December 3, 2023

Starting this semester, CBU’s Leadership Studies Program will be hosted by the Robert K. Jabs School of Business, and they have big plans for it. They want a wide reach for the program, as anyone can benefit from strong leadership skills.

Dr. Gaynell Vanderslice, assistant professor of business management and the new program director for the Leadership Studies Program, said she thinks you have to set your goals high and let God help you achieve them, and that is the goal for this program.

“The vision is to extend the reach of exemplary leadership at every level, everywhere,” Vanderslice said. “We have students that come from around the globe, we have students who are local who will go out across the seas. … and we have students who are working at every level within organizations, companies, firms, entrepreneurs, start-ups — you name it. They are working on the front line, to middle-management, leadership supervisors. Some are working as executives or administrators.”

But they are not promising a magic solution to achieve success. Vanderslice said the key is to realize that leadership comes in many forms, that it can be for anyone, and it is something people do every day.

“We’re not saying everyone’s going to get promoted,” Vanderslice said. “We’re saying whatever your aspirations are, our desire for you is that you realize you can put those aspirations into play now, and not feel as if you are waiting for someone to come along and do things for you.”

Dr. Marina Girju, associate dean of the school of business, said the leadership studies program is open for all students at CBU and goes well with any major.

“The goal of this program is to develop these leadership skills in addition to our professional career development,” Girju said. “It really is a program that is trying to get together all CBU students, regardless of the degree they are pursuing at CBU, regardless of the passion for the career they want to have.”

Hannah Doerfert, graphic design and digital media and leadership studies double major, said the program has worked well with her own major. 

“I definitely see myself taking more of a lead (in group creative projects), and conducting things and being the art director, because hopefully after college I plan to be a creative director for whatever corporation needs a creative director.”

Doerfert said she thinks the Leadership Studies Program complements any major, and that she would encourage more students to check it out.

“You don’t have to take as many courses as you would with a direct one,” Doerfert said. “I think it pairs well with any major on campus. You’re going to need those leadership skills, so I definitely encourage people to look at that and see if it fits into their schedule.”

The School of Business is looking at long-term goals to make the Leadership Studies Program easily accessible to students of every major, including potentially offering seminars and potentially making classes available during the summer and other  non-traditional times. Vanderslice encouraged students to email her if they are interested in potentially taking summer classes for the Leadership Studies Program.

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