The mission of Western’s Leadership Advantage (WLA) is to develop graduates who are well prepared to exercise responsible and innovative leadership in their chosen fields and careers, and in their communities. Western’s Leadership Advantage is a partnership, at Western Washington University, between Academic Affairs (Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership) and the Enrollment and Student Services Division (LEADS). Collaborating so that the academic and co-curricular programming build towards the same mission and complement each other in the development of student leaders and a culture which supports their leadership education is what we call WWU’s leadership advantage.
As part of Western Leadership Advantage, we provide opportunities for students to learn about and develop their leadership potential through academic courses, professional speakers and a collaborative learning and leading experience.
LEADS is the co-curricular program which focuses on supporting the training and development of emerging and existing student leaders, with a focus on the large cadre of volunteer and paraprofessional student leaders active within the Division of Enrollment and Student Services (ESS), but also through programming for students across campus. In research conducted by LEADS at WWU, and as a part of a national study, the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership, WWU ESS volunteer and paraprofessional student leaders have illustrated capacities for leadership for social change that exceed the national and local random samples, and many comparison student leader samples across the country. LEADS is committed to partnerships within ESS and across campus to continue to develop reflective, active and socially responsible student leaders.
Strategic Campus Partnerships
Human Resources in the Business and Finance Division adds to Western’s Leadership Advantage through the development and implementation of managerial and supervisory training for employees across all Divisions on campus, building leadership knowledge and skills. Additionally, Human Resources partners with the Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership (KWMIL), and LEADS in facilitating a Faculty and Staff Leadership Seminar each academic year; the seminar encourages faculty and staff to translate their learning into enhanced facilitation practices to develop student leaders and develop professionally as scholar-educators. Other campus partners in Western’s Leadership Advantage include the Associated Students, who both provide strategic input about the needs of emerging student leaders and the student body, co-sponsor leadership speakers and events, and take advantage of leadership training and development sessions for AS employees, volunteers, and AS club leaders. Residence Life in University Residences has partnered with staff in KWMIL and LEADS to integrate leadership education in their Residence Education model and in providing training for their Residence Directors and Resident Advisors team.
I think a major act of leadership right now, call it a radical act, is to create the places and processes so people can actually learn together, using our experiences. Margaret J. Wheatley
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. John F. Kennedy