Quotes from participant reflections:
“As a student studying higher education leadership, I’m really thankful that the Leadership Institute has been a part of my grad school experience. In my classes we talk a lot about things like ‘campus climate’ but only in a theoretical way; LI has given me a chance to really understand how campus climate impacts people on a human level. It has forced me to get better at understanding myself within a multicultural community, and at recognizing the impact that my voice and actions have on the people around me. The intercultural dialogue I’ve shared with other LI participants has helped me to learn not about the ‘capital-T’ Truth, but rather about the many truths that exist for people as they are differentially impacted by the systems and structures around us.
After graduate school, I hope to go into higher ed student affairs, where I’ll be interacting with students every day and helping them to become leaders and self-advocates. I will need to be able to understand how privilege and power (my own and others’) play out in my work, so that I can leverage that understanding to promote greater access and success for the students in my charge. The Leadership Institute has helped me start on the journey of achieving that understanding in a way that has really impacted my way of seeing my work and the world.”
— Ph.D., Candidate, Educational and Leadership Policy Analysis
“The SEED Seminar has helped me sharpen my awareness of the importance of including all voices from all backgrounds in an effective, decision-making process. SEED has also equipped me with the tools and knowledge to critically analyze and reflect on a variety of communication styles from a cross-section of campus folk. The open and assertive, yet non-threatening and supportive, dialogue is perhaps what I treasure the most about SEED.”
— Counselor, Adult Career and Educational Counseling Center
“LI has had a strong influence on my academic outlook and trajectory. As a graduate student in Human Development and Family Studies, my work has focused on understanding family strengths, how policies affect families, and how family research can be translated into more digestible formats for policymakers and professionals.
LI has helped me broaden my examination of the different ways families can exhibit strengths and how families can be differentially impacted by policies. In my work translating research to policymakers, I have been able to take a lead role working with my supervisor to develop better ways to incorporate racial equity issues into our communications with state legislators on various policy topics, in ways that policymakers will be receptive to hearing. LI has also influenced my dissertation work, which concerns how poverty issues are represented in policy communications.
It has helped me to more critically consider how academic writing about poverty might serve to perpetuate or to counter prevalent stereotypes, and how research can be infused with certain dominant values that tend to go unquestioned. I continue to learn from my interactions with those in the LI community, and I know I will continue to apply these lessons to my future work.”
— Ph.D., Candidate, Human Development and Family Studies
“Student SEED has really kept me open minded as I interact with others in class and in business. I have this course listed on my resume as a significant course and 9 out of 10 times, employers want a explanation for that and are pleasantly surprised when they find out classes like this even exist! As an engineer, I feel that most engineering students are very focused on computational work and seldom find time to open up and discuss human diversity factors (such as those we discussed in SEED).”
“I personally believe that the principles that we were able to discuss in SEED can be applied to any business setting and are just as important as getting all of the computational work correct. Global companies especially liked the fact that I took this course because it has made me more understanding and open to discuss issues with others from different backgrounds – something that all students should strive to work on!”
— Engineering Undergraduate Student
“I am happy to see that the Leadership Institute pool of participants always included represented classified staff. The inclusion of represented classified staff is in keeping with the Campus wide Climate initiatives. All University of Wisconsin-Madison staff have ideas and strengths to bring to the table. Personally, I have reconnected with members of my discussion group in several capacities. For me the Leadership Institute has cemented the idea of – our Campus as our Community.”
— Program Assistant 2, Represented Classified Staff, Letters and Science
The Learning Communities office has provided a space for me on campus where I am able to learn leadership skills, through self-reflection, content, and process. As a scholar-activist, working on my dissertation, I am focused on the impact of education, I am concerned with the construction of knowledge, and the politics that formulate what content knowledge becomes official and what content knowledge becomes un-official within our school systems. The Learning Communities, in specific, the Leadership Institute (LI) has helped me formulate my thought process around my research.
I have learned through LI the impact and root cause of the cycle of socialization, I have understood that in many ways the construction of our social identities regarding race, class, gender, sexual orientation, sex, and ability, support and reproduce the status quo, or in other words the official narrative and knowledge we enact on a day to day basis. I have understood through LI, that the construction of such official knowledge is what encourages “normalcy”, sameness, melting pot policies, and assimilation practices. Difference is seen as outside of the official narrative and therefore alienated.
Through LI I have learn to self reflect understand within myself how am I perpetuating these official narratives, and what I can deconstruct within myself so that I may become a better leader, accepting of difference, and equitable toward all realities. Through LI I have learned about the impact of our socialization, and how our socialization can affect the self, affect others, and continue to perpetuate the system. I am grateful to the spaces the Leadership Institute has created on campus, as this space has truly transformed my leadership.
— Ph.D., Candidate, Curriculum and Instruction