Trailblazer leadership extends to all

Mike Nelson, Assistant Director of MIC, is one of the few professors at DSU who teaches students leadership skills that help prepare them to a successful future. Photo courtesy of UMAC.

Share This:

Dixie State University’s faculty and staff step into the student’s world in an intensive leadership program.

Patterned after the student leadership programs that are available at DSU, the Trailblazer Leadership Development Program is a yearlong course providing faculty and staff the opportunity to grow and develop their leadership skills.

“Stronger leaders result in stronger programs, improved facilities, greater partnerships, better services and more opportunities for students,” said Jordon Sharp, vice president of marketing and communication.

President Richard “Biff” Williams saw this program implemented at one of the different universities he once worked at. Seeing the growth of the faculty and staff at that university was the inspiration for the Trailblazer Leadership Development Program.

Del Beatty, vice president of student affairs, said: “In higher education sometimes people feel like they are trapped, like they can’t really move up. President Williams allocated a small amount of money for us to run this program.”

Under the direction of Williams, Sharp leads the program. Beatty, Travis Rosenberg, executive director of human resources, Megan Church, director of university events and promotions, and Bruce Harris, associate provost for faculty affairs are all involved with the program as well.

The class meets from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on one different Friday each month from August to May in various locations on campus. Breakfast and lunch are provided. The day starts with team building activities. Each month is a different focus, whether it’s budgeting, goal setting, networking, DSU master plan, planning effective meetings and more. The day continues with training on the topic of the month. A guest speaker will present each class.

Previous speakers include Williams, Mayor Michele Randall and Vice President of Administrative Affairs, Paul Morris. The day concludes with tours of various locations on campus including the International Office, Booth Wellness Center and the Center for Inclusion and Belonging. This is when they learn what is offered at DSU and why.

Knowing details about various locations on campus helps them to help students. When students understand all of the beneficial tools campus provides and takes advantage of them, they can thrive.

“I’ve grown tremendously since our first session in August,” said Stacy Schmidt, assistant director of public relations/publications. “I’ve also had a chance to form connections with people from a variety of other departments, which has been a huge bonus and has helped me become more resourceful and effective in my current role on campus.”

Regular class assignments are available to faculty and staff via Canvas. They include anything from writing, creating videos, crafting resumes, answering questions and taking a personality test.

Faculty and staff must have at least three years of work experience at DSU and their supervisor’s recommendation before entering the program. There are 30 spots available.

Throughout the course of the program students design and develop an initiative or program that they will eventually implement at the end. This type of project is what brought fast food options on campus through the student leadership program. Projects designs are usually related to the students’ lines of work including renovating a new space, changing an application procedure to become simpler for students or even putting in a new crosswalk.

Rosenberg said, “We are seeing results because people who have gone through the program are getting promoted and are accepting new positions.”