Leadership Certificate Program Triples Enrollment

Student enrollment in the Community Leadership and Public Service (CLPS) certificate program – which is coordinated by the Catt Center – more than tripled in the past 10 months.

At the beginning of the 2012 academic year, 18 students were enrolled in the certificate. By May, the enrollment had expanded to 57 students.

“This growth is attributed to more students taking their first leadership class and deciding to continue on with the rest of the courses,” said Clint Stephens, scholar-in-residence at the Catt Center and an instructor of CLPS classes. “There has also been an increase in outreach and marketing efforts.”

Stephens and Michelle Hunter, a senior in child, adult and family sciences and the Elizabeth Hoffman and Brian R. Binger intern at the center, have made major efforts to promote the leadership certificate opportunity. During the 2012-2013 academic year, they spoke to more than 1,500 people through presentations to 36 classes, student organizations and campus meetings.

“Meeting with students in person definitely provided more clarification as to what these courses are all about,” Hunter said. “It also helped that I just completed my certificate and have taken the courses these students will hopefully take. I could answer all their questions from experience.”

In addition to increasing enrollment in the CLPS certificate program – which is open to students in all colleges – expansion of the current curriculum was a top priority this year, Stephens said.

The CLPS certificate program has been offered since the fall 2008 semester. The 21-credit-hour program has included three courses taught by Catt Center staff – LAS 222, “Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society,” which is a required course for the certificate; WS 333, “Women and Leadership,” a leadership elective; and WS 488, “Interdisciplinary Research on Women and Leadership,” a capstone elective.

These three courses were initially developed as part of the center’s Joni and John Axel Leadership Development Series to provide an academic foundation for students interested in leadership theories and practice. They were designed to provide an introduction to leadership, to promote critical thinking and to teach how to conduct research in the areas of leadership.

The Catt Center was asked to expand its three-course leadership development series into a campus-wide certificate program by working with academic units in all colleges to identify other existing classes to include in the curriculum. The program now includes three core required classes for nine hours of credit; 11 communication electives from which students select three hours of credit; 54 leadership electives from which to choose six hours of credit; and 15 capstone courses, internships or study abroad experiences from which to select three hours of credit.

Beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year, the curriculum will include three new experimental courses proposed by Stephens to strengthen the program. These courses will also be identified by the program’s new CLPS course designator – CLPS 122x, “Leading with Purpose”; CLPS 270x, “Campus Leadership Development”; and CLPS 422x, “Leadership Capstone Seminar: Theory to Practice.”

“These certificate courses complete a sequence of classes that students can follow, starting either their first year at Iowa State or at any point during undergraduate studies,” Stephens said. “They are aligned with a theoretical model of student leadership development and designed to support students as they grow in their understanding and practice of leadership.”

In addition to the three new CLPS classes, LAS 222 will be offered as LAS 322 beginning with the fall 2013 semester and as CLPS 322 in fall 2014. And, the two women and leadership courses taught by Catt Center staff will be cross-listed as CLPS/WS 333 and CLPS/488 beginning in fall 2014.

“Clint has done a great job this year in promoting enrollment in the leadership certificate program and improving its curriculum,” said Dianne Bystrom, center director. “Our goal is to offer more options to students and make it easier for them to fit leadership education into their pursuit of bachelor’s degrees in a variety of majors.”

Enrollment in LAS 222 was at its highest ever in 2012-2013 with 136 students taking the course across summer, fall and spring semesters. And, 14 students will graduate with their CLPS certificate in 2013, the largest number in the history of the program. Eight will graduate in May, one in August and five in December. Students graduating with the leadership certificate will have it noted on their university transcript and will receive a certificate with their diploma.

The 14 seniors graduating with the CLPS certificate this year are from five different colleges across the Iowa State campus. Graduates from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are Brice Ballentine, communication studies; Isabela Cortès, political science, minor in Spanish; Shawn Gannon, communication studies; Emily Hall, English, minor in technical communication; Megan Hunt, communication studies, minor in English; Mariah Klemp, speech communication, minor in journalism and mass communication; Kara McDonell, anthropology, minor in psychology; Tiffani Nguyen, sociology, minor in Spanish; Rachel Peller, women’s and gender studies, minors in history, linguistics and classical studies; and Alex Salmon, interdisciplinary studies.

Also graduating in 2013 are Jessica Chrystal, public service and administration in agriculture, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Ebony Jones, community and regional planning, College of Design; Daniel Voss, materials engineering with a minor in economics, College of Engineering; and Michelle Hunter, child, adult and family sciences, College of Human Sciences.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the certificate program,” Stephens added. “We will continue to grow and turn out tomorrow’s leaders.”