The stage was set; it was 7 p.m. on a December evening, and all the hard work was about to culminate in a grand occasion for the Baylor leadership capstone students.
I was among 28 students in two sections of the leadership capstone class, and we had been working all semester for this night — a chance to share with our peers and professor how we plan to change the world. One by one, each student gave a presentation, sharing action plans on how to remedy such serious issues as poverty, education, hunger and the prison system. By the end of the night, all of us were ready, with the capstone behind us, to change the world.
The leadership capstone class is the final course taken for the leadership studies minor, which is housed in Baylor School of Education’s Department of Educational Administration. The course is the culmination of all of the theories, practices and applications — starting with leadership 1301 — that students learn throughout the four years in the minor.
“Teaching a class full of leaders can be one of the most challenging and at the same time, most energizing experiences a professor can have,” said School of Education professor Dr. Randy Wood, who taught my class. “This fall was the first time I had the opportunity to step into this capstone course, and ‘step in’ is a mild way of putting it. The class of 14 this fall experienced a complete ‘baptism’ into leadership learning. We had the opportunity to read and study some great articles on leadership theory and design, as well as to learn what is actually happening in the world of leadership in Waco and Texas and beyond. These students have the opportunity to go and do whatever they chose.”
Alongside the leadership minor is the Leadership Living-Learning Center (Lead LLC), which is home to 200 freshman and 80 upper-division students. It is there that the theories, practices and applications of leadership are put into practice as the students volunteer in and around the Waco community.
For me personally, as a three-year resident of the Lead LLC and recent completer of the capstone course, I can honestly say that my life has been dramatically changed because of this program and minor. With each passing year, I am challenged to think more broadly about the issues around me and how to lead with strength and compassion in a chaotic world. The Lead LLC and the academic classes have taught me the true meaning of community and that I am indeed my brother’s keeper, whether I know him or not.
The community that I have found in the leadership classes and the LLC has been truly remarkable. I met my absolute best friends while in this program. I got to study and learn alongside some of the greatest professors here on campus. And I became the women who I was created to be because of this program.
— by Taliyah Clark
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