In April, more than 80 current and rising student leaders filled the Frank Walk Room for a comprehensive, interactive one-day workshop aimed at preparing the organization leaders for the upcoming academic year.
Communications assistant M.B. Humphrey sat down with associate director of diversity initiatives Sarah Jones to discuss the variety of topics covered by representatives from the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), the Chevron Leadership Academy, Student Services and the Office of Diversity Initiatives. Read more about the valuable insight students gained below:
1. What Leadership Is
Joseph Odenwald, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, gave students a thorough breakdown of what leadership is, as well as the several different theories of leadership that may be encountered within group settings. He highlighted the differences between leadership styles of the past, often role-specific and results driven, to more current leadership styles that are change-oriented.
2. What it takes to become a Transformational Leader
Transformational leadership is characterized by the ability to bring about change in an organization by developing a shared vision, values and ideas. Director Emerita of LSU’s Center for Academic Success Saundra McGuire said, “transformational leadership is a requirement for leaders of today.” She added that it is the duty of the leader to trust their team to handle their respective roles, while the leader focuses on the “bigger picture.” She explained the necessity for students to be well rounded not only in leadership, but also academically, and highlighted the resources available in the Center for Academic Success.
STEP manager Adrienne Steele outlined the leadership styles featured in the DISC Assessment, which stands for dominant, influential, steady and conscientious. These four main leadership styles illustrate the practices that are most common within group settings. Steele walked through the characteristics of each group, focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of each. Students were then split into groups by their leadership style and discussed areas of improvement among them.
4. Leadership Cultivation Opportunities
Director of the Chevron Center Warren Hull spoke about a new program to the College, the Chevron Leadership Academy. The semester-long program, with a large mentorship component, gives select students the opportunity to cultivate and hone their leadership skills. The program supports it participants in a variety of ways including: an introductory kick-off workshop, monthly leadership seminars and the assignment of an industry mentor. Hull also debunked several leadership myths like, “only extroverts can be leaders.”
5. How to make SMART goals
Sarah Jones and Jada Lewis ended the workshop by teaching students how to perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and how to make “SMART” goals for their organizations, as the students planned for the upcoming year. The SMART acronym—which represents specific, measurable, attainable/actionable, relevant and time-bound— acted as an outline by which the student organization leaders could plan collaborative events and activities with other organizations that shared similar goals and missions