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March 8, 2013

‘Now is the time’ for FSU center

FROSTBURG — In a continued effort to support leadership development, Frostburg State University introduced a model Thursday that may serve as the framework for the creation of a campus Leadership Center.

With the presentation of what is called the “Frostburg State University Competency Model,” officials said they hope they have identified the criteria that will allow a way for those interested in exploring their personal development to do so.

“The president has said that now is the time,” said Jeff McClellan, assistant professor and academic adviser in the College of Business’s Department of Management and the chair of the President’s Leadership Task Force.

Jonathan Gibralter, FSU president, requested the formation of the task force so that a platform for the basis for a leadership center could be developed.

“People wanted to create a center in the past, but we never got there. It took the right time and the right people,” said Elesha Ruminski, chair and assistant professor of communication studies and also a coordinator of leadership studies.

The university is limited to a minor in leadership studies at this point.

“We have someone very passionate in Jeff McClellan, who is a Ph.D. in leadership studies,” said Ruminski.

“We spend an awful lot of time helping students figure out majors, but we spend very little time helping them figure out life,” said McClellan in an interview following the Lane Center presentation.

“It’s a flaw in the education system as a whole,” said McClellan.

 The new model encompasses the development of leadership skills at the personal, interpersonal, team and global levels.

“We have had all these disparate programs. There is no intentional focus on leadership development,” said McClellan.

A center is a way of bringing everything together and offering the structure needed to facilitate a student’s development, according to McClellan.

“The model will help us tease out what it is they’re learning,” said Thomas Bowling, vice president for student and educational services.

Bowling said the model will help students become active creators in their college education and not experience it in a passive way. He said, too, many students simply want to get their credit hours in.

Gibralter has been a strong advocate for leadership studies. He created the President’s Leadership Circle, now in its fifth year, which gives selected students the opportunity to participate in activities designed to help develop their leadership skills.

The leadership circle is capped at 12 students for each school year.

Through the leadership circle, students have taken trips to China, Ecuador and Uganda, where they assisted in developing systems to provide clean drinking water to local communities.

A former student, Lindsey Plummer, said she feels the new leadership model is a step in the right direction.

“I was involved in most everything leadership while at Frostburg,” said the 2012 graduate, “but I missed out on things like global leadership.”

“Future students will get every aspect of it,” said Plummer. “The communication involved will be a big improvement. It will help people develop a sense of self.”

The leadership program is intended to support students from undergraduate through master’s and doctorate levels.

“It gives us a vehicle to which we can have a common language to have these conversations,” said Ruminski.

McClellan said everything is not in place yet and that a timeline for implementation will depend of the availability of resources.

“We continue to lay the groundwork. I will continue to be involved in this as the leadership and stucture evolves,” said McClellan.

For more information on leadership development, email McClellan at jlmcclellan  @frostburg.edu or phone 301-687-4372.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

 

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