A brand-new service is now open and available to BJU students, especially students involved in leadership roles on campus. The Center for Leadership Development officially began in August and now provides a central hub for the University’s various types of leaders.
According to Dr. Ryan Meers, chair of the Division of Communication and also the director of the Center for Leadership Development, the Center hopes to partner with both current student leaders and emerging student leaders (including freshmen, who haven’t had the opportunity to step into a “titled” leadership role) to create a culture of Christlike service both on campus and in the Greenville community. “Everything we do here [at BJU] should be focused toward equipping and preparing us to be effective ministers for Christ,” Meers said.
One of the goals of the Center is to help students make leadership more intentional — by developing, enhancing and strengthening leadership skills while they hold a leadership position. This intentional leadership will not only benefit groups the students lead, but it will also aid career preparation. Meers said being in a leadership position right now always helps in job opportunities later. Prospective employers like to see candidates with a strong leadership background, especially if students can say how the leadership opportunity affected them.
The Center is also developing an academic component that will help prepare students for their future careers. Meers said the Center is exploring the possibility of offering a leadership minor next year and working on a leadership certificate program. This program would combine academics and extracurricular activities, which would be beneficial to have on a resume and official transcript — “something to leverage in an interview with future employers,” Meers said.
While Meers directs the Center and develops the academic aspects, Mr. Chris Pennington will coordinate training aspects, including seminars and the assessment for the leadership program. Mr. Kasey McClure oversees the society and community service aspects of the Center.
Meers said he and his fellow workers in the Center for Leadership Development are eager to have direct contact with students and student groups. They offer leadership coaching to any student who wants to find and develop his or her strengths as a leader. On BJUSync, student leaders can find resources, including recommendations for books and articles on leadership development. “But primarily, we want to establish face-to-face connection with the students,” Meers said.
Meers encourages students who want to become better leaders to begin developing leadership skills early on. “Take advantage of the opportunities that you’re in now,” Meers said. Being a society officer or room leader, leading in the classroom or an outreach ministry, these all help develop and shape useful leadership skills for the future.
Currently, the Center for Leadership Development has two locations: the former Activities and Organizations office (Pennington’s and McClure’s offices in the Student Center), which is now a part of the Center, and third floor of the Fine Arts Building (which includes FA 309 and 310 for meeting rooms and Meers’ office). The Center will establish a permanent location as soon as possible.