Workshops focus on student leadership

October 20, 2005, vol. 34, no. 4
By Howard Fluxgold



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Some of SFU's future leaders are being presented with the key to unlock their leadership potential in a new leadership program offered by the student development and programming centre.

The series of workshops was started, says Chris Rogerson, student life educator, “in response to students seeking support and opportunities to fulfill their leadership aspirations. We wanted to help students maximize their leadership potential.”
It is one of the newest programs reflecting SFU's growing emphasis on services for students.

Acting associate VP- students and international Nello Angerilli, who oversees the entire student services effort says, “Undergraduate students are very important to this university. Acquiring and retaining the best students is a priority for us. We must provide services and support for students so that they are successful academically, but also have a successful experience outside of the classroom.”

The new certificate seems to fit the bill perfectly. The non-credit program is open to all SFU students and received applications from 129 students for the 50 places in its first year of operation. The two-semester program is divided into three stages: leadership knowledge, leadership skills and leadership in action including a third-stage volunteer project on or off campus. “The unique feature of this program is the third stage where students will participate in a leadership project on or off campus,” notes Rogerson. “The program is flexible and accessible with more than 20 workshops that any students can register to attend for free.”

Some examples of currently scheduled workshops include Leading Teams of Volunteers and Leading with Vision. Workshop leaders come from both campus and the private sector.

Another initiative from the student centre is the student leadership society, which aims to recognize students who make outstanding leadership contributions.

Students, staff or faculty can nominate a deserving student. Each month, a panel of SFU students and staff will review the nominations and select a student to be inducted into the society.

These leadership initiatives are ways students can become involved in the university community beyond the classroom, says Tim Rahilly acting senior managing director, student life.

“Students are looking to the campus to provide them with opportunities beyond the classroom to gain experiences that are complimentary to their academic experience,” says Rahilly, who along with Rogerson are responsible for the workshop and recognition program.

He is part of the transition management team of student services that includes Angerilli, registrar Ron Heath and senior managing directors Nancy Johnston, Jeff McNab and Wilf Wedman.

“It's a big job and it will take about six months before we have a good idea of how to proceed,” notes Angerilli.

“The good thing is, that at the senior level it is probably one of the few times in SFU's history that we have cared so much about the student experience. And it is the first time students have had a voice at the senior level,” he notes. “There is no doubt that we must provide a strong experience in and out of the classroom in order to compete with other universities.”

For more information about leadership programs go to: www.sfu.ca/studentlife/leadership.

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