Student Life adds office for programs in leadership

Julie Balzarini

The Office of Student Life has developed a new Office of Student Leadership Programs, which will offer programs and services for both current and emerging student leaders.

All of the programs will be grounded in the Servant Leadership Model, outlined by Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.”

“The model says that effective leaders see themselves as servants first,” said Ralph Gigliotti, assistant director of Student Development for Leadership Programs. “This message of servant leadership is very congruent with the message of Villanova.”

The program will include the existing Beginners Leadership Series, a seven-week module taught each fall by a University faculty and staff member paired with a current student leader.

An off-campus Emerging Leaders Institute will be held in the spring for freshmen and sophomores who are interested in leadership positions across campus. 

The weekend experience will be skills-based, focused on building self-confidence, public speaking and interviewing skills. Students who complete the program will receive a certificate.

The office is also working with SGA to host monthly leadership lunch workshops where current leaders can come together and collaborate. 

The program will also extend into the University’s curriculum. The office is currently in the process of meeting with representatives from each of the University’s colleges to discuss leadership education in the classroom.

 “We have amazing student leaders on campus, and now doing more leadership education both inside and outside the classroom should be a focus for the University as a whole,” Gigliotti said. “This will of course look different for each major.” 

According to Gigliotti, this may include for-credit classes on various leadership principles and theories in the future.

The new programs also include a Slice of Leadership series, which is a monthly pizza lunch session where professionals from outside Villanova will come to share their leadership experiences and what it means to be a leader in their field. The first session is scheduled for Nov. 19 at noon in the Haverford Room. 

The new program will include ways for current leaders to share their knowledge and experiences, grounded in the idea of servant leadership. Gigliotti is working with student leaders to develop a student leadership coaching model. These coaches will serve as peer consultants and conduct training activities for any student organization on campus and will be trained on how to assess the strengths and weaknesses of an organization.

 “We’re building programs that all students can benefit from,” Gigliotti said. “It’s a very exciting time for student leadership at Villanova.”