Apr 06, 2011

Student Reps Tackle Big Questions at the Wagner Leadership Academy

The end of the school year is an exciting time for student organizations as current leaders graduate and new students take up elected and appointed roles. Yet a common challenge groups face is ensuring a leadership transition that positions the organization to be even more effective in the coming year. The NYU Wagner Leadership Academy (WLA) is equipping representatives from graduate student organizations to do just that.

A WLA session on April 15, 2011, offers incoming and outgoing student representatives a structured opportunity to talk candidly about best practices and to get answers to their most urgent questions about strategies to pursue and pitfalls to avoid in the coming year. It is the final session in the quarterly series of workshops based on the 2010-2011 theme of "Innovation and Sustainability" designed to provide student leaders with the chance to explore new ways to increase the impact of their organization's mission and programming.

The Academy was established in 2009 to broaden student leaders' understanding of leadership and enhance their leadership capacity. It enables student leaders to consider how they are taking up their roles and to learn from peers. The WLA also exposes student leaders to useful tools they can bring back to and apply in their student organizations at Wagner and beyond.

WLA sessions focus on the types of leadership questions and challenges that student leaders - and heads of organizations - often face but rarely have opportunities to reflect on with peers or formally learn about methods for handling effectively. This year's topics have included:

 The significance and expectations of taking up leadership roles in student organizations;

 Leadership practices for innovation;

 New models of distributed and collaborative leadership and the competencies necessary for leadership as a collective achievement;

 Stakeholder mapping and analysis;

 Identifying and establishing opportunities for collaboration; and

 Practical action steps and materials to ensure successful leadership transitions.

The Wagner Leadership Academy is offered through a partnership between RCLA, the Wagner Dean's Office, Student Affairs, and the Wagner Student Association.

"Wagner and RCLA make a significant investment in student leadership, including through the WLA, because we know that the insights and skills students develop now will serve them over the course of their careers managing public service organizations," said NYU Wagner Assistant Dean for Student Affairs David Schachter. "It's been wonderful to see unlikely collaborations emerge, breakthrough moments for both individuals and groups, and students form connections that probably wouldn't have been possible otherwise."

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