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Leaders of tomorrow

By Mandy Cook | April 4, 2013

After a year-long intensive development period, three new concentrated student leadership pilot programs have emerged from Memorial’s Department of Student Success Programs.

While student leadership programming at Memorial has, for the most part, been generalized and focused on attracting students interested in learning about the common and universal aspects of leadership, the three new programs offer an extra level of specialization.

The programs are titled HIRE!, IMPACT and BUILDING LEADERS respectively. Students who are passionate not just about leadership, but leadership in the areas of supervisory skill development, global issues and competitive sport, now have an opportunity to expand their skill sets in these specific areas and to build their resumés and co-curricular records.

“At Memorial University, we are committed to student learning and development, both within and outside of the classroom,” said Tom Brophy, director, Student Success Programs, a department within Student Affairs and Services. “The development and creation of extra-curricular student leadership workshops, curriculum and certificate programs is a growing trend among post-secondary institutions in North America. I am pleased to say that Memorial is a trailblazer in this movement within Canada.”

Tessa Whelan has been taking part in HIRE!, the certificate program that hones participating students’ supervisory skills. HIRE! offers a series of educational workshops which provide students like Ms. Whelan with useful skills and tools to be an efficient and productive peer supervisor in a professional setting. The certificate program is offered in partnership with Career Development and Experiential Learning, Memorial University’s student union (MUNSU) and the Department of Student Success Programs.

“I would like to go into management one day, so this program is a definite asset to my resumé,” said the second-year double major in business and psychology. “You need something that will set you apart. I believe HIRE! gives you the confidence and skill set you need to manage peers, and be placed ahead of the competition.”

For students who are interested in learning how to encourage positive social change in the world, the IMPACT program is a natural fit. By participating in various workshops and engaging activities throughout the program, students enhance their leadership competencies and have a more holistic understanding of leadership, global issues and social responsibility. The program aims to provide students with an increased self and intercultural awareness, self-efficacy for leadership, knowledge of current and future global issues and commitment to global social responsibility. Impact is offered through the Department of Student Success Programs.

Andrew Hogan, a first-year general science student, says the IMPACT program has taught him to be “internationally minded,” and to remain open to different possibilities and interpretations.

“Being open-minded and being a part of a multinational setting go hand in hand and it spells disaster if something happens otherwise,” Mr. Hogan said. “We are in a global community where it is very unlikely that we will not meet anyone from a different culture, or travel to unknown places, so being able to understand them and their motivations will make future endeavours more pleasant and productive for all concerned.”

For student-athletes who show potential for leading their teammates to sporting success, BUILDING LEADERS is designed for them. Participating varsity athletes enhance their leadership competencies in a series of workshops focused on teambuilding, self-awareness, communication skills, problem-solving and conflict resolution. The program is offered in partnership with Memorial’s Varsity Athletics and the Department of Student Success Programs.

Carla Chaytor, a member of the Sea-Hawks wrestling team, says no matter where her life takes her, BUILDING LEADERS has taught her much about what it takes to become a problem-solver – and to teach others to do the same.

“I thought I already knew what it meant to be a successful leader, but after just a few sessions I realized there is a lot more to it,” said the third-year kinesiology student. “It takes someone who is not afraid to speak up, who is empathetic, caring, approachable and so many more things. I enjoy helping others, and helping others be confident in themselves, too.”

All three certificate programs are being delivered by a combination of staff and faculty, as well as outside speakers and even a student – Ryan Murphy, a student assistant who is employed part-time with the Department of Student Success Programs and is an IMPACT program participant, has been instrumental in the execution of that particular program, says Mr. Brophy.

“We’ve had fantastic pan-university collaboration with our own experts here at Memorial as well as with our community partners,” said Amy Butt, manager, Answers, Department of Student Success Programs, and who was involved in the development of all three programs. “Workshops have been facilitated by faculty members such as Dr. Bas Kavanagh from the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation and Dr. Janna Rosales from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Remzi Cej, the chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission and a Memorial alumnus has led sessions, and many Memorial staff members, such as Greg French from the Office of the General Counsel and right here with student services have all invested their energy and expertise in building the leaders of the next generation.”