The Institute for Leadership
Leadership Across the Curriculum
Leadership—or the skill to lead a generous, creative and responsible life—is at the heart of what we do at Mount St. Mary’s University. Our challenging and stimulating leadership across the curriculum program, also known as the Veritas Student Leadership Portfolio, seeks to transform our students into ethical, creative, and energetic citizen-leaders, who will be well-prepared to actively participate in civil society upon graduation. We created the on-line electronic leadership portfolio to connect the theoretical learning in our curriculum to the practical demands of the professional workplace.
Mount St. Mary’s, in inaugurating in 2012 our new general education program, the Veritas Program, decided to make leadership development a mandatory part of a student’s Catholic liberal arts education. Leadership development takes place over four years in a systematic, intentional way. Students produce a résumé and a letter of introduction during their first weeks as first-year students; every student engages in a leadership experience and reflects on it; every student takes a leadership course and writes a term paper designed to deepen reflection on leadership and its relevance to their lives; and they conclude their four year leadership experience by speaking publicly in front of faculty and students about the development that they have undergone in the previous three years. This is not a program for some of our undergraduates; every student who matriculates at Mount St. Mary’s University as an undergraduate (even transfer students) takes part in this experience. It is designed precisely to help develop citizens who both participate and succeed in the context of this experiment in democracy and capitalism we call America.
Beyond the experiences outlined above, a foundational piece of a student’s leadership experience over four years is ongoing reflection on his/her growth as a leader, in various contexts. We know that students need to do more than merely engage in experiences; they need to reflect on them and have those reflections form part of an ongoing record. The electronic leadership portfolio allows students to do precisely this, and, along the way, allows them to reflect upon their growth as they mature as full-contributing citizens.
This innovative leadership across the curriculum program combines faculty and student affairs leadership initiatives at Mount St. Mary’s University.
The field of leadership studies is of interest to scholars from a wide variety of academic departments. Participating faculty in the multidisciplinary, first year liberal arts Veritas Symposium also serve as the Veritas Leadership Portfolio faculty advisors; students meet with their faculty advisor to discuss their interests and to review their progress. We ask faculty from all disciplines on campus to reflect on how the field of leadership studies might enliven their teaching and prepare our students to engage the traditional institutions of civil society, including neighborhoods, schools, and churches, in a productive way. We also ask faculty to develop and teach leadership-themed courses.
Student Affairs Professionals
According to the estimates provided by the Office of Campus Activities, a vast majority of Mount students are currently involved in experiential activities, many of which count toward the leadership graduation requirement. Our task in these leadership programs is to ensure that all of our student participants become consciously aware of the leadership challenges and potential they have, both in and outside of the classroom. All first year students also complete a résumé workshop at orientation offered by the Career Center, and are asked to update their résumé at the end of each academic year.
Our leadership across the curriculum program at Mount St. Mary’s University clearly and purposefully connects the theoretical learning each student is receiving in our Veritas program with the demands of good citizenship. Through mutually beneficial relationships with students, faculty and staff, the Institute for Leadership serves as the hub for curricular and co-curricular leadership opportunities. The Institute for Leadership is responsible for providing opportunities so students can learn how to develop and apply their specific talents, skills, and strengths to make our world a better place.
Pangborn Memorial Room • 16300 Old Emmitsburg Rd. • Emmitsburg, MD 21727 • (301) 447-3702