Each year, the first year cohort of Guarantee scholarship recipients complete the Bronze Leadership Challenge as part of their leadership and success training in the program. The scholarship puts significant emphasis on personal development, student success and personal and academic support through a student’s entire college career The Bronze Leadership Challenge is offered through the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, more commonly known as OLCE, and allows students to complete a series of requirements- workshops, community service hours, and reflections- eventually leading up to a medallion ceremony at the end of the semester to celebrate student accomplishments and leadership milestones.
In the process of completing the challenge, students go through several modules that teach them to dive deeper into different aspects of leadership. These modules encourage students to actively listen, to lead from the strengths within their values and personality types, and to navigate diversity and increase their cultural knowledge to be an adequately informed leader.
Upon completion of all leadership challenge requirements, students answer a final reflection that allows them to synthesize everything that they have learned through the modules and to develop a personally tailored leadership philosophy to put into practice. The Guarantee scholarship believes so strongly in the importance of promoting these personalized leadership skills that they take the process one step further.
Once Guarantee scholars complete all modules, they create an artistic charter to represent the leadership philosophy that they developed for themselves. These charters can have any theme that the student chooses, but it must be an artistic presentation of their MBTI type, their five values, their leadership goals and their “why.”
The “why” is one of the most personal aspects of the student’s leadership philosophy and informs every decision that the student will ever make. To come to this, students are asked repeatedly why they want to go into the career field that they have chosen. Eventually, an emotional response is evoked by the student’s answer and they come to a realization of just why they are working so fervently towards their goals.
The associate director of the program, Tyshea Lewis, sees the value of supplementing artistic aspects into this valued program and is a passionate advocate for the conclusion of the leadership challenge with an artistic charter. She notes that Guarantee’s take on the leadership modules focus so heavily on the importance of learning other perspectives to expand your own, and that the artistic charter, “allows them to reflect on their own perspectives and translate it from words and worksheets to an artistic expression that speaks alongside them. It requires vulnerability, confidence, and encourages them to be congruent with their goals and aspirations.”
The charter also encourages students to, “share their story.” The posters that students create connect their passions, interests and familiarities with the things that they have learned about themselves as a leader through the course of the challenge. When they share their charter, they are sharing a piece of themselves.
Once the charters are completed, they are displayed at a final “gallery walk” event in the EUC. The event is open to other Guarantee scholars, mentors, friends and family and serves as an opportunity for students to share their creation along with what they have learned during the year about leadership.
“[Students] have their charter on display and they show up ready to engage with others as an additional layer of reflection that creates connections for them across campus,” Lewis notes. Not only do students get the opportunity to creatively apply what they have learned, they are also allowed the chance to share their leadership philosophy in an environment that celebrates their artistic contributions to the process.
This creative addition to such a distinctly future-driven program at the university gives students permission to lead with simultaneous strength and artistry, which is sending a new generation of leaders into the global community that are a cut above the rest. Leaders that value inventiveness and imagination as strongly as they value academic and technological diligence allows for a new era of achievement and accomplishment.
The Guarantee program is opening doors and expanding the traditional depiction of a powerful leader. Because of the vision and forethought of Lewis and numerous other supporters, Guarantee scholars are challenging the makeup of the “strong leader” checklist by adding characteristics like “expressive” and “innovative” to the list. Students who are inspired can inspire others, and inspiration is the most prominent change agent in this rising generation of visionaries.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment