Friday, August 30, 2013

What is leadership?

The following is a guest post from Dr. Cathy Littlefield, Associate Professor in Organizational Leadership & Management within Graduate Studies here at Peirce College. Dr. Littlefield is helping develop and teach courses in our first graduate program.

Last Friday, we hosted a Graduate Studies Opening Reception for our inaugural class of graduate students here at the College. This allowed students the opportunity to engage with faculty members and peers who are earning their master’s degree through our program. We wanted to recap a few key takeaways from the event, as well as share some photos.

After welcomes by President Mergiotti, Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts, and Dr. Adrian Zappala, I conducted an interactive exercise that had students working together to identify, categorize, and discuss the question "what is leadership." First, students were asked to define "leadership" by writing their definitions on yellow post-it notes. Working together, students organized the notes into various categories. Some of the definitions included the need to be goal-driven and creative. Others highlighted the ability to guide, strengthen, motivate, and bring together others in an effort to be successful as a team.

Next, the graduate students were provided green post-it notes and asked to define "management." Using the same premise, students were invited to jot down their definition and again categorize all the responses. Their management definitions included the need to provide supervision, resolve conflict, and enforce rules that are already in place. As this exercise developed, a visual representation of the similarities and differences between leadership and management emerged.

This exercise was a preview of the engagement that will be prevalent in the online and on-campus classes, and was also an effort to focus on the beginning of the academic journey these students are beginning.

Following the “what is leadership” activity, Dr. Zappala and I engaged with students in a discussion about student goals, how the graduate curriculum will help them achieve these goals, and assisted them in identifying personal keys to success in the program. This portion of the graduate reception closed with a motivational chat about keeping your eye on the prize: Walking across the stage at the Kimmel Center, shaking President Mergiotti's hand, receiving a master's degree, and moving forward to the completion of professional and personal goals achieved through graduate education.