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Cultivate, A New Leadership Development Program

Cultivate is a new leadership development program for third-and fourth-year students. In this semester-long program, students meet weekly to discuss readings based on the SMU Leadership Framework. During these discussions, students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their role as leaders in an individual, organizational, and community context. They bring their current experiences as campus leaders into the discussion as well as consider future leadership opportunities beyond graduation.

The idea for Cultivate came about during a discussion with Nick Fontela, graduate assistant for the Office of the Student Experience, where we were discussing the need for more leadership development programs on campus and a desire to be more immersed in leadership literature. After reflecting on the existing leadership program offerings, a gap in programs that serve third and fourth-year students was identified. Through a few more brainstorming conversations with students and staff, the idea of creating a leadership reading group for students was solidified.

Cultivate meets each Monday for an hour to discuss the weekly pre-assigned readings. The readings range from leadership textbooks to business journals and even some bestselling books. The selected readings are centered on leaders and leadership and connected to the SMU Leadership Framework. Through these readings and subsequent discussions, I hope students grow in their leadership identity. I also hope Cultivate fosters a community of collaboration amongst student leaders and that the ripples of this community are felt throughout the Hilltop as a force for positive change.

Meet the Cultivate Students

Written By: Meghan Perez, Assistant Director, Leadership Programs for Office of the Student Experience