A group of Oklahoma Christian University students have been selected to meet weekly together in an inaugural symposium to hone their leadership skills for the future.
Community Leadership Seminar brings in leaders from the Oklahoma community in order to help teach the students more about using skills in their future. According to the course syllabus, the symposium-style class will give student-leaders an opportunity “to have resources for more humble, effective and efficient leadership.”
Senior Blake Ridgway, a student in the class, said the learning how to be an effective leader is important for success.
“If you want to go anywhere in life, you can’t always have someone leading you,” Ridgway said. “For me, I’m interested in going to dental school and if you’re the head of an office, you can’t just sit around and watch what everyone else does.”
Community Leadership Seminar meets every Friday with approximately 65 students, juniors and seniors with at least a 3.0 grade point average, nominated by professors who saw leadership potential in them in different aspects of their life.
“They saw the skills… and how we are on top of our work and they see those qualities in us,” senior elementary education major Savanna Harris said.
Harris said she believes she learned her leadership skills from watching the adults in her life.
“I see that growing up, being in the youth group, my youth minister had those skills,” Harris said. “Seeing those skills and seeing how he managed things, I use what I learned from him.”
Elizabeth McElroy, student leadership coordinator, formed the class to include students from most majors on campus.
Throughout the class, the students will hear from many speakers from the community including Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Director of Technical Services for Niagara Bottling Jim Utley, Tim Ulrich from The Refuge and others.
“There are definitely some interesting speakers, they have people who have built businesses from the ground up, they have a UFC fighter coming in, just interesting people,” Ridgway said.
The speakers are brought in order to teach the students how to strengthen their leadership skills and use them in their careers after graduation.
“I’ll be a teacher and so using that in direction with kids, leading kids and helping in the teacher community with ideas and knowing, being in outreach, using the skills that I’ve learned,” Harris said.
According to Ridgway, the class was also built to help students begin networking with businesses and leaders in the area.
“It’s supposed to get us to start networking, they just want us to start getting to meet these people who have used leadership and that’s why they are where they are now,” Ridgway said.
So far, Community Leadership Seminar has met twice this semester, with Oklahoma Christian President John deSteiguer kicking off its list of speakers on its second meeting.
“I’m very excited for the class, I am excited this is the first one and that I am a part of it,” Harris said.