Friday, December 23, 2011

Reflections on our 25th Year (Part 4)

The 25th year of The LeaderShape Institute has been an exciting one at the LeaderShape office. It probably goes without saying that this milestone has prompted us to reflect on and reminisce about the past with our friends and champions. It also gave us an excuse for a party with the spring Anniversary Gala. What a special night that paid homage to our roots and to those who continue to support and challenge young people to live with integrity. To have a healthy disregard for the impossible! To live embrace their passions and make the world a better place. How lucky we are for these people.

We cannot only look to the past; we must also look to our future. What can the next 25 years bring? This is what the staff at the LeaderShape office has been considering as we move forward in our work. Because as much as the LeaderShapers in the world have done, there is still more to do! We invite you to help us to reach our vision. Join us in this admittedly immense and ultimately momentous task of directing our passions and actions towards the creation of a just, caring, thriving world! Perhaps in 25 years we’ll be celebrating this goal, with thanks to you all for making it happen.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Enduring Importance of "Leading with Integrity"

From former President of LeaderShape and immediate past Chair of the Board, Rob Sheehan:

I am fortunate to celebrate my personal 20th Anniversary associated with LeaderShape while we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The LeaderShape Institute. I have been privileged to serve first as a Cluster Facilitator in 1991, then on staff as President, and now on the Board of Trustees. My reflection back on these years is on the fundamental need our global society has for ethical leaders. While this has been true for all human existence, it seems even more important today as the challenges we face escalate. We need leaders who will tell the truth, who will engage with others with respect, and who will be inclusive. Thanks, LeaderShape, for taking a stand for the importance of “leading with integrity” as we build a more just, equitable, caring society.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reflections on our 25th Year (Part 2)

From LeaderShaper, Joe Cimino:

The other day I stumbled upon an old Skype-chat conversation I had with someone from before I attended LeaderShape. I laughed to myself, wondering who it was behind my username that would have been saying those things with that kind of mindset. When I compared all of what was written from before LeaderShape, and that from after returning home, I was truly amazed. There was a profound sense of levity from a prior pessimistic manner of speaking. Just seven days and an open-mind was all it took to shake off one mold and start setting foot into a new one. That’s what Day 7 is all about right: knowing who you want to become and starting the path to get there? After seeing the noticeable difference between my Skype conversations from pre and post LeaderShape, I decided to retrace my other steps using social media as a lens.

I started the research with my twitter account. What I found was a newsfeed peppered with positivity. Between the fellow LeaderShapers and the people they recommended to follow, my day is enhanced with optimism and values-driven tweets. My own tweets have made a transformation as well. Before attending the LeaderShape Institute, I felt more compelled to express my feelings and stories in negative and more sarcastic ways, but as my outlook had changed I committed to sharing things more in line with my new mind set. My Twitter profile is a direct result of my core values, “Living my life filled with the greatest sense of optimism and inner harmony.”

On Facebook, I noticed that a handful of my recent profile pictures have been taken at either the LeaderShape Intstitute in Boston or at the 25th Anniversary in Chicago. I can’t help but smile when I look at them. I’m reminded of the joyful people in my life and the astounding affect they’ve had on me. In one way or another, they’ve all helped me in my journey to where I am today. After returning home from LeaderShape I remember weeding out people from my “Friends” category. I decided instead to concentrate on the people who brought more value to my life. Facebook also became a portal of reconnecting with others who I wanted to spend more time with. There were people I wanted to regain a friendship with, and that’s where the “Messages” category came in handy.

Something I commonly share on both Twitter and Facebook is a link to my blog. It’s entitled “Choose Your Own Adventure” because of it’s commencement before my study abroad this semester in Paris, France. The blog is in fact my journal, posted in photograph form with brief titles and captions of my more memorable events. While attending LeaderShape I was so moved by the sharing of Tomorrow’s Headlines, and everyone’s encouraging Post-It note comments that I wanted to continue the use of handwriting within this piece of me I planned to share with the world. As I journal I think of the reflective writing we did at LeaderShape and how it was always set to what appeared to be a fitting musical soundtrack. Now I use the same device to help me remember the places and times I was writing about and include that at the bottom of each entry.

When I sent my entry to the LeaderShape email for the 25th Anniversary YouTube video contest, I wasn’t fully aware of it’s significance. I was mostly concerned about matching the film up with the pace of my voice and not the number of people that would see it. I wanted to make it known how powerful of an experience LeaderShape had been for me, and that I feel truly connected to it. It had only been a few months since coming out to my parents and close friends by the time I entered the contest. It wasn’t until I was watching it on the big screen at the Anniversary dinner and I had taken the time to read all the comments, that I could see the ways it had touched others and the way it hit home for me. I was welcomed by an entire community of people, a sort of utopia, only comparable to attending LeaderShape itself. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more comfortable with who I am than at that moment.

Now the people I care to communicate with through social media the most are my closest friends from college, and the magnificent people I met at The LeaderShape Institute in Boston, and some from the 25th anniversary celebration in Chicago. LeaderShape is something that I think about daily because it has enriched my life in so many ways.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections on our 25th Year (Part 1)

From our dear friend and former staff member and faculty, Alice Faron:

As I reflect on the 25 years of LeaderShape’s existence , I find myself in awe! Not just because this great organization has been in operation so long, or because I spent so much of my career there…..but because of the impact that LeaderShape has had on me….and this impact still continues. I know, without a doubt, that many of the values that are shared and taught at The LeaderShape Institute are now “my values”. I can’t make a decision without considering the ethical implications, I can’t relate to a friend or family member without considering emotional intelligence and how my thoughts and actions will impact others, and I can’t look ahead to the future in my retirement without painting a picture with vision or stretch goals. This is the power of LeaderShape, particularly if it is seen as more than a six-day program.

There are countless ways to acquire and internalize values and convictions. Throughout life, we build on core principles and lessons. And this is what I am particularly grateful for related to LeaderShape. My life has taken twists and turns, but the lessons from LeaderShape are deep and far-reaching I know that my life is different because of being a part of the LeaderShape family…and I’m thankful for that!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Making the Case: Part IV: A 10-Year Study on the Impact of LeaderShape at Wisconsin

Here at LeaderShape, we are often in conversations with individuals interested in bringing The LeaderShape Institute to their campus or organization. People are supportive. They are on board. But you need evidence and data to help make the case to your colleagues.

This is the fourth installment (of several) that showcases research conducted by third party researchers.

This post focuses on the impact The LeaderShape Institute has made with participants from the University of Wisconsin-Madison over the course of 10 years.

The following are direct quotes that highlight the results from Zogg & Mastalski's (2008) research and paper presented at the 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY:


Abstract - To determine the outcomes, based on participant responses, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’’s campus-based LeaderShape® sessions, a comprehensive assessment and evaluation was conducted. The participants in this assessment study were LeaderShape alumni who participated in the 13 sessions hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison between 1997 and 2006. Using qualitative data analysis techniques, seven outcomes of the campus-based sessions of LeaderShape at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were extracted from participant responses. Those seven outcomes include: (a) changed goals and aspirations; (b) planned and taken; (e) changed concept of leadership; (f) self discovery; (c) application of knowledge; (d) actions increased understanding of values and convictions; and (g) celebration of diversity. Several suboutcomes emerged within each of the seven outcomes. Conclusions were reached and implications for future campus-based sessions of LeaderShape at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are discussed.


“…the purpose of this assessment was to determine the outcomes, based on participant responses, of the UW-Madison’s campus-based LeaderShape sessions. The results, therefore, of this assessment are the seven outcomes (i.e., the seven codes that were extracted during the qualitative data analysis process) of the UW-Madison’s campus-based LeaderShape sessions. Those seven outcomes include: (a) changed goals and aspirations; (b) self discovery; (c) application of knowledge; (d) actions planned and taken; (e) changed concept of leadership; (f) increased understanding of values and convictions; and (g) celebration of diversity.” (p. S4B-15)

“Changed Goals and Aspirations

Those five suboutcomes include: (a) goal definition and articulation; (b) more outwardly focused; (c) goal achievement, attainment, and realization; (d) increased self-confidence and ability to take risks; and (e) visionary mindset.” (p. S4B-15)

“Self Discovery

Those five suboutcomes include: (a) skill set; (b) character; (c) leadership style, skills, and abilities; (d) the importance of trusting, and opening up to, others; and (e) personality.” (p. S4B-15-S4B-16)

“Application of Knowledge

Those four suboutcomes include: (a) in their careers; (b) on campus; (c) all the time; and (d) in the community.” (p. S4B-16)

“Actions Planned and Taken

Those four suboutcomes include: (a) involved, or have the desire to be involved, in associations, the community, and organizations; (b) have taken, or have the desire to take, on leadership roles; (c) created, or have the desire to create, something new; and (d) improved, or have the desire to improve, something.” (p. S4B-16)

“Changed Concept of Leadership

Those four suboutcomes include: (a) improved understanding of different styles of leadership; (b) value the importance of emotional intelligence; (c) value a visionary mindset; and (d) value communication and facilitation.” (p. S4B-17)

“Increased Understanding of Values and Convictions

Those four suboutcomes include: (a) improved emotional intelligence; (b) increased commitment to act in accord with values and convictions; (c) increased self-confidence; and (d) improved ability to prioritize.” (p. S4B-17)

“Celebration of Diversity

Those five suboutcomes include: (a) honor individual differences; (b) treat others with respect; (c) appreciate diversity and the inclusion of others; (d) communicate with others; and (e) be open minded.” (p. S4B-17)

"Participant responses focused on several suboutcomes within each of the seven outcomes. Three of those suboutcomes were found within two different outcomes. The first dual role suboutcome, a visionary mindset, was found within the changed goals and aspirations outcome and the changed concept of leadership outcome. The second dual role suboutcome, emotional intelligence, was found within the changed concept of leadership outcome and the
increased understanding of values and convictions outcome. The third dual role suboutcome, leadership style, was found within the self discovery outcome and the changed concept of leadership outcome.

Embracing and valuing a visionary mindset, the first dual role suboutcome, was discussed by participants in regards to two different outcomes (i.e., changed goals and aspirations and changed concept of leadership). This dual role suboutcome is especially important in light of the theoretical framework of The LeaderShape Institute (i.e., transformational leadership) that emphasizes the creation of a personal vision. As evident by participant responses, participants learned to adopt a visionary mindset in regards to their goals and aspirations and that effective leaders adopted a visionary mindset and strove to achieve visionary buy-in amongst their followers.

An increased understanding of the concept of, and their own capacity of, emotional intelligence, the second dual role suboutcome, was discussed by participants in regards to two different outcomes (i.e., changed concept of leadership and increased understanding of values and convictions). This dual role suboutcome is especially important in light of the theoretical framework of The LeaderShape Institute (i.e., transformational leadership) that emphasizes perceptions, attitudes, and commitments. This dual role suboutcome is also especially important in light of two of the four outcomes that The LeaderShape Institute works to help participants achieve which include “'to increase their commitment to acting consistently with core ethical values, personal values and convictions”' and “'to increase their capacity to develop and enrich relationships as well as to increase their commitment to respecting the dignity and contribution of all people”'. Participant responses touched on all four aspects of emotional intelligence which include: (a) self-awareness, (b) self management, (c) social awareness, and (d) relationship management. Being cognizant of, and understanding the use for, different styles of leadership, the third dual role suboutcome, was discussed by participants in regards to two different outcomes (i.e., self discovery and changed concept of leadership). Although this suboutcome isn’’t directly related to either The LeaderShape Institute’’s theoretical framework or stated outcomes, it is still important given the context that this is one of the primary lessons learned by participants at the UW-Madison’’s campus-based sessions of LeaderShape. Given the fact that many participants may not have been familiar with the different styles of leadership discussed at LeaderShape, it was important for participants to learn this background information before proceeding to learn more of the higher order concepts also discussed" (p. S4B-18).


Zogg, J., & Mastalski, M. (2008, October 22-25). Outcomes of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's campus-based sessions of LeaderShape. Paper presented at the 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What does The LeaderShape Institute mean to you?

For many of you who read this blog, you have shared in the experience of The LeaderShape Institute. You have built a balloon castle and made vision potion! Oh the fun memories! It’s Homecoming at my alma mater this weekend and it has sparked some reflection in me about my college experience. One of my favorite experiences in college was attending The LeaderShape Institute. As the memories of my session came rushing back, I found myself reflecting on what my experience (many) years ago means to me now.

First I have to be honest, at the time I attended LeaderShape, I was clueless of what I was getting into! I thought it would be a great opportunity to take a week off work in the summer and meet some new people. I loved my week at LeaderShape but really most of my learning has come in the months and years after. For me, that week at LeaderShape planted many, many seeds.

So, what does my LeaderShape experience mean to me now 13 years later? It means….

That I am a work in progress. I don’t have “it all figured out” and I am so glad! The journey of becoming the person I am today has been filled with ups and downs, but I would not trade it for anything. I am excited for what lies ahead as I continue to grow as a person.

Standing up for my values even when my voice is not so loud! My voice is important just as the voices of my friends, family and co-workers are. It is when we can work together as our authentic selves that amazing things happen.

Taking risks and stretching myself out of my comfort zone. It can be very east to get into a routine. But LeaderShape taught me to ask questions and try new things!

Valuing the stories of others and appreciating the things that make them who they are. We all have a story to share and being able to connect with one another on an very personal level creates relationships that span the test of time and distance.

Admitting when I make mistakes….How Fascinating! With that, it is also important to forgive myself when I make those mistakes. Often times, I am own worst enemy.

Forgiving others and trying every day to see the best in them.

No matter what your involvement with LeaderShape has been, I imagine that this program has a special meaning to you too. Would you mind sharing it with our community? Come on, just post a few sentences in the blog response space below J You are amongst friends here!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Making the Case: Part III: High-Impact Educational Practices

Here at LeaderShape, we are often in conversations with individuals interested in bringing The LeaderShape Institute to their campus or organization. People are supportive. They are on board. But you need evidence and data to help make the case to your colleagues.

This is the third installment (of several) that showcases research conducted by third party researchers.

This post focuses on how LeaderShape connects with high-impact educational practices.

The following are direct quotes from Kuh's research:

“Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) is a decade-long national initiative launched by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in 2005 to align the goals for college learning with the needs of the new global century. Extending the work of AAC&U 's Greater Expectations initiative, LEAP seeks to engage the public with core questions about what really matters in college, to give students a compass to guide their learning, and to make the aims and outcomes of a liberal education – broad knowledge, intellectual and practical skills, personal and social responsibility, and integrative learning – the expected framework for excellence at all levels of education. The LEAP initiative is especially concerned with students who, historically, have been underserved in higher education.” (p. v)

“This report on ‘high-impact educational practices’ speaks directly to what is arguably our most important national challenge in higher education: helping America's extraordinarily diverse students reap the full benefits – economic, civic, and personal – of their studies in college.” (p. 1)

“Conventionally, educational research has tended to report college student success – especially for students from underserved backgrounds – in terms of access, retention, graduation and, sometimes, grade point average.” (p. 2)

“Retention and graduation are best described as partial indicators of student success – necessary, but scarcely sufficient.” (p. 2)

“Some of the core elements in an excellent education are enduring in every era: the development of intellectual powers and capacities; ethical and civic preparation; personal growth and self-direction.” (p. 2)

“And, as Kuh's important report makes clear, the new markers of student success also need to address the question of how students spend their educational time in college. How frequently, and with what results, do students engage in educational practices – curricular, cocurricuiar, and pedagogical – that provide them with realistic opportunities to actually develop the kinds of learning they need? How does such participation related to expected learning outcomes?” (p. 2)

“As we have written elsewhere,2 these essential learning outcomes demonstrably build on the enduring aims of a liberal education: broad knowledge, strong intellectual skills, a grounded sense of ethical and civic responsibility. But the essential learning outcomes also move beyond the traditional limits of liberal or liberal arts education, especially its self-imposed ‘nonvocational’ identity and its recent insistence on learning ‘for its own sake’ rather than for its value in real-world contexts.

Informed by vigorous faculty and campus dialogue across the nation, the LEAP vision for student learning places strong emphasis on global and intercultural learning, technological sophistication, collaborative problem-solving, transferable skills, and real-world applications-both civic and job-related. In all these emphases, LEAP repositions liberal education, no longer as just an option for the fortunate few, but rather as the most practical and powerful preparation for ‘success’ in all its meanings: economic, societal, civic, and personal.” (p. 3)

“Chart B
Employer Views on Achievement of Essential Learning Outcomes:
2008 National Survey Findings” (p. 5)

Very Not Mean
Well Well Rating*
Prepared Prepared
(8-10 ratings)* (1-5 ratings)*

Global Knowledge 18% 46% 5.7
Self-direction 23% 42% 5.9
Writing 26% 37% 6.1
Critical Thinking 22% 31% 6.3
Adaptability 24% 30% 6.3
Self-knowledge 28% 26% 6.5
Oral Communication 30% 23% 6.6
Quantitative Reasoning 32% 23% 6.7
Social Responsibility 35% 21% 6.7
Intercultural Skills 38% 19% 6.9
Ethical Judgment 38% 19% 6.9
Teamwork 39% 17% 7.0

* ratings on 10-point scale: 10 = recent college graduates are extremely well prepared on each quality to succeed in entry-level positions or be promoted/advance within the company

Note: These findings are taken from a survey of employers commissioned by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and conducted by Peter A. Hart Associates in November and December 2007. For a full report on the survey and its complete findings, see

“Chart C
Achieving the Goals of Liberal Education:
Connecting Essential Learning Outcomes With High-Impact Practices

Fostering Broad Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Natural World

Common intellectual experiences (exploring ‘big questions’ in history, cultures, science, and society)
Undergraduate research
Learning communities (multiple courses linked to a ‘big question’)
Diversity, civic, and global learning
Capstone courses

Strengthening Intellectual and Practical Skills

First-year seminars and experiences
Writing-intensive courses (across the curriculum)
Skill-intensive courses (quantitative reasoning, oral communication, and information literacy across the curriculum)
Collaborative assignments and projects
Undergraduate research

Deepening Personal and Social Responsibility

Common intellectual experiences (exploring ‘big questions’ in history, culture, science, and society)
Diversity, civic, and global learning
Ethics-intensive courses
Collaborative assignments and projects
Service and community-based learning

Practicing Integrative and Applied Learning

Learning communities (multiple courses linked to a ‘big question’)
Undergraduate research
Service and community-based learning
Capstone projects and culminating experiences” (p. 6)

“As George Kuh kept reminding LEAP's leaders through the many drafts of the 2007 LEAP report, if the essential learning outcomes are goals, then our curricular, cocurricular, and pedagogical practices need to be recognized as the means to achieving these larger educational ends. We can help our students improve by making these kinds of practices the norm, rather than the exception.” (p. 7)

“Pointing to the multiple educational benefits of high-impact practices. Kuh recommends that each institution take action to ensure that all students participate in at least two of these practices.” (p. 8)

“If our goal is to help students achieve the essential learning outcomes that both educators and employers endorse, then the long-term challenge is to transparently connect these intended outcomes with students' successful engagement in a thoughtfully planned sequence of high-impact practices. Chart C shows how we can deploy selected high-impact practices to foster particular sets of essential learning outcomes. It also reminds us of the fundamental educational truism that repeated practice – at progressively higher levels of challenge and engagement – is the surest key to high levels of achievement. And, encouragingly, Chart C also reminds us that specific high-impact practices call foster multiple learning outcomes.

Institutional leaders may protest nonetheless that the practices recommended in these pages are labor-intensive and therefore costly. But concerns about cost need to be set in a larger context. We live in a demanding, increasingly competitive global environment. The quality of citizens' learning has become our most important societal resource. If students leave college without the preparation they need for this complex and volatile world, the long-term cost to them – and to our society – will be cumulative and ultimately devastating.

Conversely, if these high-impact practices support both student persistence and heightened achievement on essential learning outcomes, then wise leaders will find both the will and the wallet to make them a top priority. With so much at stake, how can we not?” (p. 8)

“The following teaching and learning practices have been widely tested and have been shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds.” (p. 9)

“Common Intellectual Experiences

The older idea of a ‘core’ curriculum has evolved into a variety of modern forms, such as a set of required common courses or a vertically organized general education program that includes advanced integrative studies and/or required participation in a learning community (see below). These programs often combine broad themes – e.g., technology and society, global interdependence – with a variety of curricular and cocurricular options for students.” (p. 9)

“Learning Communities

The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with ‘big questions’ that matter beyond the classroom. Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. Many learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines. Some deliberately link ‘liberal arts’ and ‘professional courses’; others feature service learning (see p. 11 ).” (p. 10)

“Diversity/Global Learning

Many colleges and universities now emphasize courses and programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own. These studies – which may address U.S. diversity, world cultures, or both-often explore ‘difficult differences’ such as racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, or continuing struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power. Frequently, intercultural studies are augmented by experiential learning in the community and/or by study abroad.” (p. 10)

“Capstone Courses and Projects

Whether they're called ‘senior capstones’ or some other name, these culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of some sort that integrates and applies what they've learned. The project might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of ‘best work,’ or an exhibit of artwork. Capstones arc offered both in departmental programs and, increasingly, in general education as well.” (p. 11)

“…decades of research showed that student development is a cumulative process shaped by many events and experiences, inside and outside the classroom.” (p. 13)

“…there is growing evidence that – when done well – some programs and activities appear to engage participants at levels that elevate their performance across multiple engagement and desired-outcomes measures such as persistence.” (p. 14)

“Deep approaches to learning are important because students who use these approaches tend to earn higher grades and retain, integrate, and transfer information at higher rates.” (p. 14)

“What is it about these high-impact activities that appear to be so effective with students?

First, these practices typically demand that students devote considerable time and effort to purposeful tasks…” (p. 14)

“Second, the nature of these high-impact activities puts students in circumstances that essentially demand they interact with faculty and peers about substantive matters, typically over extended periods of time.” (p. 14)

“Third, participating in one or more of these activities increases the likelihood that students will experience diversity through contact with people who are different from themselves.” (p. 15)

“These experiences often challenge students to develop new ways of thinking about and responding immediately to novel circumstances as they work side by side with peers on intellectual and practical tasks, inside and outside the classroom, on and off campus.” (p. 15)

“Fourth, even though the structures and settings of high-impact activities differ, students typically get frequent feedback about their performance in every one.” (p. 17)

“Fifth, participation in these activities provides opportunities for students to see how what they are learning works in different settings, on and off campus. These opportunities to integrate, synthesize, and apply knowledge are essential to deep, meaningful learning experiences.” (p. 17)

“Finally, it can be life changing...” (p. 17)

“Such an undergraduate experience deepens learning and brings one's values and beliefs into awareness; it helps students develop the ability to take the measure of events and actions and put them in perspective. As a result, students better understand themselves in relation to others and the larger world, and they acquire the intellectual tools and ethical grounding to act with confidence for the betterment of the human condition.” (p. 17)

“The effects of participating in high-impact practices are positive for all types of students (see appendix B). But, historically underserved students tend to benefit more from engaging in educational purposeful activities than majority students. Sadly, as table 3 shows, some groups of historically underserved students are less likely to participate in high-impact activities…” (p. 17)

“…what one thing can we do to enhance student engagement and increase student success? I now have an answer: make it possible for every student to participate in at least two high-impact activities during his or her undergraduate program, one in the first year, and one taken later in relation to the major field.” (p. 19)

“Ideally, institutions would structure the curriculum and other learning opportunities so that one high-impact activity is available to every student every year.” (p. 20)

“…making high-impact activities more widely experienced should have a demonstrable impact in terms of student persistence and satisfaction as well as desired learning outcomes.” (p. 20)

“these opportunities – with the exception of working on campus – too often are limited to small numbers of students, especially on large campuses.

If faculty and staff made these and other effective educational activities commonly available to every student, perhaps colleges and universities could do a better job in helping students compensate for shortcomings in academic preparation and create a culture that fosters student success. But left to their own devices, many students and faculty members may not do these things. Educationally effective institutions recognize this and create incentives to induce purposeful behavior toward these ends.” (p. 20)

“While high-impact activities are appealing for the reasons just outlined, to engage students at high levels, these practices must be done well.” (p. 20)

“The last bullet is a reminder of the important role faculty members play in creating a climate conducive to engagement and learning. Other research has demonstrated the positive relationships between faculty teaching practices and student engagement, learning, and persistence.” (p. 21)

“What faculty think and value also makes a difference, especially as to whether students will participate in high-impact practices.” (p. 21)

“Of course, what faculty think and value does not necessarily impel students to take part in high-impact activities or engage in other educationally purposeful practices. Rather, when large numbers of faculty and staff at an institution endorse the worth of an activity, members of the campus community are more likely to agree to devote their own time and energy to it, as well as provide other resources to support it – all of which increases the likelihood that the activities will be available to large numbers of students and that the campus culture will encourage student participation in the activities.” (p. 22)

“…engaging in educationally purposeful activities helps level the playing field, especially for students from low-income family backgrounds and others who have been historically underserved. Moreover, engagement increases the odds that any student –educational and social background notwithstanding – will attain his or her educational and personal objectives, acquire the skills and competencies demanded by the challenges of the twenty-first century, and enjoy the intellectual and monetary gains associated with the completion of the baccalaureate degree.” (p. 22)

“Almost every college or university offers some form of every high-impact practice described here. But at too many institutions, only small numbers of students are involved. The time has come for colleges and universities to make participating in high-impact activities a reality – and a priority – for every student.” (p. 22)

“Appendix C

Asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions
Tutored or taught other students (paid or voluntary)
Talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor
Worked harder than you thought you could to meet an instructor’s standards or expectations
Worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework (committees, orientation, student life activities, etc.)” (p. 29)
“Had serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity than your own
Had serious conversations with students who differ from you in terms of their religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values” (p. 30)


Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I have recently fallen in love with quiet. With the fall approaching, I find myself outside more often enjoying the sunsets, the air, the trees, and the changes that are coming. However, this fall is different for a number of reasons, but one in particular...I am experiencing the quiet as not the absence of noise, but the welcoming of space. I have finally realized, I mean really got clear, that quiet is not "without", but quiet is "letting in." Over the past number of years, I have had a constant buzz in my head with all that comes my way during the day - family, work, personal goals, etc. The buzz was so loud that I didn't hear it. It blinded me into a false sense of security, a status quo, an acceptance of "that's just life." But, ah, I finally got it while sitting on my porch without my phone, without solving or fixing all of life's challenges in my head, without trying to run and hide from the buzz.

I let the quiet in.

With the quiet, I let in being raw, I let in being imperfect, I let in my inability to control my life or the lives of others. I let in Paul. By no means do I expect it to last, but I have tasted it. I have seen that quiet welcomes thoughts, feelings, ideas, and, yes, relaxation. Quiet is not a antidote, quiet is not the answer, quiet is a means to becoming more authentic. It is a way to be more raw, more aware, and more in touch with what I really want to do and who I really want to be.

I know I will be a better leader because of it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A simple thought for today

“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”

Anne Sexton

Monday, August 22, 2011

Making the Case: Part II: Stories from campus-based programs

Here at LeaderShape, we are often in conversations with individuals interested in bringing The LeaderShape Institute to their campus or organization. People are supportive. They are on board. But you need evidence and data to help make the case to your colleagues.

This is the second installment (of several) that showcases research conducted on LeaderShape by third party researchers.

This post focuses on three different campuses who host a session of The LeaderShape Institute from the lens of Program Coordinators.

The following are direct quotes from their experiences:


“Every year, we receive back statements such as, ‘LeaderShape changed my life. Not only did it open my eyes as to what was possible, it introduced me to other students I never would have met if I hadn’t attended.’ Our office coordinates a variety of short leadership programs and retreats, but comments that reflect the transformational nature of a student’s leadership development come from LeaderShape participants more than any other single initiative.

The value of the LeaderShape curriculum on our campus is two-fold. First, it provides a six-day holding environment for students to struggle with the question, ‘What do I really want to do with my life?’ and, due to the way we select students, helps connect them to peers they may not have met otherwise. This broadens their perspectives to better reflect the diversity of students here at Illinois. We have coordinated a campus LeaderShape session since 1993. I feel that it has not only benefitted our campus as a whole, it has transformed countless individual participants.

We regularly ask students what they want to major in or what they want to do when they graduate. However, seldom is the follow-up ‘Why did you choose that?’ asked. All LeaderShape participants – regardless of the site – are faced with this question. Because the program lasts for six long days, it is unavoidable; students can neither dodge the question, nor can they go through the motions of answering. Since the foundation of leading with integrity involves knowing and practicing one’s values, one of the central benefits of the LeaderShape experience is the way that the curriculum and facilitators help students to develop complex, critical thinking in this manner.” (p. 10)

“There can be no doubt about the transformational nature of The LeaderShape Institute experience here at Illinois. Students without a strong social network leave with new lifelong friends, students unhappy with their major or goals find meaning and purpose for their lives, and leaders from a variety of backgrounds learn the skills necessary to collaborate and expand their horizons.” (p. 11)

“Integrity. Personal Growth. Reflection. Social Change. Experience. These are a small sample of the tenants that cause The LeaderShape Institute to stand apart from other leadership programs and immersion experiences.” (p. 11)

“The transformation that occurs in and with the students who attend LeaderShape is remarkable, and it does not end after the six days are over. One participant from a 2006 session of The LeaderShape Institute noted that, ‘I hold myself to a higher standard because of LeaderShape.’” (p. 11)

“Mutual Respect and Cilivity

The work done in the safe space of Family Clusters provides an atmosphere of support, courage and openness, inspiring a trust and care for one another that is extraordinary. This atmosphere continues into the general Learning Community, where participants form their own community values to guide their time at the Institute and diligently uphold these throughout, illustrating a commitment to treat each other and the environment with mutual respect, tolerance, and civility.” (p. 11)

“Breaking Down Barriers

At LeaderShape, a Learning Community is created that allows for the barriers that oftentimes divide our campus, to crumble. Long last connections are formed that are collaborative and transformational.” (p. 11)

“Transformative Learning

The experiential learning methods employed at LeaderShape allow for hands-on work, but also incorporate ample time for reflection. Through both interactive and introspective assignments, students are encouraged to practice a healthy disregard for the impossible. Being invited to think and act that way leaves a lasting impression on students.” (p. 11-12)

“Community & Service

When students leave LeaderShape with a Vision and accompanying Breakthrough Blueprint, they have been provided a safe space to discover and define their passions in ways that are both idealistic and tangible, focusing on service to society both locally and globally.” (p. 12)

“Values & Integrity

At LeaderShape, students are asked to not only think about their core values, but to wear them for everyone to see. Practicing decision-making based on values empowers students to be individuals of character, not only in their co-curricular endeavors, but far beyond.” (p. 12)


Rosch, D. M., Edwards, S., & Pariano, N. (2011). Program spotlight: LeaderShape on campus: Stories from campus-based programs. Concepts & Connections, 17(2), 10-12.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The courage it takes to slow down.....

Do you ever feel like being busy is like wearing a badge of honor? The busier you are the better, right? This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a retreat hosted by The Center for Courage and Renewal. The focus of the retreat was to reconnect who you are with what you do. While it was a wonderful opportunity for me personally, I kept thinking about how the concepts of being discussed of courage, renewal, community, authenticity and integrity apply to the LeaderShape Community. My thoughts went all over the place because I know that all of those concepts really resonate with LeaderShape.

The one thing that kept coming into my mind was that it takes courage to slow down and truly listen to yourself. I believe our society places a badge of honor on how full our calendars can be that it is often hard to turn down a meeting or dinner with a friend without feeling guilty. At the core of what LeaderShape is about is connecting people to their passions. The LeaderShape community is so spread out across the globe that it can be easy for individuals to get lost in every day life. From meetings to classes to caring for loved ones we can all quickly forget our passions, dreams and deep desires of our heart.

As you start your week, I want to encourage you to find some time for your own personal renewal. Be courageous and do this for yourself. Maybe it is listening to music, allowing yourself to get lost in a book, sitting in nature or going for a run. Whatever will renew your soul, do it! While you do this I hope that you allow your mind to wander, your heart to dream and remember what is important to you. Give yourself the opportunity to truly be heard and renewed, it's worth it!

“Sometimes the most urgent thing you can do is take a complete rest.” Ashleigh Brillant