Promoting a Leadership Experience
By Tiffany Ferrari

Some educators are noting that many of today’s students are lacking in assertiveness.  Many hesitate to ask questions in the classroom about course material and assignments.  They have grown up with their fingers on keyboards and cell phones and many are uncomfortable with face-to-face interaction.  In some cases, they struggle to communicate their ideas effectively and are indecisive about educational goals and concerns in their personal lives.

The John Marshall Emerging Leaders Institute (JMELI) is offering incoming students the opportunity to develop skills that will help them overcome their indecisiveness and aggressively pursue their goals to become leaders on campus and in their professional careers.

In the fall of 2006, the Office of Student Affairs reintroduced the JMELI after receiving supporting funds from the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation and other private contributors.  The semester began with an aggressive recruitment of incoming freshmen and twelve students were selected to be a part of the two-year program.

JMELI students are provided with the opportunity to develop the skills and competencies essential for effective leadership.  The program focuses on the development of the individual student with an emphasis in four areas: leadership, scholarship, service and character. Students will be presented with workshops and seminars designed to develop their leadership abilities, enhance their team-building skills, establish relationships with campus and community leaders, and encourage responsible citizenship.   Seminars may include topics such as finances for college students, values, ethics, and resume building.

Service activities will be selected to create an awareness of community needs.  They will be encouraged to develop a balance between their academic obligations and those valuable out-of-the-classroom opportunities that make them well-rounded.  By their second year, students will be encouraged to seek leadership roles in other campus organizations and programs that interest and benefit their personal goals.

In addition to building skills and developing community and self-awareness, students will have opportunities to represent Marshall University leadership conferences as well as local retreats.  In April 2007 and April 2008, JMELI students visited our nation’s leaders in Washington, D.C.  In March 2008, a small group of JMELI students visited New York City.

Beginning in summer and lasting through September, the JMELI staff will be recruiting incoming freshmen for the Fall 2008 semester. If you are interested in applying to be a JMELI student or you would like additional information, please call our office at (304) 696-3395.

Tiffany Ferrari is a former graduate student from Glen White, WV.