Students Gain Valuable Insights and Skills in Annual LEAD Program

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
LEAD Crisis Simulation

Crisis management: A leadership training exercise required students to work together under intense pressure in "Camp Batumi," a simulated refugee camp. The role-playing exercise immersed students in a challenging, high-pressure, and rapidly changing scenario.

Engineers seldom remain engineers forever. Often, they are promoted to top management positions or start their own companies. In either case, good leadership skills are essential.

In light of this, Rose-Hulman offers students the Leadership, Education, and Development (LEAD) program, jointly provided through the offices of Academic and Student Affairs. This year, hundreds of students from all majors took advantage of the program's various events to enhance their leadership skills.

"The leadership program has helped me learn what it means to be a leader and how to work in a team efficiently," says Joe Militello, a junior computer engineering major and a 2015-16 LEAD participant. "I have learned that a leader needs to know that everyone in the group is different, has different problems, and different strengths. What makes a good team is working together so that everyone's strengths can compensate for everyone's weaknesses."

The program kicked off in October with an intensive Leadership Academy that included team-building exercises at the Indiana State University Field Campus in Clay County. The three-day academy also included self-assessments and workshops on communication theory, goal setting, character, and personal leadership development.

At other times during the academic year, LEAD sponsors events open to the entire campus, including a speaker's series touching on topics such as crisis leadership, dealing with difficult team members, and emotional intelligence. The program also sponsors an intense crisis management exercise. This year, the exercise took place at a simulated refugee camp.

LEAD Team Building

Overcoming obstacles: Leadership Academy students took part in challenging team-building exercises last fall. Nearly 50 students participated in the three-day event.

The LEAD program helps students uncover their untapped leadership potential, says Professor of English Julia Williams, executive director of institutional research, planning, and assessment, and co-director of the program along with Kristen Loyd, director of student services and the Hulman Memorial Student Union. "There are different styles of leadership. I believe there is nascent leadership potential in many of our students," she says.

Students successfully completing the LEAD program receive recognition upon graduation and credits on their co-curricular transcripts. But, more importantly, they gain greater confidence.

"The leadership program helped me realize my true potential as a young leader," says Andrew Jordan, a 2012 mechanical engineering major and LEAD graduate. Jordan, now a senior design engineer and project manager with GSI Group in Decatur, Illinois, learned that people with different strengths can work together for positive outcomes. "This knowledge has proven invaluable as I begin my journey in the corporate world."

The LEAD program, which receives sponsorship funding from ArcelorMittal, a global steel and mining company, started in 2008. Participation in the program has increased each year, Williams says.