In the fall of 2022, the Women Who Lead club created the first course centered around professional and influential mentorship. Due to great success, a Professional Mentorship course will be added as a permanent addition to the extracurricular and business curriculum.
The goal of the class is to provide opportunities for female students at Oklahoma Christian University to interact with professional Christian women and create a mentorship relationship. The class is co-taught by professor of business Kimberly Merritt and Major Gifts Officer Amanda Noblin, who also partake in the Women Who Lead club at Oklahoma Christian.
Merritt said the Women Who Lead club knew they wanted to start a mentorship program, but instead of limiting it to a club, they wanted to implement a fixed and formal format.
“We thought it would be better to create some academic credit for it. It also gives us a vehicle for a defined time and place on a particular day in a particular classroom, so we can have guest speakers come into the classroom to visit with the students as well,” Merritt said.
Having an accredited course gifts students something credible to apply to their resumes for internships or actual career opportunities. Merrit said the students are ambitious, but overtaxed in their required courses and jobs, so having a class atmosphere rather than a club atmosphere will add more necessity to it.
“It helps it retain some priority in everybody’s life. We need priority because we’re recruiting guest speakers to come to campus,” Merritt said. “We wanted to create it in a more aspirational, ambitious way than we would get in a club.”
Senior Grace Green was invited to the class by Noblin on the first day with the intent of seeing what it was like. Green said there are things she is excited for after experiencing the class and what it has to offer.
“(I’m excited) to have deeper conversations with women my age, as well as women with more life experience,” Green said. “I love having hard conversations and deep dives into biblical topics, so having a class dedicated to that where I can be comfortable is very exciting.”
The students in the class will be going through the “Clifton Strengths Test” and book, which will stimulate deep conversations. Additionally, it will open opportunities to discover strengths and weaknesses within their potential leadership skills.
The class features all kinds of female students, ranging from freshmen to seniors and varying within many different majors and studies. Merritt said this aspect gives the class a unique starting point compared to other leadership classes, whether the student is starting the college experience or about to head into the workforce.
“I see this class as a way for our students to press forward, and we’re all starting in different places,” Merritt said. “We have a wide variety; we have freshmen and seniors in the class, and everybody is at a starting point. We want to press forward and achieve some goals.”
This class carries a lot of flexibility for the participants to explore strengths and weaknesses in order to improve their leadership and communication skills for college and future careers. Green said this will mean a lot to future students hoping to participate in future-offered courses.
“I think it’s whatever the students make of it,” Green said. “It could be amazing or it could be boring depending on how willing you are to share and discuss your views along with everyone else.”
The class hopes to branch out in the future by including high school senior women, thereby creating a chain of mentorship linking high school students, college students and Christian professionals. Merritt said this is where it started originally with Women Who Lead.
“There are professional Christian women who face unique challenges in the workforce,” Merritt said. “I think we’re doing a disservice to our professional women if we’re not preparing them for those unique challenges.”
The class meets every Tuesday from 2:40 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. and contains a guest speaker almost every class session and personal mentoring time for each student.