Students at The University of Texas-Pan American will have an opportunity to participate for the first time in the LeaderShape Institute May 20-25. The program offers six days of intense, educational sessions and promises to be a truly unique experience that will teach young adults to "lead with integrity."
To fund the program, Ford Motor Company donated $35,000 to UTPA Monday, Feb. 27 during a check presentation. This contribution will enable 60 students to attend the program for free. Participation is open to sophomores and juniors who have at least a 2.5 GPA and are majoring in either business or engineering.
"Ford Motor Company is pleased to provide funding and work with UTPA in offering a leadership program to enhance the skills of students," Morgan said. "We believe this program can serve as a cornerstone of our joint commitment to developing leadership capabilities in students."
The philosophy of LeaderShape is that everyone is both a teacher and a learner, therefore the atmosphere tends to resemble more of a laboratory than a classroom. The program uses highly interactive methods, which is why students are broken up into small groups for the entire week. The groups, called Family Clusters, provide a supportive and safe environment that allows them to develop new skills and attitudes. Students also participate in the Outdoor Team Experience, involving team-building exercises, concepts of trust, communication and group problem solving.
Program participants stay on campus where they are completely immersed for six days. Keeping everyone focused on the program without worrying about outside distractions is central to LeaderShape's philosophy, and keeping Family Clusters together helps to strengthen the group's dynamics.
Andrea Miller, a junior electrical engineering student who spoke during the check presentation, said she plans to participate in the program.
"It's good to know how to work in a team, how to work as a leader, and how to be a good team member. I am hoping that this (program) will help train me in those skills," she said.
Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, UTPA president, also spoke during the ceremony about how the University is in the process of leadership formation.
"We don't want to simply prepare people who will work for somebody else," Cárdenas said. "We want to prepare young people who will shape this century."
More than 20,000 students representing universities and colleges from all over the country have already attended the LeaderShape Institute. Prestigious schools such as Cornell University, Purdue University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The University of Texas at Austin held the program on their campuses in 2005.
"The program has a proven record of developing student organization and professional leaders," said Dr. John Emery, dean of the College of Business Administration at UTPA. "Any student interested in potentially occupying a leadership role in business, government, or the non-for-profit sector can benefit from the experience."
Edwin LeMaster, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, believes this is a wonderful opportunity for students. "I have seen the effects of leadership training for our students in past years, and have seen dramatic effects on the planning and motivation of the organization from which the students were drawn," he said.
Velinda Reyes, director of Career Placement Services and one of the coordinators for the program, said, "I think it's going to do wonders for our students, especially helping them build their confidence and communication skills to be able to go out and better market themselves."
More information about the LeaderShape Institute may be found on their Web site, http://leadershape.com. For information regarding the UTPA program or to register, contact program coordinators Velinda Reyes in Career Placement Services at 956/381-2243 or Jeanette Broshears in Student Life and Transition Services at 956/381-2659. The deadline to apply for the program is April 1.