(R)Evolution Leadership Program Becomes a Course at Kent State University
The Women’s Center is excited to announce the (R)Evolution Leadership program is officially on the books as a Kent State University Fall 2019 course!
“We started this program because we knew we needed a way to bring students together with their peers and provide networking opportunities with leaders across campus and the community,” shared Women’s Center Director, Cassandra Pegg-Kirby. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), there is a need for women leadership programs. Although women make up more than half of the population, “In universities, businesses and courts, unions, and religious institutions, male leaders outnumber female leaders by wide margins…For women of color, leadership opportunities are particularly elusive.”1
In Fall of 2018, the Women’s Center officially started the (R)Evolution Leadership Program with a class of 16 women who met 8 times during the year to build their leadership skills and use what they learned to impact positive change in their communities. These women represented all different backgrounds, majors, experiences and identities. They were able to come together multiple times a semester as a group, check in on one another and provide encouragement and support. Shakita Van Liew, a PhD student in the program, indicated “The (R)Evolution program for me served as a haven of rest, a safe space/place and a hub of sheer EMPOWERMENT among like-minded women. Although I was the only doctoral student, I never felt like I couldn’t relate. The presenters were relatable and my fellow (R)Evolutionaries were so intelligent, inspiring and passionate.”
As a part of this program, (R)Evolution participants are equipping themselves with the tools and introspection they need to be successful leaders and engaged community members in a complex and ever-changing landscape. Students are taken through a series of leadership modules and develop a capstone project that utilizes the skills they have gained to make a positive impact on the community. First year participant Charisma Lockett describes (R)Evolution as “one of the best things that happened to me. It has allowed me to have the drive that enables me to chase after my dreams and has pushed me to really focus on my overall wellbeing.” She continues by sharing, “I found a group of women, who would genuinely uplift me, encourage me, edify me and motivate me to embrace what it means to be me.”
Through this program, campus and community colleagues utilize their expertise in numerous fields to empower and inspire students. Some of the topics included “Passion to Purpose” with our colleagues at Community Engaged Learning, “Being the Boss over your Finances” led by the University Bursar and the Executive Director of Career Exploration and Development and “Feminism 101” presented by Dr. Suzanne Holt, Director of Women’s Studies at Kent State.
American Association of University Women (2016) Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership. Washington, DC: Hill, C., Miller, K., Benson, K., Handley, G., Birdwhistell, Jill