By Elena Wadden
Starting next September, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) will launch a new three-week leadership program for students entering their junior year.
The program—which will add to the September Studies program offerings that already include Sophomore College and Arts Intensive—aims to develop leadership skills among rising juniors through a tailored curriculum, residential component and a faculty leader to facilitate mentoring relationships with students in the course.
“The goals are to really help juniors think proactively about what it means to be a leader and why that’s important,” said Vice Provost Harry Elam.
Elam added the program was part of a larger goal to create a September Studies program intended for juniors.
“We didn’t really have anything targeted at juniors,” Elam said. He said he hopes the program will “really be something that students look forward to in their junior year before they come back to school.”
Lisa Bilgen, associate director of the new program, said that popular demand for a program catering to juniors with a focus on leadership also contributed to the rationale behind launching the new offering.
Sukhi Gulati ‘16 has already expressed interest in the new program.
“Stanford has a knack for taking on the challenge of teaching unteachable things like design thinking,” Gulati said. “So I would definitely be interested to see how they construct a program that focuses on leadership.”
According to Bilgen, the program focuses on general leadership and “digging really deep into yourself around your own leadership skills.”
“It’s going to require some bravery,” Bilgen said. “Students are going to have to be open and willing to look at their own leadership style, their own skills and abilities and kind of examine them and work on them in front of others.”
Al Camarillo, professor of history, will collaborate with VPUE as faculty director of the program and help implement the leadership program for the first year.
“My vision for it is to provide an intensive seminar exchange, engaging intellectual environments where students are going to be infused with the curriculum about leadership,” Camarillo said. “In a nutshell, it is to give juniors a springboard to both understanding the nature of leadership and the practice of leadership.”
Bilgen added that faculty from a wide array of programs, including the Haas Center for Public Service, the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, among others, have expressed significant interest in the new program.
Faculty from these institutions will be involved by giving guest lectures to demonstrate what leadership looks like in their diverse fields.
The program will also involve faculty representing all three undergraduate schools as well as the graduate schools of law, education, business and medicine.
Another attractive feature of the program is its continuation beyond its three-week length in September.
Students have the option of continuing the three-week program through weekly seminars during the academic school year for which they can get course credit, in addition to monthly events. Furthermore, the program will even offer 10 students grants if they have a project that they are committed to pursuing based on their experiences in the program.
Following the program, Bilgen will continue working with students throughout the year to help them craft their leadership path.
“My goal is to be a resource to the student as they decide on their pathways,” Bilgen said.
Camarillo said the program was a long time in the making.
“This is an idea I’ve wanted to develop for the undergraduate curriculum for a long time,” he said. “I have a vision of it being one of the most dynamic experiences a student can engage in here at Stanford.”
Contact Elena Wadden at ewadden ‘at’ stanford.edu.