Thanks to a year as a Rockefeller Leadership Fellow, environmental studies major Jonah Kolb '06 discovered crucial things about himself-things that will equip him to be an effective leader. "It's a program that makes you reflect on your own growth," he says. "At the same time, it helps you build relationships and friendships with leaders on campus and off. It's clear now to me that the people I work with are as important as the work I'm doing."
Such insights are exactly what the program hopes to inspire. Established in 2001 by Linda Fowler, Frank J. Reagan '09 Chair in Policy Studies and professor of government, as an initiative of Dartmouth's Rockefeller Center, the "Rocky" Leadership Fellows are a carefully selected group of senior-year campus leaders, brought together for an intensive, year-long experience.
Chosen from a pool of 45 applicants, the seventeen 2005-2006 fellows were drawn from across the campus spectrum. They included the executive editor and business manager of The Dartmouth, the vice-president of AfriCaSo, the African and Caribbean students organization, a leader of the Provision Christian Fellowship, a New Hampshire delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and the executive director of the Dartmouth Civil Liberties Union, among others.
The curriculum consisted of 16 weekly two-hour sessions plus a weekend leadership retreat. Sessions were structured around presentations from leaders and theorists from Dartmouth or from the world at large. Intensive and focused, each was designed to tackle some aspect of the complexities of effecting progress in a changing world, while giving the fellows an opportunity to flex their own leadership muscles.
Sessions this year ranged from "What the American Presidency Tells Us About Leadership," by Robert Dallek, a former Montgomery Fellow at the College and the author of acclaimed biographies of Lyndon Baines Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and others, to "Multi-Issue and Multi- Party Negotiation," by Andy Zelleke, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School. Other sessions included, "In the Blink of an Eye: Leadership, Diversity, and Bias," by Giavanna Munafo, associate director for training in the College's Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity; "Epistemology, Decision-Making," by Gregg Fairbrothers '76, executive director of the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network; and "Careers and Networking: The Strength of Weak Ties," by Class of 1925 Professor of Sociology John Campbell.
Nathaniel Fick '99, a former captain in the U.S. Marines and the author of One Bullet Away, a memoir of his recent combat service in Afghanistan and Iraq, led a session titled, "In the Arena: Translating Thought Into Action as a Young Leader," and Ruth Wageman, an assistant professor of business administration at the Tuck School, facilitated a session on "Building Teams and Team Work." Other Dartmouth presenters included Aine Donovan of the Ethics Institute; Jennifer Jordan, a postdoctoral fellow at Tuck; Jay Davis, instructor in education; and Deborah S. Eibner, a senior trainer for organizational learning and professional development. They were joined by Brian Mandell, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; Sherri Malouf, president of Situation Management Systems, Inc.; and young alumni leaders Joshua Marcuse '04, Melissa Crounse '03, and Jorge Miranda '01.
"Dartmouth provides wonderful opportunities for student leaders," says Sadhana Hall, associate director of the Rockefeller Center and director of the fellows program. "Our goal is to give them a place where they can reflect on the theory and practice of leadership, develop and refine skills and teamwork, and learn more about working within organizations."
"The program has become an integral part of the Rockefeller Center's core mission. It serves as a bridge between the students' experiences in an academic setting and the contributions we expect them to make in their workplaces and the public sphere once they graduate," says Professor of Economics and Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick. "The ability to lead depends on a capacity to understand the environment, assess the likely consequences of a variety of options, choose among the most promising of them, and work thoughtfully to bring them about."
But how does such an intensive commitment fit in with a hectic Dartmouth senior year? "Being a fellow means you're a busy person," says religion major Kristen Wong '06, who plans to spend two years in the Teach for America program before pursuing medical studies. "At the same time, you are taught a lot and you learn a lot from other fellows. And besides, it's so much fun."
For more information about the program, visit their Web site.
By PETER WALSH
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Last Updated: 5/30/08