Temple Times Online Edition
    MAY 18, 2006
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Student Leadership Challenge preps students to take world by storm

(Photo courtesy the Division of Student Affairs)
Temple students work together on a ropes course activity as part of the yearlong Student Leadership Challenge program sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs.

All year, students from across the University attended extra lectures and read books that their professors did not assign, with one goal in mind: to become better leaders.

For those who took part in the first year of Temple’s Student Leadership Challenge, the extra effort was well worth it — offering valuable lessons for today, tomorrow and beyond.

“I thought the program was an excellent way to be involved on campus, meet new students and administrators and continue developing my leadership skills — skills that I think will help me as I move forward not only in being involved in Temple student organizations, but also as I enter the working world,” said Nicole Testa, a senior double-majoring in human resource management and risk management and insurance.

Approximately 300 students participated in one or more components of the program, according to Amy Hecht, assistant dean of students. The challenge combined team-building exercises such as a ropes course trip and community service projects with classroom-based learning in the form of seminars and a six-week course on The Leadership Challenge, a book by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. Kouzes and Posner advocate five principles: “modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act and encouraging the heart.”

Another component of the Student Leadership Challenge was an interactive session based on the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, and hosted by Vanguard, a Valley Forge-based investment management company.

“I enjoyed the Vanguard workshop because it gave me a chance to network with an employer that I was considering for a summer internship,” Testa said.

Senior human resource manager Erica Tarpey said the challenge’s focus on discovering individual strengths helped improve her leadership approach.

“Without a doubt, the program forced me to look at my skills and weaknesses in leading others,” she said. “By forcing the self-evaluation, I am better able to be well-rounded when leading others in any type of event or situation.”

Another strength of the program was its flexibility to students’ schedules, Tarpey said.
“I particularly appreciated the various times, dates and locations that events were offered because students with different schedules were able to participate,” she said. “I think it was a great success.”

To culminate the yearlong effort, the Office of Student Affairs funded 60 students to attend a six-day program at the LeaderShape Institute in Reisterstown, Md., in May.

Junior health information management major Vipin Davis said he expects his participation at the institute to further build on the principles he has learned through the Student Leadership Challenge.

“When I come back from my trip, I hope to be a step closer to becoming an exemplary leader — one who leads with honor and integrity,” he said. “Something that I realized during this program is that we are all born leaders and we all have the talent. We just have to find what it is that drives us … to bring out the leader within.”

Planning for next year’s program is now under way, and an updated schedule of events will be available online by the fall semester. For more information, visit www.temple.edu/studentleadershipchallenge.

- By Patti Truant