.
“I am participating in the Leadership Institute to further my knowledge on what it is to be an effective leader,” explains Gabrielle Perez ’11, who has been active in the HWS community since her first year. “I am looking forward to gaining new and different perspectives on leadership and how to apply them to my daily routines at HWS.”
Along with a foundational understanding of leadership theory and practice, the program will connect leadership to civic engagement, diversity, ethics, inclusion, and collaboration.
During this institute, a number of Colleges faculty and staff members will coordinate leadership sessions focusing on topics such as conflict resolution, ethical decision-making, diversity, group dynamics and building effective teams, values and leadership, goal-setting and more. Having administrative leaders from across campus emphasizes the collaborative nature of leadership. Coordinators include: E. W. Quimbaya-Winship, director of Peer Education in Human Relations; Brandi Ferrara, interim director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services; Ruth Shields, assistant director of the Center for Teaching and Learning; Katie Flowers, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning; and Sophie Dennis, assistant field hockey coach.
Caitlin Caron ’08, MAT ’10, the coordinator of leadership programs, hopes that the students “find themselves as leaders and think in new ways about how to inspire those they are leading.” While at William Smith, Caron worked in the Center for Teaching and Learning as a Writing Colleague from her first-year throughout graduation. She notes this was the most crucial role in her developing interest in teaching and learning. As one of the organizers of the first Senior Symposium, she also developed a close working relationship with Susan Pliner, associate dean for teaching, learning, and assessment; director of the Center for Teaching and Learning; and interim director of the Centennial Center for Leadership.
Pliner hopes that the Leadership Institute “will provide student leaders with a solid foundation of leadership concepts, but also create an energetic and supportive community of leaders on campus.” She anticipates that the “common experience will lead to future collaborations among students in leadership roles and generate interest in the programs offered by the Centennial Center for Leadership.”
The Leadership Institute will take place Sunday, Aug. 22 through Tuesday, Aug. 24. On the first day, students will think about how to define leadership and what is ethical decision-making. Day two consists of diversity issues and how to navigate varying group dynamics. The last day will focus on conflict resolution, goal-setting, and reflections on the institute experience.
In the photo above, Caron poses for a photo outside of the Centennial Center for Leadership on South Main Street.