FHSU project takes leadership global
By DAWNE LEIKER
A conversation over a plate of kung pao chicken in Shenyang, China, created a spark that has resulted in bringing students together for shared learning experiences and educational opportunities in global leadership concepts.
A year ago, LeAnn Brown and Brett Whitaker, Department of Leadership Studies instructors and co-directors of the Global Leadership Project, had traveled to Shenyang with Fort Hays State University faculty. Together, they shared a dinner conversation.
"During that time we were talking about leadership that we're teaching in China, and noticing that a lot of what we're teaching in leadership is very western-focused," Brown said. "To best serve our students and prepare them for what's basically a global marketplace, we need to start thinking about leadership from a global perspective."
To put those ideas into action, the Global Leadership Project has been launched this semester at FHSU. With co-curricular and curricular programs, the project is reaching out to on-campus students, as well as online and international students.
A kickoff event for the co-curricular side of the Global Leadership Project will be hosted by the Office of the Provost, Virtual College, Forsyth Library, Center for Civic Leadership and the Department of Leadership Studies at 7 p.m. Thursday at FHSU's Memorial Union Ballroom. Community members, as well as FHSU faculty and students, are welcome to attend.
The event will feature Libuse Binder, author of "10 Ways to Change the World in Your 20s."
Binder will discuss ways students with limited economic resources can impact global issues.
Binder's address will be streamed live to students at Sias International University in Zhengzhou, China, as well as to virtual students throughout the world. Discussions in China will be facilitated through a Sias global leadership liason. An online chat room discussion will be hosted by Justin Greenleaf, FHSU instructor of leadership studies.
The project will be breaking new ground at FHSU, as this is the first time a co-curricular event with a live speaker has been streamed to both a partner university and virtual college students.
"One of the Global Leadership Project's focuses is how do we create programming that's available and accessible and useful to Virtual College and international students," Whitaker said. "Our virtual college students are a larger contingency than our on-campus students, but we don't serve them very well with a lot of our co-curricular programs."
Following Binder's presentation, those participating in the event in Hays are invited to a "Party with a Purpose" at Neighbars Bar and Grill, 507 W. Seventh. The "Party with a Purpose" will focus on global hunger issues and will encourage students to get involved in an upcoming Numana Inc. project slated for Oct. 29 at Forsyth Library.
Numana Inc. is a nonprofit hunger relief organization with the mission to empower people to save the starving through meal packaging events.
"Usually communities raise money for the events, but Numana is providing higher education institutes in Kansas during the month of October with a 20,000 meal kickstart," said Kelly Nuckolls, student coordinator of the Global Leadership Project.
The academic side of the Global Leadership Project includes a 12-hour certificate program which is getting under way this semester. Fifteen students have signed up for the program, while marketing efforts for the certificate program are being developed.
As Whitaker and Brown move forward the efforts of the Global Leadership Project, both are pursuing doctorate degrees in global leadership from Indiana Institute of Technology, Fort Wayne, Ind. Whitaker's focus is higher education administration and Brown's is organizational management.
"We're applying some of the things we're learning fairly quickly, too," Whitaker said. "It's been interesting to be taking courses and thinking about how we can adapt some of that information to enhance our curriculum here."