The mission of the Student Leadership Development Program is to enhance leadership quality for community college students and increase their knowledge of soft skills to prepare them for professional and civic responsibilities. As a result of the program, each year 30 students will receive training in skills that will assist them in becoming better campus leaders, community citizens, and provide a smoother and successful transition into tomorrow’s workforce.
In 1994 the two founders, Joan McLendon and Karen Yerby, developed an outline for a week-long session and two shorter sessions devoted to leadership training for community college students. Their proposal was reviewed, evaluated, and modified for several months. In 1995 they began their quest to secure funding. After several years, they obtained a NC State Reserve Fund Grant and the SLI had its first class in the summer of 1999.
Each year to be accepted in the Student Leadership Development Program, students must be enrolled in the NC Community College System and have at least one full year remaining as a student. Students are nominated by college administrators and are then screened by a selection committee. To be nominated, students must commit for one year and to arrange and/or facilitate at least 2 workshops on their campus or in their community.
The Student Leadership Develop Program has been tagged “mental boot camp” by student participants. The primary session lasts six days and is held in the summer on the beautiful campus of William Peace University in downtown Raleigh. Following the summer session are two two-day mini-sessions held during the fall and spring.
The summer session consists of numerous workshops, speakers, and group and individual projects. Upon acceptance the students complete the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory and are grouped accordingly, so by the time they arrive at the summer session, they are already established into four groups. During the week, the four groups work tirelessly through the afternoons and evenings to accomplish their group tasks and project. Additionally, each student is also required to keep a leadership journal, introduce a speaker/ workshop presenter, and write at least one article for the daily newsletter. The two mini-sessions extend leadership training through additional workshops and smaller projects, and the graduation banquet is held at the spring mini-session to celebrate the students’ completion of the program.