Workshop Prepares Students to Lead
The fall 2013 Leadership Workshop Series is a program implemented by Fairfield University’s department of Student Programs and Leadership Development. The series was held two nights per week over a 12-week period stretching from September to early December. Each week was dedicated to a specific theme or topic geared towards students who wish to learn more about how to be an effective leader.
The series was offered to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Students would learn through interactive presentations and participation with their peers. The workshops varied in topics so students gained a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects and attributes of leadership. Workshop topics included “Learning to be an Active Listener,” “Group Facilitation,” “Creating Positive Change,” and “What does it mean to be an Ethical Leader?”
Students were asked to respond to questions after each workshop. These questions were directed towards reflecting and responding to the experience of the recently completed workshop. One student responded with why he chose to participate in the “Learning to be an Active Listener” workshop:
“I chose to participate in this leadership workshop to improve my listening skills and learn how I can assure other people that I understand what they have to say. I have a lot of leadership positions on campus and these leadership workshops will help me to succeed in these positions.”
Another student discussed what she learned throughout multiple workshops:
“Because of the prior workshops, I am more aware of what change really is and the difference between being a leader and a manager. Therefore, I can understand more clearly how to create a positive change. I plan on doing this through self-commitment. I am a firm believer that you cannot implement change in others if you cannot first implement that type of change in yourself.”
In addition, a student responded to how one of the workshops changed his perspective on leading within a group:
"My view on group facilitation has definitely changed. I am more prone to listen to other group members' ideas and comments. I now know it is very important to keep everyone engaged in the group meeting. Also, I realize it is good to stay neutral and take criticism in a positive way. I will now make sure to let other people know that I understand what they are saying. With globalization today, we will encounter people from different cultures, languages, and traditions so it is important that we are all on same page."
Not only did students obtain a thorough understanding of leadership in their academic and co-curricular lives, but if they completed eight out of the 12 workshops they were awarded a certificate of participation. Multiple students received certificates. Overall the Leadership Workshop Series was seen as a successful and rewarding learning experience by all participants.
More information about leadership programs can be found at www.fairfield.edu/leadership.
Submitted by Tyler McClain, Student Programs & Leadership Development