As students graduate college and head into the workforce, businesses increasingly see a lack of creativity, communication, team-building and other soft skills among new workers.
Thanks to the University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s Leadership Programs, students in Chattanooga are being transformed into the future business leaders of our community, outside of the classroom. One such program, Moc LEAD— Leaders Encouraging A Difference— is providing students with a firm foundation before they enter the workforce.
Piloted during 2016- 17 and officially launched during the 2017-18 academic year, the program is a two-semester, cohort-based experience focused on building self-awareness and organizational leadership. Throughout the program, students are challenged to set goals and identify key motivations while enhancing experiential learning, promoting reflection, integrating personal accountability, encouraging supplemental learning, and building community.
Students are able to foster new relationships and practice building a network throughout the program— with 100% of respondents from a survey of participants stating the program helped grow their cooperation/teamwork skills— while also fostering positive habits of continued learning and leadership that will last across all disciplines and fields.
“Throughout my time participating in the Moc LEAD Cohort, I was about to meet some truly amazing people, as well as learn about and apply more leadership qualities to my life. I have been able to become more self-aware of my own personality traits as well as those of others and how we can all work together to get the best possible outcome. I can’t wait for Moc LEAD Semester II and to continue growing relationships,” says Cheyenne Granstaff, Moc LEAD Semester I and Semester II graduate.
The experiential learning model is based on four components:
- Explore a new topic in a different way.
- Discover and dive into a topic and provide context and background.
- Connect what you have learned to your personal experience.
- Achieve and reflect in preparation for the next topic that will be covered.
Each week’s session builds off of previous components and the students participate in various activities to truly engage with the 1-hour topics. Career readiness competencies, such as adaptability, integrity, authenticity, learning, accountability, preparedness, communication, and relationship building, are addressed throughout the two semesters to ensure students are workforce-ready. Businesses will appreciate that at least 65% of the students gained experience both setting and accomplishing S.M.A.R.T. goals.
“Moc LEAD helped me come to grips with developing plans for myself in a sizable and comprehensive way. This is essential in leadership,” says Jamison Colston, Moc LEAD Semester I graduate. “Being able to plan effectively and then execute is highly advantageous. Overall, Moc LEAD does a great job with encouraging self-reflection and that’s one of the first steps in making progress to being better.”
“Being able to plan effectively and then execute is highly advantageous. Overall, Moc LEAD does a great job with encouraging self-reflection and that’s one of the first steps in making progress to being better.”
All students – freshmen through graduate level – are encouraged to apply to learn essential skills for themselves and to positively influence peers.
“Moc LEAD Semester I helped me grow. It helped me look at situations in different perspectives and learn how to listen and respond with an open mind. This has also let me branching out to other students and individuals at UTC,” says Alex Furlong, Moc LEAD Semester I and II graduate
The UTC Leadership Programs are intentionally designed experiences that foster skills students will need beyond college. Through engagement and intellectual curiosity, students are impacting others and becoming who they imagined they could be.
“If there has been anything that has helped me grow here at UTC, it is this leadership organization,” says Moc LEAD Semester I and II graduate Okaris Ulloa. “The weekly meetings have been full of useful information that has helped me get my things together in order to hopefully be successful in the future.”
To learn how to apply and for more information, click here.
- 65% of Moc LEAD Semester I Graduates accomplished one of the S.M.A.R.T. (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) Goals that they set during Moc LEAD Semester I in fall 2018.
- 94.74% of survey respondents “Strongly Agree” (42.11%) or “Agree” (52.65%) that Moc LEAD Semester I helped them evolve their personal definition of leadership.
- 94.73% of survey respondents “Strongly Agree” (36.84%) or “Agree” (57.89%) that Moc LEAD Semester I helped identify personal values through self-reflection and analyzation activities.
- 100% of survey respondents “Strongly Agree” (26.32%) or “Agree” (73.68%) that Moc LEAD Semester I helped grow cooperation/teamwork skills.