Student Leadership, Involvement, and Citizenship Education Initiatives

TitleStudent Leadership, Involvement, and Citizenship Education Initiatives
Faculty/College/UnitVP Students
Duration2 Year
Funding Details
Year 1: Project TitleStudent Involvement and Leadership Initiative
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2002/2003
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorJanet Teasdale
Year 1: Funded Amount50,000
Year 1: Team Members

Janet Teasdale, Director, Student Development, Office of the Vice-President, Students
Chad Hyson, Residence Life Manager
Erfan Kazemi, President, Alma Mater Society
Patricia Shanahan, Assistant Dean, Sauder School of Business
Nestor Korchinsky, Coordinator, UBC Intramurals

Year 1: Summary

To respond to student and community needs by creating a student involvement and leadership program. In the first year, our goal would be to design, implement, and evaluate the following four pilots:

  1. Emerging Leaders Program: To develop an Emerging Leaders pilot program targeted at 1st and 2nd year students that would encourage active engagement as members of the campus community and prepare students with the necessary skills, attitudes and knowledge to take on a variety of leadership roles within the campus community. Students taking part in this program would be introduced to leadership models, be exposed to campus leaders, and have the opportunity to critically reflect on what it means to be a leader. The rationale behind targeting this group for a pilot program is to increase the number of students who have the skills and motivation to assume the ever-increasing number of student leadership positions across campus. As well, this program is designed with this target in mind given the difficulty that our new students have in finding ways and means to be involved leaders and participants on the campus. This is particularly true for commuter students.
  2. Co-curricular Leadership Program: The co-curricular pilot program will focus on acquiring and practicing the skills, attitudes, and knowledge necessary to make a successful transition to post-secondary education and to become able and empowered leaders and citizens during and upon completion of a degree program. UBC has started to admit first year students into the Faculty of Commerce. In order to enhance the first year experience for commerce students, and to pilot a program to be considered for many other faculties, this program in the pilot would focus on developing a co-curricular leadership and communication program. The rationale behind targeting Commerce for the pilot is that the class size of 150 incoming students is a very manageable number for such a pilot program; and the Commerce Undergraduate Program office is receptive to the idea of a co-curricular leadership and communication program that would complement and enhance the first year student's curricular experience.
  3. Student Leadership Conference: To develop a weekend leadership conference to foster the development of critical leadership skills and develop a community and culture of student leadership. The conference would be open to students and groups from across campus to come together to address relevant topics and attend presentations facilitated by other students as well as other professionals from campus and the greater community. The goal of this conference would be to bring leaders from all areas of campus together to encourage collaboration, networking and the sharing of resources and experience among student leaders.
  4. Student Leader Consultant: The coordinator of this project would be available to both undergraduate and graduate student groups to coordinate or provide individual consultation and customized workshops designed to meet the needs of that particular student group. The possibilities are endless and include (given the feedback from student leaders): leadership on an international campus, communication, conflict and mediation in groups, constitution and meeting guidelines, ethical decision-making, and leading to change. This part of the project would build on the strength of the past leadership program (the responsibility for this program now rests with Student Development).

In the first year, this initiative will pilot programs for first and second year students, student leaders, commuter students, and international students.

Year 2: Project YearYear 2
Year 2: Funding Year2003/2004
Year 2: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 2: Principal InvestigatorChad Hyson
Year 2: Funded Amount55,000
Year 2: Team Members

Chad Hyson, Student Development, Office of the Vice-President, Students
Nancy Low, Undergraduate Commerce Program, Sauder School of Business
Chad Elliott, Housing and Conference
Nestor Korchinsky, Coordinator, UBC Intramurals
Christopher Lythgo, Alma Mater Society

Year 2: Summary

To further develop and build upon existing leadership, involvement and citizenship education initiatives to meet student and community needs at UBC. This year the program will look to involve faculty and strengthen the program pilots that occurred in 2002. This will be done through the expansion of the four established initiatives and the addition of one new initiative, as well as the development of on-line resources for students:

  1. Co-curricular Leadership Program: In September 2002, all first year Commerce students were invited to participate in a five-hour experiential workshop called Group Project Strategies (G.P.S.). Students developed their leadership skills while gaining a greater appreciation for the benefits of working effectively in groups. Developing these vital skills contributes to a student's success at university and beyond. The students who participated in the program had positive things to say about the experience. One student said that "it will allow me to understand how everyone works together and maybe resolve conflicts faster when we don't see eye to eye." Another student reflected by saying that "I know a lot more about myself and can see how different people have different motivators and needs." Students gained an understanding of how to combine personal strengths with the strengths of other group members while avoiding conflict. From the feedback provided, it is clear that students see value in the experience. With some restructuring, the program will be offered again in the fall of 2003, for example: 1) to increase applicability to their immediate academic needs, commerce students will participate in the program as part of their assigned groups from the first-year Organizational Behaviour class; 2) the program will grow to include first year students in other faculties. The Faculty Arts has expressed interest in developing a co-curricular leadership program to meet the needs of incoming arts students.
  2. Emerging Leaders Initiative: The Emerging Leaders Initiative targets incoming students and encourages active engagement as members of the campus community. It prepares students with the necessary skills, attitudes and knowledge to take on a variety of leadership roles within the campus community. Students taking part in this program are introduced to leadership models, exposed to campus leaders, and have the opportunity to critically reflect on what it means to be a leader. In the fall of 2002, twenty students participated in an eight-week program and provided very positive feedback on the experience. When asked how the program impacted their view of leadership, one student responded by saying that "Since taking part in the program, I view leadership less as giving orders and directing a team but more as taking initiative oneself and being a role model." Another student commented that "It has shown me that everyone has the potential to be a leader." Students also felt strongly about the continuation of the program. One student said "Yes, I think it should be continued. I feel I gained a better understanding of myself and others through this program. Others should have the same opportunity." Programs such as the Emerging Leaders Initiative are essential in assisting students in making the transition to university life and finding their way at UBC. The plan is to expand the program for fall 2003, giving more incoming students the opportunity to participate. The program curriculum will be modified to better meet the needs of incoming students based on the feedback given by participants and from the instructor's experience.
  3. Student Leadership Conference: The UBC Student Leadership Conference, Building Bridges in Our Community being held January 10-11, 2003, is the first event of its kind at UBC. The conference planning committee comprised of eight students and the Student Development Officer, Leadership has been planning the conference since September 2002. The conference will recognize and celebrate the significant contributions made by students to the UBC community and will provide a forum for sharing and learning from collective experiences. With an anticipated attendance of 350 delegates, the conference targets potential student leaders as well as existing student leaders, serving to highlight leadership opportunities and involvement on campus while emphasizing the value of building connections to the greater community both now and in the future. The conference serves to strengthen the student leadership culture at UBC. Given the potential for success, the hope is that the conference will become an annual event.
  4. Student Leader Consultant: Between August and December 2002, the Student Development Officer, Leadership worked with approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate students from across campus offering 32 workshops ranging in length from 1 hour to 8 hours. The workshops were well received, and a number of students attended multiple workshops. Workshops offered thus far were solicited by established groups of student leaders (e.g. AMS Speakeasy, International Student Peer Program Leaders), and a goal for the future is to offer more workshops to the general student population. Students voiced a need for more leadership workshops similar to the leadership certificate program offered on campus in the past. In response to this need, the Student Development Officer, Leadership will expand the workshop offerings and coordinate an ongoing workshop series that calls upon experts from the campus community.
  5. Student Leaders Summit: In August 2002, approximately 200 student leaders took time out from their training and orientation programs to participate in the first annual Student Services Resource Fair. The event provided access to campus resources focused on enhancing student success. Student leaders that are familiar with such resources are better able to support students who come to them seeking assistance. The potential exists to expand the event into a Student Leaders Summit, a full day training session that gives student leaders the opportunity to interact with other leaders, attend a keynote address, acquire resources, and participate in workshops focused on student leadership at UBC and within the community. It is critical that student leaders receive a consistent message about how they are ambassadors for UBC and that their actions reflect upon the university's reputation. It is timely for student leaders to receive this training in late August before the new students, family and friends arrive on campus for the start of another new year. The Student Leaders Summit would also help to generate the positive energy needed to get the year off to the right start.