Giving Back as Service Leaders at Florida State University
2/20/2012 12:00 AM ,
For many students at Florida State University, The Student Leadership Challenge and its core model, The Five Practices of Exemplary Student Leadership®, have served as a launch pad for their journey of self-discovery to becoming the best leaders they can be. And whether sorting canned goods at the local food bank or organizing a recycling campaign on campus, they are giving back to the community and demonstrating the power of exemplary leadership. They are modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act as change agents, and encouraging one another through the process.
At FSU’s Center for Leadership and Civic Education, students have an opportunity to experience The Student Leadership Challenge first-hand: in classroom presentations, as participants in the Service Leadership Seminar program, and as part of the Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies—an experiential, 18-credit interdisciplinary program open to all undergraduate students. The Student Leadership Challenge book serves as a primary text for the certificate’s interactive, theory-to-practice course, Leadership in Groups and Communities, which focuses the work of students on gaining leadership knowledge, skills, and values in the context of groups and communities. Using a variety of Student Leadership Challenge tools and resources, students engage in personal reflection, skills development, and application of theory. As a service learning course, students also engage in thirty hours of community-based learning, serving at a local not-for-profit agency where they are able to apply key learnings from classroom study and The Five Practices of Exemplary Student Leadership behaviors.
At the beginning of the semester, students complete the Student Leadership Practices Inventory® (Student LPI®), the 360-degree leadership assessment tool designed specifically to help young people measure their leadership competencies while guiding them through the process of applying The Five Practices model to real-life challenges. The student leader completes the Student LPI Self instrument. As an essential part of the 360-degree process, all students also are required to obtain participation from a minimum of four observers—fellow classmates, teachers, coaches, or others who have direct experience of the individual in a leadership role. These observers complete the Student LPI Observer assessment. All responses are ultimately compiled into a personalized Student LPI Feedback Report that is a highly useful tool for assessment, reflection, and planning. Students see not only how they perceive their own leadership skills development, but also how those close to them perceive their leadership behaviors. After the initial assessment, students regularly reference the Student LPI, reflecting on their learning and how they are developing The Five Practices in their roles as leaders within their student organizations as well as in their community service projects.
The Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies includes participants from a variety of majors. In 2010, 235 students enrolled in 16 sections of Leadership Certificate courses and 17 students graduated with the Certificate. The Certificate provides a solid foundation of leadership learning and prepares students for leadership in multiple contexts. Through the Certificate, students acquire knowledge, skills, and values to guide them both at Florida State University and beyond graduation in whichever career path they choose.
Jillian White is a Community Engagement Coordinator at the Florida State University Center for Leadership and Civic Education where she works with service learning, Florida State Alternative Beaks, and the Moellership Program. She also teaches in the Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies. Jillian is an alumna of Florida State University, receiving a Bachelors degree in Communication and a Masters in Higher Education. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Success Stories