During the summer of 2018, Debbie Acker, the senior associate director for operations and academic programs for the Shelton Leadership Center, offered a special section of her SLC 250 course: Critical and Creative Decision Making Models.
She taught the class as part of the First Year Inquiry (FYI) in Prague experience. Like all FYI classes, these were small, freshmen only, sections of popular NC State classes; except these summer FYI offerings allowed incoming freshmen to begin their college experience by taking a five-week class abroad at the European Center in Prague. This trip proved to be transformative, not just for the students, but for Acker as well.
Upon returning to campus to start the fall semester, Acker found herself wondering, “How could we do more to connect the European Center in Prague to the university, build relationships and partnerships, give students a broader perspective of Europe, and create a really intentional experience?” This led Acker to pursue partnerships across the university and begin to develop what would become the Global Leadership and Team Decision Making minor, often referred to as the Global Leadership minor.
The Global Leadership and Team Decision Making minor is a 15-credit hour minor open to all undergraduate students at NC State, regardless of their major area of study; however, what makes this minor unique is 12 of the required 15 credit hours are earned abroad during a 9-week spring semester program. During the semester abroad, students will have the opportunity to visit and study in three different European countries while learning from an interdisciplinary team of NC State faculty. In addition, each course will be co-taught by a faculty member from one of NC State’s partner universities.
The journey begins in the Czech Republic where students take their first course abroad, Strategic Management and Decision Making in Textiles (FTM 484), taught by Helmut Hergeth from the Wilson College of Textiles. Students will then travel to Guildford, England, to the University of Surrey where they will take their next class, Leadership and Supervision in Recreation (PRT 359), with Jason Bocarro from the College of Natural Resources. For the third class abroad, students will travel to Reutlingen University in Reutlingen, Germany, where they will take Teamwork in Organizations (MIE 430), taught by Richard Podurgal from the Poole College of Management. The trip concludes with students returning to the European Center in Prague for their final course, Capstone for Global Leadership & Team Decision Making (SLC 475), with Debbie Acker from University College. Back on campus, it is recommended students complete SLC 250 prior to the study abroad experience, but students may choose to enroll in the class upon their return as well.
The Global Leadership minor is designed to provide students with a unique and impactful experience while preparing them to lead in diverse settings. It is offered as a cohort, which is made up of students from NC State as well as students from the partnering institutions. “The cohort style is more immersive and will provide students with a greater understanding of cultures and appreciation for working with individuals who may have a different background and perspective,” said Acker.
Kailea Simmons, a sophomore from Apex, NC, majoring in Business Administration, will be participating in the first cohort of students to pursue the Global Leadership and Team Decision Making minor. Simmons first learned about the minor while taking SLC 250 and instantly knew it was an experience she wanted to participate in. When asked what drew her to the program she noted she had always had a passion for leadership, and even hopes to pursue a career in leadership and leadership development after graduation. She also explained the unique study abroad aspect helped to seal the deal for her. “I have always wanted to study abroad,” said Simmons, “but I wanted to do it while doing something I was passionate about and the minor is a great way to get to do that.” Simmons also explained she is excited to meet new people and learn from her peers. “I love that it is a cohort experience,” she said, “We will be a part of a small group of students and we will work with students from England, Germany, and Prague. I think it will be really interesting to get to learn from other people’s perspectives, especially from people who come from completely different cultural backgrounds than our own.”
Students are also eligible to apply for a merit-based scholarship ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 to help offset some of the cost of the trip. The Spring Study Abroad scholarship and program application deadline will be September 15, 2019. For students interested in learning more about the minor, Acker will be hosting several information sessions in Talley Student Union.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Friday, September 6, 2019
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Monday, September 9, 2019
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Students interested in learning more about the Global Leadership and Team Decision Making minor, course work, and experience may also want to check out the program’s website.