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Student Identity and Leadership

This is an introduction to an integrated leadership course that myself and a colleague proposed in 2012

Student identity and student centred learning are concepts that speak to student goals during their first years of higher education. Students, coming from multiple, diverse starting points, will benefit from a first year curriculum focused on the development of self ‐managing and self ‐directed learners. Today’s literature speaks to the creation of engaging learning environments and the need for students to make personal meaning of their learning. As strong supporters of the value of the informal curriculum, we are keenly interested in developing collaborative partnerships to help students find their place, be inspired, and achieve their goals.

We believe that the best way for students to be exposed to the learning and benefits of a liberal arts education is to envision and practice the application to every day life. Leadership can be viewed from various frames and disciplines: political science addresses power and influence, geography sees leadership as stewardship, anthropology views cultural influences and such factors as symbols and norms, history looks to the influence of key figures during significant times or when leading major social movements, and psychology or sociology looks at individual and groups and how they interact. It is important for students to explore how their discipline approaches leadership (Komives, Lucas, McMahon, 2007).

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