The center of Columbia College's focus on empowering women is our women’s college. The heart of the college is our liberal arts program, and its excellence is crucial to our success. Leadership development is infused throughout the curriculum in every program. Students are directed to examine their leadership potential through development of Courage, Commitment and Confidence, and in such college-wide experiences as mentoring and a personalized leadership semester. In addition, each must hone her Competence through a major field of study which is infused with a leadership emphasis. The “4Cs,” as we call these steps toward leadership, are a unifying thread through each student’s college experience:
Courage to take on any challenge;
Commitment to see it through;
Confidence to do what you've never done before; and
Competence to really make a diiference.
First Year Success
The first year of enrollment at Columbia College provides a foundational experience in which women can grow and develop academically, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Through living and learning in a diverse community, experiencing leadership opportunities, balancing responsibility and freedom, being accountable to one’s self and to others in the community, and reflecting intentionally upon her experiences, the student develops her identity as a woman and a leader.
The Second Year Experience
C2It builds on Columbia College's highly successful First Year Experience and strengthens college-wide efforts to integrate leadership into the curriculum. Our leadership developmental model is a four year plan built upon the Four C’s: Courage, Commitment, Confidence, and Competence. At Columbia College, leadership is described as the difference each person can make in the world so we call our second year experience C2It . We believe that our students can “see to it” and make positive difference through a sense of social responsibility, service experiences, and rigorous academic and community discourse.
The C2It year connects students to our mission via service-learning and vocational discourse. Faculty navigators serve as instructors of the course, guides for a service project, and mentors of vocational decision making.
Orientation programs and first-year General Education courses emphasize personal and social responsibility, critical thinking, and strategic decision-making. Other General Education courses are designed to develop student writing and oral communication skills.
“You can also find leadership in small acts, like taking a student aside and saying, ‘We’re in English together, and I can help you.’ People need to understand leadership exists on a variety of levels.”
- Linda Posey, '09
To further infuse Leadership Studies throughout the curriculum, faculty members identify relevant classes, and design experiences and assignments that connect academic material to leadership examples. Student Affairs initiatives include activities in which students examine their own behavioral expressions of power and influence. For students who want to explore these issues even further, Columbia College offers a Minor in Leadership Studies which includes formal coursework and experiential learning. Areas of emphasis in the Minor include historic and contemporary models of leadership, issues of social context, ethics, cultural and self-awareness, critical thinking, decision-making, strategic planning, group communication, and an understanding of the social importance of service.
"My experience at Columbia College is influencing me to create change in the world before I even graduate. My personal role as a leader has evolved and the infusion of leadership in the curriculum is one of the reasons why."
- Morgan Smalls, '10
To encourage and support the recognition and development of leadership potential, Columbia College offers regular opportunities inside and outside of the classroom for students to examine their own education and growth from a perspective of positive social and institutional change.