Temple Times Online Edition
    SEPTEMBER 15, 2005
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Program stresses ethics, integrity

Temple’s new Student Leadership Challenge aims to create the next generation of leaders

During Ainsley Carry’s first week at Temple, the new dean of students took a measure of national and global events and quickly noticed a lack of ethics.

It was late September 2004, and the news was dominated by reports of the first Enron executives on trial for fraud, CBS’s reliance on forged documents for a report on President Bush’s National Guard service, and Lynndie England, the face of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, being court-martialed for her role in the abuses.

In response, Carry and the Division of Student Affairs will introduce this fall the Temple University Student Leadership Challenge, a full-scale menu of programming meant to assist students seeking to learn about responsible leadership on campus and beyond Temple. The challenge debuts on Sept. 17 with an all-day Student Leadership Management Conference in the Student Center.

“The last couple years brought us Enron and Tyco and all the other business scandals, as well as ethical problems in journalism, politics and even science and medicine,” Carry said.

“As a result, it’s not enough for Temple or other universities to help students succeed academically and graduate,” he added. “Colleges and universities are starting to look in the mirror and ask, what is our responsibility to produce ethical leaders?”

Temple’s challenge, modeled on the book Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, will emphasize transformational leadership opportunities, such as service immersion trips or participation in campus organizations.

“It’s something that we’re encouraging all students — whether they have a leadership position on campus or not — to take part in,” said Carry, who headed a committee that developed the program during the 2004–05 academic year.

The leadership challenge has six components: the Sept. 17 conference; the Emerging Leaders Seminar, a six-week course that enables students to explore each of Leadership Challenge’s principles in depth; the Leadership Studies Academy, a program that rewards students for taking classes with a built-in leadership component; the Exploring Leadership Series, weekly 90-minute workshops led by Temple administrators that outline the hallmarks of responsible direction; community service projects; and co-curricular activities.

By participating in these areas, students earn Leadership Diamonds. Thoswe students who amass 50 or more diamonds are eligible in the spring to apply for a trip to the LeaderShape Institute, a national conference that teaches college students to lead with integrity and ethics.

“All students — freshmen or seniors, commuters or those living on campus — are empowered to create their own leadership experience with this program. The challenge is open to everyone,” Carry said. “If a student wants to take a 90-minute seminar and that’s all for the semester, that’s fine. Or a student could choose to participate in a six-week seminar, take a leadership class and be active in an organization.”

Carry is optimistic that students will take to the curriculum, as Temple Student Government, Temple University Greek Affairs and Main Campus Program Board have already signed on in support of the challenge.

“Once students start experiencing this new program, they’ll see the benefits of it right away,” said Cristina Ackas, a senior who is the incoming TSG vice president for student affairs. “In the real world, every employer wants to see leadership qualities in a person and on their resume.”

Sophomore Juan Galeano said that the challenge’s potential payoff — six days at the LeaderShape Institute — would energize students. (Temple sent Galeano and Ackas to the institute earlier this year, seeking their opinion on the program.)

“LeaderShape teaches you how to make your vision of the world a reality,” said Galeano, a political science major from Flushing, N.Y. “My vision was to create understanding between Temple students and the residents of North Philadelphia so that mutual respect develops.”

Like Galeano, Carry has visions of the program building another bridge between Temple and its neighbors — and out to the world.

“I hope it’s one of these programs where we’ll be able to look back in five years and see the impact we’ve made in our neighboring communities,” Carry said. “But I’d also love to see these students impact the world. We are producing future senators, doctors, lawyers and other professionals who will be able to point to and reference the leadership skills they learned at Temple.”

For more information on the project, visit www.temple.edu/studentleadershipchallenge.

- By Ted Boscia

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