September 11, 2018 – The fall 2018 semester brought one of the largest freshman classes on Barton’s campus in many years. Within this large class stands the first cohort of the Presidential Leader- ship Fellows (PLF) program.
The new program, created by Barton President Dr. Doug Searcy, and Vice Presidents Dr. Chrissy Coley, and Dennis Matthews, serves to “prepare, through dialogue and experience, a new generation of leaders who will think creatively, engage constructively and lead boldly ex- ample on the Barton campus and in the community at large.” The 21 students in the program were required to fill out an application, answer essay questions, complete interviews with Barton faculty and staff, and visit campus in order to be considered for membership. A committee consisting of Searcy, Coley, Matthews, and other faculty then selected the members.
Tyneisha Williams, a freshman business administration major, explained why she joined the program. “I am really trying to change my mindset of the way I view the world and how I can become a better leader in the workplace. I want to own my own business one day and I do not want to be one of those bosses who is not aware of how other people feel or who does not use her emotional intelligence.”
During the upcoming semester, the fellows discuss and engage the following topics: values, communication, goal-setting, and networking. They will work together to reach various learning objectives and accomplish their goals.
Members of the program are required to attend bi-monthly meetings, complete one service project per semester, and become members of various established student groups on campus. Students remain in the program throughout their entire academic career as long as they adhere to the requirements.
The goal of the first year of the program is to produce leaders who have developed their own personal style for leadership and can use that knowledge to be- come productive members of Barton’s campus.
Nick Horton, a freshman mass communications major with a concentration in journalism, said, “I am looking forward to learning about things about myself, things that I want to know, but still don’t have answers for.”
Madeline Hauck, coordinator of the PLF program, explained how the students will gain valuable personal and professional development as a result of their membership. She said, “We want these students to not just see leadership as a role or a title, but as a lifestyle.”
At the first meeting of the year, the fellows were asked how they wanted to be perceived by the Barton community. The words they decided on were “respectful,” “compassionate,” “helpful,” “honorable,” “bold” and more.
By Alyssa Lanphear