TGIF! Academic Programming Undergoes Major Change in Spring 2015

TGIF! Academic Programming Undergoes Major Change in Spring 2015

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Kristin Simonetti
April 27, 2015

Class on Fridays? Something called "lead?" A lot changed for TWC and its students in spring 2015. A new academic internship structure focusing on Leadership, Engagement, Achievement and Development (LEAD) debuted this semester. Find out the what, how and why of this important transition here.


Why the move to full-day Fridays?


All LEAD programming - including academic sessions, the Simpson-Mineta Leaders Series, even the civic engagement component - now takes place on Fridays, not Mondays. The move benefits students by providing them more time to integrate their academic and work experiences. It also give them greater schedule flexibility; outside of Fridays, TWC students' only other mandatory appointment is the weekly evening course they select. Additionally, internship sites have welcomed the move because students won't miss important Monday meetings and can work four full days per week.


What's new?


On half of the semester's Fridays, LEAD includes academic development sessions that mix students form varying professional tracks together in small groups. The result? A wider variety of perspectives to influence discussions on topics such as, "What is your value system, and how can it shape your career path?" Also, civic engagement activities - previously led by TWC staff volunteers on nights and weekends - now happen three Friday afternoons per semester (two in the summer). Students listen to guest speakers on topics ranging from political engagement to social change advocacy, learn community development skills like grant writing, and engage in direct volunteering opportunities.


How will we know LEAD works?


Beginning this spring, students complete a comprehensive evaluation of LEAD and have plenty of time to provide feedback. The carefully redesigned instrument produces data that TWC staff can analyze using SPSS software. For the first time, TWC will be able to make data-driven decisions to improve academic programming from semester to semester.


Why should alumni be excited?


LEAD programming creates additional touchpoints for alumni to be guest speakers and panelists, civic engagement presenters and much more. (Interested in taking part? Let us know!) And because LEAD's primary goal is to ensure students leave Washington with the most academic, professional and personal development possible, TWC's reputation as a leader in experiential education will only rise - consistenly increasing the value of your own TWC experience.

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