University offering new leadership minor for spring 2019

The+Center+for+Community+and+Civic+Engagement+will+assist+in+the+planning+process+by+creating+the+curriculum+for+a+minor-specific+course.

The Center for Community and Civic Engagement will assist in the planning process by creating the curriculum for a minor-specific course.

Student leaders at the University will soon have an opportunity outside of group positions to qualify their leadership skills.

The College of Education and Human Development, in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs and the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy, is planning a minor in leadership for the Spring 2019 semester, according to Jacob Clemens, the University’s associate dean of students, in an email.

Maureen Wilson, a chairperson on HESA, proposed the minor, according to Sarah Meussling, senior administrative assistant for Academic Affairs, in an email.

The school’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement will assist in the planning process by creating the curriculum for a minor-specific course. Director of the CCCE, Jane Rosser, said she is excited about the prospective program.

“It will address a need for many students on campus,” Rosser said.

She said the higher education department had approached her center for assistance in creating courses for the proposed minor because of its work in supporting student community leaders. The center currently offers non-credit certificates for service leadership and helps students run alternative spring break projects.

Rosser said the value of a leadership degree is that it offers a quantified evaluation of a student’s leadership skills, unlike the informal certificates and break projects they currently give. Having leadership as a minor is “good for career choices, good for (graduate) school applications,” she said.

The CCCE-planned course is currently called “Leadership and Social Change” and will focus on affecting community change based on social issues. Inspired partially on the center’s work regarding its existing service leadership programs, the course will ask students to design their own service projects or programs to help citizens.

Rosser said the class will be taught according to a specific curriculum, but that professors assigned to it will have opportunities to innovate their teaching.

She said that though this course will be the only one the CCCE will have a part in planning, it will be a “great opportunity for students” outside of majors with integrated leadership training as part of their education. She used the example of a creative writing major who wants to lead or start a literary journal to illustrate her idea; those looking to lead in their fields of study could use the minor to help develop their professional skills and “best practice” knowledge not otherwise taught in major courses.

She also said those with majors that integrate leadership education could benefit from the minor. Students majoring in administration or management could “strengthen a particular focus” in leading peers otherwise not covered in their courses, she said.

Though the college currently hosts a graduate program in leadership studies, the University decided to introduce a similar minor to give undergraduate students an opportunity to experience a similar type of learning.

The leadership studies doctorate focuses primarily on educating students who have already earned master’s-level degrees in academics and who may be looking to attain leadership positions in education institutions. The program is not just for those on the academics track, though, as it also looks for students who have years of experience in any type of professional or leadership position and aims to help students reach for faculty positions in private businesses, public institutions, human resource groups and other organizations.

Rosser said the undergraduate adaptation of the leadership doctorate has been in the works for years, but that approval for the minor is still not there. She said the process will involve peer evaluations, course approvals, committee reviews and state education validations.

Wilson said in an email approval for the minors’ courses is complete, but that the Records and Registration office has yet to notify her the courses are in the system. She also said the minor itself only needs to be seen by one more council, but that review will not happen in time for this fall semester.

Though the final look of the minor is uncertain, contributors are looking forward to its approval.

“We’re ready to teach courses in the next academic year” despite the wait for Spring 2019 semester, Rosser said.