Lead state kicks off its fall program with 50 students

Kali Lingen

Kali Lingen

A new leadership program for sophomore students, called Lead State, began its inaugural term on campus this fall.

The program will help develop leadership skills in rising sophomore students at SDSU, said Tim Nichols, Dean of the Honors College and one of the 10 faculty members on campus involved in Lead State. The program began this fall and involves about 50 SDSU sophomores.

Nichols said there were multiple reasons why sophomores were selected for the leadership development programs.

“The university has ramped up services to freshmen, and juniors and seniors are already involved on campus and in their majors,” said Nichols. “There is a niche or need at the sophomore level.”

In addition to helping sophomores develop their leadership skills, the program also provides the students with a way to network among their peers.

“I’m excited about where the program goes throughout the school year,” said Mary Christensen from the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, who is also on the Lead State faculty team.

Sophomores were chosen across campus collectively. Nichols said a team of faculty members volunteered to assist with the selection process for Lead State. In the various departments on campus, Nichols said the team asked for nominations to the program. Sixty-five sophomores were invited to participate in Lead State, and about 50 accepted.

“We wanted to reach out to students who had leadership potential, not necessarily people who are already involved in leadership roles on campus,” said Nichols.

Before classes began, Lead State went on a retreat at Camp Lakodia on Lake Herman, near Madison, S.D.

During the retreat, Nichols said students began networking, learned about the program, took a strengths-based leadership assessment, learned about the social change model of leadership development and outlined a personal leadership development plan.

“I thought it was an exciting program to get in on the ground floor of,” said Kim Buehner, Lead State sophomore biology major.

Nichols said each student involved in the leadership development program has a one-on-one relationship with a leadership coach. The leadership coaches are the 10 faculty members directly involved with Lead State. The Lead State sophomores will meet with their leadership coaches throughout the school year.

The 50 students are also divided into 10-student groups, called clusters. Each of the clusters will do various activities throughout the school year.

The logistics are still being worked out for next year since the program is new and a lot depends on this year’s participant feedback, Nichols said.

There could be a possibility for a continuation of the program with the sophomores involved right now.

“There’s a need for more leadership – to learn about leadership on campus,” Christensen said.

#1.881543:2407198896.jpg:DSC02113.1.jpg:Sophomores in the Lead State program attempt to form a letter as part of a group activity during their weekend retreat to Camp Lakodia near Madison, S.D.:Pavan Kulkarni