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College Launches Student Leadership Institute

Aug. 15, 2011 – The college launched a new program in fall 2010 to develop leadership abilities in some of its top undergraduate students to help prepare them as future leaders in managing natural resources for sustainability and biodiversity. Twelve students were chosen for the inaugural class of the Leadership Institute, a two-semester special study sequence in which select students with demonstrated leadership skills and academic ability strengthen their talents through in-class discussion and hands-on leadership projects. Through this unique program, students explore aspects of natural resources leadership such as service learning, profit motives in natural resources management, teamwork, and success in the political arena.

“We are mentoring our best and brightest students so they can be well prepared to lead private and government organizations someday — managing, protecting, and utilizing our natural resources,” said Associate Professor Steve McMullin, who directs the institute.

The students visited Charlottesville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C., with McMullin and Dean Paul Winistorfer during a weeklong trip in January to meet with elected officials, state and federal agency heads, and non-governmental organization directors to hear firsthand about the issues and challenges leaders face. “I could not have been more pleased with how our students interacted with state and national leaders during this week of experiential learning,” said Winistorfer, who loved his week with the students. “It exceeded all of our expectations, as well as strengthened and built relationships with the organizations we visited.” Senior wildlife science major Kathy Hixson added, “It was a refreshing experience to meet with natural resources professionals who are still passionate about the field even 20 or 30 years into their career.”

In the spring semester, students worked on service learning projects such as creating a recruitment video for the college, organizing student participation for the Big Event service weekend, and developing and delivering environmental education programs for Montgomery County schools. “The first year of the Leadership Institute was a rewarding and challenging experience for both students and instructors,” reported McMullin. “Associate Director Brian Bond and I are looking forward to making it an even better experience in the coming year.”

“We are well on track to reach the vision we have for this program,” Dean Winistorfer noted. “Our hope is that the Leadership Institute will become a signature program of the college that is widely recognized.”

Generous donations enabled the college to quickly start up this critical program and will ensure its continued success. Major donors include Frank and Susan Boucek of Naples, Fla., Guy and Katherine Crane of Chicago, Ill., Jon DeHaan of Naples, Fla., the Donohue Family Foundation of Pittsburgh, Pa., Bob Garst of Roanoke, Va., Bob Hagler of Leesburg, Va., William Lee of Williamsburg, Va., and institute director Steve McMullin of Radford, Va.

    CNRE Newsmagazine Summer 2011 Cover

Summer 2011

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Celebrating 25 Years

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