This January, the Center for Teaching and Learning and Student Affairs department teamed up for our annual Leadership Summit. This event is geared to find innovative ways to encourage and develop student leadership of all levels, with a focus for how they carry these leadership skills beyond the classroom and their time at Parker University. This year’s theme, Strengths Based Leadership, allowed for all our attendees to complete the Clifton StrengthsFinder2.0, an assessment developed by Gallup to help individuals uncover their natural talents and use them to develop sustainable strengths and teams. While a majority of society focuses on having us develop our weaknesses, this tool and presentation are instead aimed to focus on what student leaders already do well and how they can leverage these strengths to build strong people, strong teams and surround themselves in a strong culture.

Presentations were geared towards providing students with insight and thoughtful reflection on how their strengths affect their leadership, communication and team participation within different situations. Dr. Jacquelyn Elbel, Counseling Services, presented on how our strengths can sometimes also be blind spots in our lives and how being aware of these can make participants more introspective leaders. Sierra Jones, Coordinator of Student Activities and Traditions, presented on how strengths play off one another to create a dynamic leadership style. Ashley Long, Coordinator of Learning Resources presented on creating teams that build up strengths and utilizing team members for maximum effectiveness. Michael Johnson, Dean of Students presented on how to now market these strengths for future professionals and how to continue to be introspective as they continue to grow as a leader.

Students who attended the Leadership Summit felt that the summit increased their leadership skills both during their time at Parker University and beyond and that they would attend another summit in the future. Both the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Student Affairs department look forward to teaming up again to continue providing resources for our student leaders at all levels of their development