The seven students in the pilot class of College 350, Ethnography of Learning, experienced many approaches to learning this summer: classroom, online and through internships. The one credit class, taught by Director of Education Studies Program Susan Mason, is aimed at teaching leadership in organizations.
Mason said the class originated two years ago when the New York 6 Consortium requested proposals for innovative courses that could be shared with the consortium. “We proposed College 350 as part of the Levitt Center’s Leadership Initiative – how to use experiential learning and turn it into powerful experiences,” Mason recalled.
Lily Wasser '16 logged in from Israel and Silvia Radulescu '17 joined from Lexington, Kentucky, and Romania. “Their experiences as interns and students show the scope and power of connecting to learn when engaged in an off-campus (and global) environment,” Mason said.
Radulescu said she was interested in taking the class for two reasons. “The prospect of applying coursework to my summer internship was enticing. I believed it would help me get the most out of an internship experience,” she said, “and it proved to be true. The ability to immediately apply the concepts learned solidified my understanding of leadership theories and styles and also helped me mature professionally.”
This summer Radelscu interned for the Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney, Ray Larson, who is the district attorney in Lexington, Kentucky.
“The online component was great because we could each log in, no matter where we were in the world,
said Radulescu. “We studied leadership theories and then observed them in practice at our respective internships,” she explained. “Discussing the culture, ethics, communication systems and use of power that shape the way organizations today operate was eye-opening. I recommend this class to any Hamilton student who wants to refine their communication skills and have a deeper understanding of leadership.
“It takes more than just intuition to be a good leader. This class teaches students the fundamental components of leadership while providing them with an opportunity to synthesize these leadership theories in practice. … this course involves applying the material in a "real-world" setting as soon as you learn it” Radulescu remarked.
Wasser interned in Jerusalem, Israel, this summer with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee with ELKA the Institute for Leadership and Governance. ELKA works with three different types of leaders in Israel, lay leaders, local government leaders, and national government leaders to address Israel's social issues on a more macro level.
She said she loved the hands- on learning environment. “This class gave us the opportunity to practice our virtual communication skills, something that is becoming increasingly important.
“I’d recommend the class to anyone who is looking to not only get an understanding of how leadership works in an organization from a hands-on approach, but also looking to learn how to be successful in their future careers as leaders within a company,” she said..
Wasser felt College 350 helped improve her performance at her internship.” I was able to share a lot of what I was learning about leadership from the class and apply it to the leadership programming that ELKA was creating,” she explained.
Mason said the class will be offered in 2016 and 2017 and she is hopeful that students from other New York 6 schools take part.