Treating others the way they want to be treated can now be a certifiable skill, according to Engaged Cornell.
Introduced in the Fall of 2016, the Certificate for Engaged Leadership program gives Cornell students the opportunity to use their leadership skills to “address areas of public concern” in the local community.
Twenty-four Cornell students formulated the Certificate in Engaged Leadership program in the spring of 2016. The program aims to “challenge students to bring about the world they wish to see — now and throughout their lives,” said Mike Bishop, director of student leadership in the Office of Engagement Initiatives.
Bishop stressed that the Certificate on Engaged Leadership focuses on the importance of “critical reflection as a prerequisite for life-long leadership development.”
Bishop also noted that the Certificate in Engaged Leadership is “meant to support one in integrating one’s interests in leadership and public involvement.”
The Certificate in Engaged Leadership usually takes around two years to complete. It consists of three stages: “Involved,” “Committed” and “Capstone.” During these stages, students first explore various community-based issues of interest, then focus on one issue and finally develop a model of change and life-long action plan.
Each stage of the program requires community-outreach work, along with leadership development workshops. In the final stage of the program, students have dialogues with others completing the certificate and reflect on their experiences.
Conor McCabe ’18, an Engaged Ambassador and one of the students involved with the start of the Certificate in Engaged Leadership program, earned his Certificate through his work with Cornell Cooperative Extension, which works to bring information gained at Cornell into the local community, namely in regards to agriculture and food production.
McCabe highlighted “alternative breaks and outreach into the Tompkins County community” as examples of the wide variety of community outreach programs in which Engaged Cornell is involved.
According to Bishop, Ithaca is a community focused on engagement, as it boasts more nonprofits per capita than the city of San Francisco. Ithaca has about 500 nonprofits, allowing great opportunity for Cornell students to become involved in the community.
“The Certificate of Engaged Leadership is focused on creating leaders who put the why before the what,” Bishop said. “Engaged leaders work with and through groups to take courageous actions that serve the public good.”