I have a passion for developing young leaders - it resonates with me to watch college age students step up and take leadership roles...it excites me to see college age students chosen to take on projects that move an organization forward...it makes me incredibly happy when college age students engage in projects in which they get to practice their leadership gifts. I supppose I am in pretty good vocation if these are the things that give my own life meaning.
However, there are also things about being at a college that just make my blood boil when it comes to developing young leaders. Here's my list of rants about those things on a college campus that frustrate the process of developing young leaders:
- Classes in which the professor talks all the time and students do not get to ever converse and think out loud
- Professors who ask questions to which they already know the answer, never giving students a chance to explore other options to the questions asked
- Courses in which students never work in teams or talk together in groups - how else will they learn this important leadership skill?
- Faculty and administrators who do everything themselves rather than involve students in the process of decision making and event planning
- Students being "written off" because they do not perform at a high academic level - some of these young men and women just need someone to believe in them
- Faculty who do not provide rich experiences in the classroom (or beyond) in which students must take on leadership roles
- Faculty who are more interested in their own subject matter and research rather than developing their students as leaders
- Leadership courses in which theory is taught - but never practiced
- Activities which are promoted as a place to learn and practice leadership, but all students ever do is what they are told to do
- Students who enter a classroom in a lethargic manner, expecting to sit through a lecture and not have to engage in any form
- Grades and GPA - because they inhibit college age students from constant improvement and thinking outside the box
Enough ranting for now - as I look through the list I realize that I am sometimes guilty of perpetuating these bad practices in higher education toward developing young people as leaders. It's time for me to step up to the plate and do something about this. I now need to figure out how to take the four students attending the conference this weekend and work with them over the next year to develop thier leadership potential - and then sit back watch them lead - which will resonate with me, excite me and make me incredibly happy. What a great vocation!