Phoenix Leaders Program Helps Students Adjust to Leadership

A new program has started on campus this semester called “Phoenix Leaders.” The program is led by Director of Career Development Linda Boeckman and Dean of Students Mary Beth Williams.

Boeckman described Phoenix Leaders as a “leadership training program that is designed to give students the basic understanding of what it takes to be a leader.”

The program addresses basic skills students need in order to be successful as student leaders on campus and future leaders in their careers. In the past year, Boeckman has seen students do wonderful things on campus but those students did not identify with the idea that they had leadership skills. For Boeckman, the program was developed to “get students to identify as leaders.” She stated that leadership training is “One of the best ways to get students to say ‘I know how to do this. I can do this.’” During her time at Shippensburg University, Boeckman started the Leader at Ship program which now has its own office.

Seventy two students were nominated or signed up for the program which was, as Boeckman explained, “Something the campus wanted, they just didn’t know that they wanted it.” At the first meeting there were 22 students in attendance and 20 in attendance at the second meeting. If students attend 5 of 6 meetings, they receive a certificate stating they have completed the Phoenix Leader program. Students can include this certificate in their portfolio and on their resume giving them a better chance in the workforce as leadership training is a skill employers look for while hiring.

Meetings are on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. in the dining hall. Topics students learn about are, “What a Leader Is, Goal Setting, Communication, Team Building, and Ethics/Integrity.” The meetings run 30 to 45 minutes and begin with Boeckman and Williams introducing the topic for discussion. Students then provide feedback about the content and participate in an activity to reinforce what they discussed. During the “What a Leader Is” session, students talk about people they view as leaders, why they think that person is a leader, what their personalities are like and more. In the “Goal Setting” session, students discuss how to set smart goals, how to complete a goal, and why goal setting is important. For their next topic, “Communication,” students talk about different types of communication, how communication helps one move ahead, and why it is important.

The Phoenix Leaders program primarily targets freshmen and sophomores so they can build skills through their senior year. However, the program is open to all students. Boekman plans to continue the program next spring semester recruiting more students to become leaders on campus. Student leaders are needed in activities and organizations such as the Wilson College Government Association (WCGA), the Campus Activities Board (CAB), and Resident Assistant (RA) training. The intent is for students to continue to use what they learned in the sessions.

For those interested, the last four sessions will be held March 23, April 6, April 20, and May 4. For more information, contact Linda Boeckman at


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