Ball State launches new Excellence in Leadership program to teach leadership opportunities

<p>Bridget Webster, assistant director of student life, leads a workshop for the Excellence in Leadership program at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Nov. 3. Throughout the fall 2021 semester, Webster has organized series on individual, group and community leadership. <strong>Richard Kann, DN</strong></p>

Bridget Webster, assistant director of student life, leads a workshop for the Excellence in Leadership program at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Nov. 3. Throughout the fall 2021 semester, Webster has organized series on individual, group and community leadership. Richard Kann, DN

Join the Excellence in Leadership program

The Excellence in Leadership program meets every Wednesday from 4–5 p.m. in room 301 of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Throughout the semester, the program will host three workshops for three different facets of leadership — individual, group and community leadership.

Students are welcome to attend any and all workshops, and those who attend seven of the nine total workshops per semester are eligible to apply for a leadership scholarship.

The final workshop of the fall 2021 semester will be Dec. 8 for community leadership.

Source: Office of Student Life web page

Whether you are entering college, filling out job applications or working for a company that requires hands-on teamwork and being quick to think, leadership is an asset that comes in handy. Students lead themselves on to letter grades and a degree, while those searching for work lead their own way toward finding a new place to commute to every morning.

Leadership is valuable, and the Excellence in Leadership program serves to emphasize its worth.

The Excellence in Leadership program aims to give Ball State students the ability to develop their leadership skills and provide them with opportunities to garner professional experience through campus and community engagement.

“This program works to offer leadership or leadership development workshops to all students across campus, regardless of their leadership style, skill level and experience,” said Bridget Webster, assistant director of student life.

Webster is hosting the program alongside Jenna Spini, a graduate student in the Office of Student Life. The program involves three different series of workshops — individual leadership, group leadership and community leadership — with three workshops per series. Students who complete one series can still attend other workshops in the current or future semesters.

Chandlar Williams, sophomore English studies major, said the activities in the program are fun and engaging, as well as appropriately challenging. Every activity she puts her energy into improves her leadership skills, Williams said.

“I really like that [the activities and discussions] push you out of your everyday comfort zone,” she said. “The things we talk about can make us feel uncomfortable at times, but it makes us a better leader because we’re able to effectively work together and communicate.” 

Williams said she also enjoys the scenarios and discussions that allow her and others to practice problem-solving and creative solutions, two scenarios leaders often find themselves in both as students and in the workplace.

“Sometimes, we’ll have activities where it’s almost like a puzzle, and we have to communicate with each other,” Williams said. “We have to come up with solutions or ideas to fix [theoretical] problems. It’s a lot of communication and teamwork.” 

Williams and other Excellence in Leadership participants recently worked through a situation in which they had to come up with an ethically sourced price for an imaginary carnival, Williams said. 

“We broke out into small groups and came up with different ways we could be more sustainable and ethically friendly,” she said.

The Excellence in Leadership program is also associated with the 18-credit-hour leadership studies minor, which Webster said can be added to any major. Many students involved in the Excellence in Leadership program are minoring in leadership studies, including Williams.

“There’s a multitude of different classes I will be taking [with the leadership studies minor],” Williams said. “There’s a lot of higher education, different electives and communication classes. There’s even classes for military leadership and philosophy, and it's a really easy minor to fit [into your academic schedule].”

Webster said students who complete all nine workshops of the program can apply to become a leadership ambassador, a selective role within the program that provides professional development opportunities through mentorship, workshops and community engagement in Muncie and Indianapolis.

“We’re really excited to ramp up the leadership ambassador program,” she said. “Right now, we have a partnership with the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, which is housed in the Miller College of Business.”

Webster said she encourages any and all students to reach out to her if they are interested in the Excellence in Leadership program. 

“We really like to highlight that every student on campus has the abilities and skills to define themselves as a leader,” Webster said.

Contact Richard Kann with comments at richard.kann@bsu.edu.

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