Building on Hamilton's tradition of cultivating leadership, Hamilton students in conjunction with the Levitt Center and the Dean of Students Office created the Leadership Experience And Preparation (LEAP) program in early 2013 to promote the development of leadership skills among first-year students.
LEAP transitioned into a new phase for the 2014 fall semester. The program is connected to a philosophy course (PHIL 121) taught by Professor Rick Werner, which focuses on the role leadership plays in the pursuit of happiness. This new model allows first-year students to learn and experience leadership in a dynamic style applying what they learn in the classroom with what they learn in the LEAP program and vice versa.
First-year students that register for the philosophy course for their first semester are automatically signing up for the LEAP program. As a result, 16 first-year students have the opportunity to participate in a unique collaboration between an academic course and a student-run program at Hamilton College.
The first-year students engage in weekly lectures and tangible activities outside of the course that allow them to develop their leadership potential. The students are occasionally divided into groups of 4 students and one upperclassman mentor who facilitates the leadership exercise.
The participants develop five skills necessary to become a highly effective leader: self-awareness, active listening, public speaking, managing conflict effectively, and working in groups. In the second semester, students complete the final stages of a public service project and select a local organization to which the project funds will be donated.
By the end of their first year, LEAP students begin to understand who they are as leaders as well as attaining the tools necessary to advance the culture of leadership at Hamilton. LEAP strives to train first-year students who can then take leadership positions within the program, carrying it into the next year.
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LEAP Co-Directors for 2014-2015:
LEAP Mentors for 2014-15:
PHIL 121 course Professor:
PHIL 121 course TA: