University of Tennessee Martin Comes Together in Celebration to Join the Worldwide Fight Against Cancer

3/18/2013 12:00 AM ,

At the University of Tennessee at Martin, we are on a quest to create a “language of leadership,” and The Student Leadership Challenge plays a crucial role in helping us achieve that goal. Across campus, in a variety of classrooms and programs, approximately 350 students every year engage in learning about, understanding, internalizing, and applying The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® to campus life and beyond. And among those hundreds of students are participants in our Leaders in Residence program.

Each year, promising first term, first-year students who have been awarded the Leaders in Residence Scholarship come together in the Leaders in Residence program for a highly interactive leadership experience. This includes service initiatives, field trips, campus involvement opportunities, and the creative delivery of The Five Practices. Led by a team of Student Affairs professionals who teach and facilitate all components of the program, participating students learn and internalize the principles and practices of The Student Leadership Challenge, apply what they have learned through a series of service initiatives, and enhance their leadership skills by seeking out innovative ways to improve. All students are encouraged to participate in various campus and community service initiatives, giving them the opportunity to experience first-hand the significance of Modeling the Way, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Challenging the Process, Enabling Others to Act, and Encouraging the Heart.

For the 35 students who were part of our program during the Spring Semester of 2012 The Five Practices were brought to life in a truly unique way as we participated in the 2nd Annual UT Martin Collegiate Relay for Life. When our program’s facilitation team was offered the chance to involve the Leaders in Residence group in the upcoming Relay for Life event we jumped at the chance. We immediately saw this as the perfect opportunity for students to become engaged in something that would take their leadership experience to a new level. But to make this event a success, it would take more than just one or two people; it would take the whole campus working together toward a common goal. And to achieve that, we were reminded of the words of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book, The Student Leadership Challenge: “Leaders know that in order to get extraordinary things done everyone has to fervently believe in and commit to a common purpose.” As a leadership team, we knew we had to find a way to make our students passionate about the cause and motivate them to want to make this event better.

First, we had to get the students’ buy-in, which is what Inspire a Shared Vision is all about. We had to bring this idea to life and get every student as excited about it as we were. We began by sharing our own personal stories of how cancer has affected our families and friends, and what a difference our participation in this Relay for Life event could make. Our message was that cancer has a face, and it touches all of us, and the challenge was to make others realize that we all can be a part of the fight! We can help defeat cancer and save lives by raising money and hosting this event. Not long after our initial conversation, the Leaders in Residence students took the bull by the horns and ran with it! They were just as inspired as we were. They used their involvement in various groups and organizations to make connections across campus, encouraging others to participate in the event, donate money, and make a difference in the fight against cancer. What began as one person’s proposal to involve our Leaders in Residence class ultimately became an entire university’s triumph!

The group divided into five committees—each responsible for a different aspect of the event: team development, logistics and set-up, activities and entertainment, fundraising, and event management. Each committee of about six students was challenged to work as a team toward a common goal—something that can be especially difficult for individuals who like to be in control. Our students, however, worked seamlessly together and were able to develop innovative ideas that definitely contributed to our overall success.

For example, the Activities Committee collaborated on several creative activities and with leadership provided by Gina McClure, Director of Campus Recreation at UT Martin and Certified Facilitator of The Student Leadership Challenge, clearly set an example of how to Enable Others to Act. This group was solely responsible for activities and entertainment throughout the night—a big job since their primary responsibility was to keep people motivated, entertained, and engaged. They began by developing a series of “minute to win it” games: potato sack races, the cup stack, balancing dice, and more. Most students were unfamiliar with some of the games that were going to be played. And since Gina was not going to be able to attend the Relay event herself, she had to teach the students how to play each of the games and how to manage all of the activities throughout the night. As she provided them with the proper tools and information they would need to be fully prepared to take on the role of leading others in the scheduled activities, she was enabling others to act. Prior to the event, Gina worked with the group for an entire class period playing the games, making sure everyone understood the rules, and that everyone felt comfortable knowing how things were supposed to be done. She gave her students an opportunity to shine and to be in control. She put her trust in them, knowing that they would do a wonderful job. Gina enabled this group of aspiring young leaders by giving them the tools, the knowledge, and the opportunity to be individual leaders who could have a sense of ownership and contribute to the overall success of the event.

For all of our students who participated in the UT Martin Collegiate Relay for Life, this was truly a unique opportunity to lead in a way they never had before. As we debriefed the experience, many students shared their initial feelings of being overwhelmed by all of the details and long lists of things to do. Once they were at the event and everything was over, however, they felt empowered and strengthened. They were challenged to embark on a project that at first glance seemed overwhelming, but in the end became a celebration toward the worldwide fight against cancer!

Watch our video to view more of the fun at UT Martin’s Collegiate Relay for Life event.

For our Student Affairs team, this event represented a powerful leadership experience for students. Planning and preparation was immense. It challenged students in everything from teamwork to innovation. And throughout the process, The Five Practices were fully integrated into the learning experience as students put the Practices into action at every turn. They mobilized, they struggled, and their shared aspirations became a reality.

The Student Affairs Team at University of Tennessee at Martin include:

David Belote, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, directs The Student Leadership Challenge and Leaders in Residence programs; Marty Conley, Program Assistant for the Division of Student Affairs and co-facilitator for the Leaders in Residence program; Gina McClure, Director of Campus Recreation, co-facilitates a Leaders in Residence class; Eric Simmons, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, also co-facilitates a Leaders in Residence class.


    
    

Category: Success Stories

What they are saying...

"Why wait to learn leadership in the workplace? Students can learn how to lead by using Kouzes and Posner's five proven leadership practices. [This] is the perfect guide for...[those] seeking to develop themselves for leadership."
– Howard T. Prince II
University of Texas, Austin

What they are saying...

"I've been teaching leadership classes for twenty years, and The Five Practices are, hands down, the best tool for helping students see both their inherent strengths as leaders as well as to further develop their skills."
– Britt Andreatta
University of California, Santa Barbara

What they are saying...

"[The Student Leadership Challenge] (book) is a gift to university educators who teach leadership courses or develop trainings. workshops, and retreats."
– Laura Osteen
Florida State University

What they are saying...

Corey Hill "The greatest part about being in the virtual community was being able to hear the instructors, talk about the material we were discussing, as well as having our own discussion as a class with our other classmates over chat. You got a lot of interaction with the material, a lot of takes and nuances on what other people were taking away from the material that I don’t think you would get in a traditional classroom setting."
– Corey Hill
Oklahoma State University

What they are saying...

"The Student Leadership Practices Inventory is the best tool I have used to help students assess their leadership effectiveness because it translates the concept of leadership into actions and relationships. By defining and measuring specific leadership behaviors, the Student LPI allows students to see how they are doing as leaders and to determine how they can improve."
– Cathy Early
National Interfraternity Conference

What they are saying...

"The student examples inspire the reader and show us that running into bumps along the way is not only normal, but that you can approach the challenges with confidence and practical solutions."
– Amanda Crowell Itliong
Stanford University

What they are saying...

"The authors set out to teach college student leaders to understand what it takes to be an effective leader, to inspire them to find their own unique skills and abilities, and to explore and discover where their leadership will make the most difference in the lives of others and in the success of their organization.  I believe they have succeeded."
– William L. Kibler
Mississippi State University
NASPA Journal, 2009, Vol. 46, no. 4

What they are saying...

"The experience of the Certified Leadership Training left me feeling more confident and equipped to provide better leadership training to my student leaders."
– Erica Lara
Nyack College, NY

What they are saying...

"The 5 practices are a must!  Demonstrating and understanding the [concept that] 'leadership is an art' that must be taught to our students was incorporated throughout the training."
– Jerry Alva
Texas A&M International University

What they are saying...

"This is a great opportunity for any person looking to develop a program that involves The Student Leadership Challenge."
– Miguel Trevino
Texas A&M International University

What they are saying...

"I am more equipped to develop a leadership program that will have a positive impact on the students at my institution."
– Andrew Moyer
Delaware Valley College, PA

What they are saying...

"Employers are looking for students who have content knowledge and practical experience working in teams and leading others. The Student Leadership Challenge is an excellent example of the behaviors needed to accomplish extraordinary tasks that can get you noticed by a potential employer."
– Kevin Bailey, vice president for student affairs
University of West Florida

What they are saying...

"Beth and Gary are so personable that I was totally comfortable asking anything. For a program with such vigor, these two facilitators do an amazing job of creating a safe, fun, and functional learning environment."
– Certified Facilitator Training participant

What they are saying...

"The Student Leadership Challenge is a gift to university educators who teach leadership courses or develop trainings, workshops, and retreats."
– Laura Osteen
Florida State University

What they are saying...

"Developing transformative learning environments for leadership education begins when we embrace the use of emerging technologies and social media to enhance student learning."
– Todd Foley, assistant director for the Student Involvement Center
Saint Louis University

What they are saying...

"Leadership is a journey of personal and organizational discovery… understanding that the best way to learn is to teach, we decided to take on the challenge of having our students teach others.
"
– Vince Bellafiore
Marmion Academy

What they are saying...

"We know that The Student Leadership Challenge is making a difference. Through continuous coaching and intervention, with the use of the Student LPI, we are helping to keep our young people engaged in the pursuit of exemplary leadership."
– Melvin Chia
Lifeskills Enrichment, Singapore

What they are saying...

"The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership are everywhere. And as important as it is to exhibit those qualities yourself as a leader, it is just as critical to see them in others, and to be driven and inspired by other people’s leadership.
"
– Nina Vasan and Jennifer Przybylo
authors of Do Good Well

What they are saying...

"Consider the college campus as a leadership laboratory—a place where students have multiple opportunities to practice their leadership skills and explore and develop their leadership identity.
"
– Marcy Levy Shankman
Cleveland Leadership Center

What they are saying...

"I am so passionate about leadership and making a difference and I truly, honestly, wholeheartedly believe in The Student Leadership Challenge model. It is complete, yet simple enough, for all to understand. SO very excited to share this model with others, both on-campus and in the community.
"
– Suzanne Von Behren, RN, BSN, University Wellness Services
Northwest Missouri State

What they are saying...

"I feel that a program like this could really work in helping to eventually change our culture within our schools, homes, and businesses. Although I am not a supervisor, I plan to implement the model fully in our office and look forward to sharing it with coworkers. I love The Student Leadership Challenge model and am so excited!
"
– Suzanne Von Behren, RN, BSN, University Wellness Services
Northwest Missouri State

What they are saying...

"The Student Leadership Challenge is one of the most robust teaching and learning opportunities we have as educators. The Five Practices are identifiable and learnable skills allowing an individual to improve by receiving feedback and observation and by setting goals.
"
– Jason R. Pierce, director of education
Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity

What they are saying...

"And so again [leadership development] becomes foundational, it becomes a foundational understanding of living your values, of challenging the process to make things better, enabling others to act. It’s not just delegating, it’s about giving people the passion and the power to it themselves.
"
– Matt Baker, Vice President of Student Affairs
Northwest Missouri State University

What they are saying...

"Within the academy, we are constantly seeking additional tools to assist us in teaching the valuable lesson of leadership development for students. The Student Leadership Challenge is an excellent resource to assist in the important goal of helping students to become better leaders and, ultimately, stellar citizens in the communities of the world.
"
– Victor K Wilson, vice president for student affairs
The University of Geogia

What they are saying...

"Student leadership challenges are quite similar to adult challenges, and yet they differ as wel­­l– in scale and in the power of peer perspective. Kouzes and Posner have constructed a wide and sturdy bridge across these worlds. My college students will find relevant lessons and great inspiration in the diverse and compelling stories that are retold. We’d have a lot less adult leadership problems if more teachers and students used this great book.
"
– Dan Mulhern, Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Business
University of California, Berkeley, and author Everyday Leadership: Getting Results in Business, Politics and Life

What they are saying...

"Kouzes and Posner provide a comprehensive, research-based, and values-driven resource that is packed with real-life examples. This book makes leadership highly accessible to college students and is sure to empower the next generation to tap into their potential as leaders and social change agents.
"
– Jennifer R. Keup, director
National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

What they are saying...

"The Five Practices has provided a framework for students to reflect on their leadership experience and restructure their philosophy and theories relating to leadership as they challenge themselves through these five practices.
"
– Amy Kuo, Somchanhmavong, associate director
Service-Learning, Public Service Center, Cornell University

What they are saying...

"As a Student Leadership Challenge Certified Facilitator I am excited about using these books to further aid me in developing curriculum and giving our students a tool to acknowledge and reflect on the concepts as they pertain to their own capacity to lead effectively."
– Deborah Mann, Student Leadership Challenge Certified Facilitator
BOLD Leadership Program, Cornell University

What they are saying...

"In our public service leadership programs and courses we will be able to easily use the many relevant and engaging activities and reflection exercises provided in this workbook. It will enable our students to better engage with and benefit from The Student Leadership Challenge, and will also help foster their personal leadership development journeys."
– Jon McConnell, associate director,
Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University

What they are saying...

"Every young person dreams of doing something extraordinary. The Student Leadership Challenge provides everything this generation needs to turn a dream into reality."
– Brian C. Warren Jr., executive director
Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity

What they are saying...

"A book of genuinely effective activities for enagaging students at all levels, turning the novice facilitator into a pro. It includes easy-to-use concepts that readily apply to life as a leader, and is a real difference maker that fosters success!"
– Randy D. Grimes, human resources director
Duke University

What they are saying...

"A fantastic resource for leadership educators looking to further develop students’ understanding of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership in a tangible, hands-on way! It offers engaging activities that are sure to make an impact on your student leaders. This activity book is a great supplement to The Student Leadership Challenge, bringing the original concepts off the page and into the real world.
"
– Kimberly Piatt, coordinator of leadership development
The College at Brockport.

What they are saying...

"An excellent one-stop resource for activities to engage student of different learning styles. Students will find the experiential nature of the activities easy to comprehend and most importantly be able to see the relevance and application of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership."
– Melvin Chia, principal consultant
Lifeskills Enrichment

What they are saying...

"From what, to so what, and now what, this guide helps take educators on a journey of not only understanding The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership but also specifically on how to apply, practice, and teach the nuances of these exemplary leadership ways of being."
– Laura Osteen, professor of higher education, Florida State University
and director, Florida State’s Center for Leadership and Civic Education

What they are saying...

"The Facilitation and Activity Guide would have helped me not only to develop a better leadership program but to be a better leader myself. For those administering The Five Practices, this guide ‘Models the way’ and will be one of your best coaches."
– Sam Eriksmoen, former director, Emerging Leaders Program
University of North Dakota

What they are saying...

"Educators working at all levels will benefit from [The Facilitation and Activity Guide]. It is practical, applicable to diverse sectors, and works."
– Katie Burke, director, L.E.A.D. (Leadership Education & Development)
Florida Atlantic University