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Doctoral and high school students gather for Leadership Summit

Posted: Jul 19, 2013


Groups outperform individuals.

14 doctoral students + 25 high school seniors = laughter, learning and launch into the next phase of leadership

Olivet’s Cohort 5 in the doctor of ethical leadership program recently hosted high school seniors from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan on Olivet’s campus for the 2013 Summer Leadership Institute. Led by Dr. Jay Martinson, professor and chair of the communication department, cohort members planned, organized and presented two days of activities for the teens. This was the final project for the cohort’s team-building course.

“You could be swimming or tanning or somewhere else,” Dr. Martinson said during his kick-off for the event, which was held at the new Student Life and Recreation Center (SLRC). “But you chose to be here. You’re going to be led by a team of highly enthusiastic professionals from a wide variety of careers — law enforcement, education, publishing, among others.”

Dr. John C. Bowling, University president since 1991, shared his insights on leadership from two of his recent books, Grace-Full Leadership: Understanding the Heart of a Christian Leader and ReVision: 13 Strategies to Renew Your Work, Your Organization & Your Life. “No one becomes an instant success,” he reminded those attending. “Anything of real value takes time. And we do our work together.”

Engagement + excitement

Using the seven stones of leadership as the structure, the doctoral students created learning opportunities for the Institute participants. Balancing activity with learning was a high priority.

Participants quickly accepted the learning challenges presented to them and got to work. During their 48 hours together, they met together for presentations and discussions in the classroom. And they also scaled the SLRC’s climbing wall, shot free throws in the indoor field house, gave compliments to people they met around campus, interviewed several of the Ed.D. students to solve a mystery, and built ships from random materials to sail in the SLRC’s resistance pool.

“I was afraid this was going to be like class, and we would just be sitting all day,” said Cora English (Bushnell, Ill.). “But it’s a lot more fun and engaging with the activities we’re doing.”

Intentional focus = quality results

Energy was high among members of Cohort 5 as they saw their ideas and plans come to life. Experiencing the teens’ responses was a memorable experience for each of them.

“Olivet’s doctoral program is the most challenging — and extremely supportive — academic program I’ve ever been a part of,” said Brad Sikora (Manhattan, Ill.), principal of Oak Forest High School. “Working with this group of teen leaders, I’ve been surprised by how quickly they’ve bonded with one another. For every assignment we’ve given them, the group has said, ‘Let’s do this!’”

“I’m now giving back to these student what others have taught and invested in me,” said Jesse Ivory (Oak Park, Ill.), manager for business and communication programs at Oakton Community College. “Working with my cohort has helped me move to a new level of leadership.”

Following the on-campus phase, the high school students are completing the online component of 15 hours of homework. Upon successful completion of both phases, they will receive three hours of college credit.

U.S. states represented among Olivet's student body, as well as 17 countries