The Presidents Leadership Class at Oklahoma Christian University gives students connections, community and lessons to guide them through their college experience.
Founded in the fall 2012, each year the PLC program invites 25-30 students to meet with President John deSteiguer every Thursday during the beginning of their freshmen year. Different speakers come every week and talk to students about what it means to be a leader.
deSteiguer said his own experience as a college student in PLC is what inspired him to start the program at Oklahoma Christian.
“I participated in the President’s Leadership Class at my alma mater and it was very valuable for me,” deSteiguer said. “I wanted to begin the program here to try and replicate some of the blessings I received as a college student getting to know my president.”
According to freshman PLC student Kayla Cleaves, the class involves getting one-on-one time with deSteiguer, talking with him about what the university means to him and how they can better impact the campus.
“I’ve just learned how to better take care of myself during these first couple of weeks of my freshman year,” Cleaves said. “I’ve just learned how OC is really home and how to love other people and spend time with them.”
Cleaves said she especially enjoys the sense of community she finds in PLC.
“I think it’s nice being able to connect with other leaders around campus,” Cleaves said. “We all lead in different ways, which makes our group really unique, so I like being able to connect with them, and having the support system of President deSteiguer and the fellow leaders.”
Freshman Carley Compton said the selection process for PLC was intense.
“We had to fill out a profile page, and put our resume together with all the things we were involved with in high school,” Compton said. “Then, we had to make a minute video explaining why we wanted to be in PLC. Then, we did interviews, and had to do speed dating interviews and a dinner with the president, just to see who would be a good fit to the group.”
Compton said being in PLC has taught her that it is each individual’s responsibility to take initiative to break down social barriers.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that there aren’t social boundaries on this campus,” Compton said. “In PLC they taught us, especially since it’s a Christian campus, you should just talk to anyone and be friendly to people because you don’t know who you’re going to impact. Same goes for board members and directors or heads of different things. You just go up to them and introduce yourself because they want to meet you. Break the barrier because they don’t really get contact with students so take initiative. It builds community around you.”
Sophomore Tyler Klaassen said one lesson PLC taught him is to take advantage of the opportunities and relationships the class presents him and the other students.
“I recall one day we learned the importance of evaluating those unique relationships that we have,” Klaassen said. “They were telling us not to take for granted the fact that we have these people to learn from. They were encouraging us to take advantage of it and gain wisdom and knowledge from people like John and other people I get to meet through PLC.”
Klassen said he is grateful that the class creates an environment full of people he can learn from and apply the lessons in his own life.
“I’ve appreciated being able to be close to the president and be close to the people in that class,” Klaassen said. “Not only do you get to know people on staff you might not know otherwise, but the people in my PLC class and the classes above me, they’re there for a reason. They’re there because the staff felt like they were great kids and they really are. It’s really beneficial to learn and walk with people of my own age who are really mature and wise. Sometimes when you’re going through school you have to kind of pick out the type of people you want to hang out with and you have to get a feel for who’s which way, but with PLC, they placed 15 people in front of you and said, ‘Hey, these are really great people, you should get to know them.’ That’s a great asset for me.”