HWS Leads — the certificate program that began with the Centennial Center’s founding in 2008 — will launch its fall 2019 session with a new cohort of candidates and a new framework for those students to explore their leadership potential.
“The HWS Leads certificate program is our largest and longest running program. It has shifted to new iterations every few years but what remains constant is that it is a place for students to study leadership while they grow as leaders,” says Centennial Center Director Amy Forbes. “This latest form offers a variety of applied experiences to reduce the barriers students face to complete the certificate program. Our goal is to provide high caliber content that meets students’ interests and to really show them how to leverage their time in the certificate toward their professional futures.”
While the core model of HWS Leads remains focused on “leading self, leading others and leading in action,” the program will play out along three parallel tracks, which this spring’s cohort will be the first to undertake.
In its newest iteration, guided by an “educate, train and develop” framework, HWS Leads encompasses five requirements, spanning course work, experiential learning and a reflective portfolio. Assistant Director of Leadership Programs Cait Finn, who coordinates HWS Leads, says that the updates to HWS Leads not only offer students more flexibility “but also challenges them to think and plan ahead and look at the big picture,” encouraging increasingly diverse cohorts of candidates to connect their leadership goals to other aspects of their experience at HWS.
In the past, the HWS Leads curriculum has consisted of three Reader’s College courses and an internship component. Going forward, the curriculum encompasses two Reader’s College courses (“Leadership Theory I” and “Public Speaking”); Leadership Applied Training; a leadership fieldwork experience or research; and a culminating e-portfolio.
Once students complete the Leadership Theory I Reader’s College they are able to complete the rest of the requirements in whatever order they choose, to balance study abroad, athletics and other co-curricular and extracurricular commitments. Students can also complete the Leadership Applied Training component of HWS Leads over one academic year, by accumulating points by attending a variety of workshops, trainings, speakers and programs that the Centennial Center offers.
Having explored the connections between the ideas from Reader’s College courses and leadership experiences, students then put those connections into practice through capstone fieldwork projects focused in areas that meet their interests and professional development goals. The fieldwork component, Finn explains, is designed “to link education and training with a practicum to give students a space to develop leadership skills,” which she notes, “is a lifelong process.”
To earn their HWS Leads certificate, students must submit a completed Leadership ePortfolio, which spans their entire experience in the program. Students document their growth and experience as well as complete assignments designed to assess learning outcomes.
Of the 31 students accepted to HWS Leads this spring, 20 will begin the program in the fall; 11 will begin in the spring of 2020.
All HWS students are eligible to apply to HWS Leads. The Centennial Center recruits a new cohort each semester. Applications are typically made available in the second month of the semester. E-mail email@example.com for more information.