Preparing Responsible Leaders Goal of New Center
Equipping each and every student with the knowledge, skills and commitment to be responsible leaders in their communities and workplaces is the goal of a new Alma College initiative that assumes every Alma student has the potential to be a leader.
The Center for Responsible Leadership, funded in part by initial gifts and grants totaling more than $1 million, will provide opportunities for all students "regardless of academic major or degree" to improve their leadership abilities, said Alma College President Saundra Tracy.
"We know that our graduates face a world of increasingly difficult choices, complex relationships and rapidly changing issues," said Tracy. "The Center for Responsible Leadership will ensure that we instill in our students the skills, values, knowledge and personal discipline necessary to be responsible leaders in whatever role they assume after graduation."
The Center builds on Alma's existing emphasis on public service and civic engagement while also addressing the needs of today's workplace, said Tracy.
"We are committed to preparing graduates who can lead change, have a sense of ethical purpose and commitment, and understand the long-term impact of decisions on the health and well being of organizations and communities," she said. "The goals of the Center perfectly mirror our mission of preparing graduates to serve, lead and be responsible stewards."
The Center will encompass a large network of core leadership-development opportunities for Alma students, including guest speakers, book discussions, leaders-in-residence, academic courses with a leadership emphasis, student-led seminars, off-campus service trips, and faith-based experiences.
Upon graduation, students may apply for leadership certification based on a four-year record of participation in leadership events, community service and campus organizations.
"We're not just teaching students how to be 'in charge,' but how to bring about positive change regardless of one's position or title," said Ed Lorenz, Reid-Knox Professor of History, professor of political science and an interim co-director of the Center. "More than making people smart, we want to focus on making future leaders wise — not merely doing what is necessary to succeed but what is necessary to do good, to be stewards of their inherited resources," said Lorenz.
In addition to the core programs available to all students, the Center will launch two additional programs that will focus on advanced leadership training:
- Up to 50 Alma students will be accepted annually in a three-year Leadership Fellows Program through a competitive application process. Participants will attend annual summer institutes, including an international experience, that will focus on global leadership theories, personal skill development and confidence building. Participants, who can opt for a for-profit or non-profit emphasis, also will participate in monthly workshops on contemporary leadership issues and complete an internship with a mentoring experience.
- A five-day summer institute for high school students will provide leadership development activities for up to 30 high school juniors. Participants will develop leadership capabilities through seminars, case studies and recreation. The institute will take place on the Alma campus.
"Our expectation is that students who participate in these programs will develop an advanced understanding of responsible leadership in its many forms," said Ron Lemmon, interim co-director and assistant professor of business administration.
Initial grants and funding for the Center include a $500,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., and generous gifts from the Hayden Foundation and Antje and Paul Newhagen.
The Lilly Endowment grant will be used to support many of the Center's core programs, including off-campus service trips, speakers, course development and faith-based experiences.
"Responsible leaders must have strong core ethical values and must choose to commit themselves and their organization to serving the common good," said Carol Gregg, interim co-director. The Lilly Endowment's Theological Exploration of Vocation initiative supports programs that encourage students, faculty and staff "to engage in theological reflection on the purposes and character of their lives and work."
CONTACT:, (989) 463-7327.
Posted: Tue, December 6th, 2005 at 12:59AM