Leadership paths are one of the most common types of paths in Engage. Leadership certificate programs lend themselves very well to the Paths structure, typically featuring a range of mandatory and elective events or activities. Some campuses have also expanded on the basic concept of this path to take advantage of the tool’s cross-departmental collaborative potential. Campuses may also enhance the basic concept of these paths with major rewards or incentives. This article highlights three campuses' strong leadership programs utilizing the Co-Curricular Paths tool.
Emerging Leaders Program at Indian River State College
This certificate program is award-recognized as the winner of the 2017 Florida Campus Compact and the 2017 Association of Florida Colleges Student Development Commission Conference. The Emerging Leaders Program at Indian River State College is designed to help students connect, lead, and get involved across campus, helping them go beyond the ordinary college experience to step out of the comfort zones and connect to new opportunities. This Path has a specific curriculum laid out for students, and students who complete the program earn a special leadership pin and medallion to wear at graduation.
This path begins with a pre-leadership assessment and ends with a post-leadership assessment to collect qualitative data about how the program has had an impact on the students' experience and leadership capacity. In between the assessments, the curriculum is divided between four domains: Leadership Development, Education, Civic Engagement, and Leadership Perspective.
Specifically, in the Leadership Perspective domain, one of the required items is for students to complete a reflective essay. These essays provide administrators with incredibly rich data through the voices of students themselves, articulating how and why they have been transformed throughout the duration of the program.
Certified Leader Program (CLP) at University of New Haven
One of the University of New Haven's many leadership development opportunities is the Certified Leader Program. Administrators launched this path over the course of a summer alongside their launch of the Event Check-in App for attendance tracking. The path guides students through a variety of experiences on and off campus through the framework of their six defined leadership competencies. Students can earn a certificate for individual competency completion, but can also earn rewards for completing the entire program. The full path is designed to take multiple years to complete and was carefully designed for easy administrative transition from year to year, primarily using event categories to tag path items.
The Six competencies were identified as essential skills for prospective job seekers: Leadership, Teamwork, Critical Thinking, Global & Cultural Awareness, Resilience, and Communication. Using a combination of all different item types, students are required to complete anywhere from 5-7 items per domain.
University of New Haven crafted this path specifically with assessment in mind, ensuring they could integrate data from many departments and prioritize reflections throughout the Path experience. Each year, New Haven tweaks the path’s content to reflect their assessment findings from previous years of the program. At the end of each domain, students are required to submit a Competency Learning Reflection based specifically on the competency area. Using the customized reflection tool within Self-Reported Experiences, administrators ask for information about what students learned from specific items. We especially love New Haven's practice of asking the question, "What was the most impactful activity in this certificate?" Receiving this information from students helps inform how they structure the path, and which items to attempt to replicate or remove going forward.