First Cohort of Leadership Fellows Heading to Ghost Ranch
An intense week-long immersion in leadership development awaits a
group of Alma College students who will be traveling to the desert of
New Mexico Aug. 7-13.
The inaugural class of 48 Alma College leadership fellows will attend the first Leadership Development Institute at Ghost Ranch, a Presbyterian-affiliated conference center in Abiquiu, N.M.
The students will engage in programming designed by Alma College faculty and staff through the Center for Responsible Leadership in partnership with LeaderShape, a professional organization with a mission of developing young adults to “lead with integrity.”
“Our goal is to profoundly influence our students as they develop the skills and abilities to lead with conviction and enthusiasm,” said Dr. John Leipzig, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation Leadership Chair and director of Alma College’s Center for Responsible Leadership.
“All students at Alma College will be leaders at a particular time in select aspects of their lives, and the Center for Responsible Leadership provides opportunities for students to broaden their leadership experiences while at Alma College. The Fellows Program, a cornerstone of the Center, is a co-curricular initiative that is not for credit but enhances and makes meaning of the academic experience, mentors students how to lead change, strengthens their developing sense of ethical purpose and commitment, and increases their understanding of the long-term impact of their decisions on the health and well-being of organizations and communities,” he said.
The selection of Ghost Ranch as the site of Alma’s first Leadership Development Institute was intentional because it “severs links to the conventional,” said Ed Lorenz, Reid-Knox Professor of History, professor of political science and one of the facilitators accompanying the Alma College students to New Mexico.
“We want to make students think about life — and the high desert in a multicultural world near both 1,000-year-old pueblos and the center for atomic bomb making has to make any observer think,” said Lorenz. “What is wise use of resources? What is permanent? What needs preservation? What needs to change?”
The institute at Ghost Ranch will further embed in the thinking the fellows, mostly College sophomores, the core principles of effective and ethical leadership.
Activities will include both small and large group activities and exercises along with the involvement of guest leaders and facilitators. Daily topics include “Building Community,” “The Value of One, the Power of All,” “Challenge What Is, Look At What Could Be,” “Bringing Vision to Reality,” “Living as Leaders With Integrity,” and “Staying in Action.”
The fellows were selected through a competitive application process.
“The students were asked to define what leadership means to them and why they wanted to be a part of the fellows program,” said Leipzig. “These students are committed to not only developing the skills and abilities to be responsible leaders but to have an obligation to give back to society through service and socially responsible decisions.”
The summer institute will launch the fellows into a three-year program of experiences and opportunities:
• In their junior year, the fellows will participate in a Global Leadership Institute through an experience outside the United States. “This will not be just a trip to experience a different culture, but it will include a service component that directly engages the students with the local culture, economy, geography and challenges,” said Leipzig.
• In their senior year, the fellows will apply their skills to an issue important to the state of Michigan. “Students, for example, could be involved in a summit on the environment, or employment, or education — an issue to yet be determined in which the students apply their leadership skills in a demonstrable way in a Michigan context,” said Leipzig.
• In addition, the fellows will participate in monthly seminars on contemporary leadership issues, complete an internship with a mentoring experience, and help organize and deliver a five-day High School Leadership Institute scheduled for the summer of 2007.
The Leadership Fellows Program is the signature component of Alma’s new Center for Responsible Leadership, which builds on the College’s existing emphasis on public service and civic engagement while also addressing the needs of the workplace. In addition to the fellows program, the Center encompasses a large network of leadership-development opportunities for all Alma students, including book discussions, leaders-in-residence, academic courses with a leadership emphasis, off-campus service trips, and faith-based experiences.
“We’re not just teaching students how to be ‘in charge,’ but how to bring about positive change regardless of one’s position, title or academic background,” said Lorenz. “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.”
This fall, the Center will host senior statesmen and former presidential candidates Robert Dole and George McGovern for a discussion on leadership and civility. The inaugural Center for Responsible Leadership Speaker Series forum will take place Sept. 27 in Cappaert Gymnasium in the Hogan Physical Education Center on the Alma campus. Admission is free and open to the public.
Posted: Thu, July 13th, 2006 at 9:11AM