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 Tuesday, November 14, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Residential Academic Program Spotlight - Chancellor's Leadership RAP
By Corey Jones, sophomore, Journalism

Residential Academic Programs (RAPS) can be found in residence halls all across campus, connecting diverse students with similar interests while promoting extensive understanding in a vast range of subject areas. In this series, we explore these innovative programs that provide many undergraduates with close social and intellectual communities and shared learning and living experiences. Part two of this series features the Chancellor's Leadership Residential Academic Program.

The Chancellor's Leadership RAP at Williams Village provides a living and learning community for students with an interest in leadership development and practice. The first-year program is unique in that students pursue one of two academic tracks: the Service Initiative (SI) or the Ethnic Living and Learning Community (ELLC).

"The entire program is really open to students who are interested in exploring concepts around culturally competent leadership, community building, and service leadership," said Loretta Wahl, ELLC Program Coordinator.

Each track offers leadership courses and a field practicum, which support the development of culturally competent leadership, allowing participants to better understand and appreciate cultural differences between groups. The RAP also offers Arts and Sciences core courses.

"It is nice for students to have this smaller community," said Carol Miyagishima, director of CLR and a course instructor for the program. "Students get the chance to know the instructor and to really dialogue with their classmates, that adds a level of comfort in discussing challenging leadership issues."

"When you live together, you start caring about each other," said Jenni Vien, a sophomore who began her involvement with ELLC last year. "You're going to want the best for them, so obviously you're going to push them."

The SI track focuses on the practice of civic responsibility and service. "The field practicum is around social movement and social change," explained Miyagishima.

The ELLC offers a supportive multicultural learning community. "Practicum is designed to provide students with a common experience that promotes intentional multicultural community building and to provide a space to practice leadership from a multicultural and global perspective," said Wahl. The ELLC program is also a member of CU's Leadership, Excellence, Achievement and Diversity Alliance.

"The program helped me grow a lot last year," explained Vien. "ELLC offered a support system that I really needed in order to stay on this campus because the environment really tested my character at times."

Both programs offer retreats, service projects and volunteer opportunities, giving students the opportunity to engage in many types of communities and practice social and civic responsibility. Students have worked with organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, Boulder County Safehouse, and food banks. Last year, ELLC students traveled to New Orleans to help with the rebuilding process following Hurricane Katrina. The program also adopted a creek behind Williams Village, an area that members clean consistently.

"The weekend retreats are also great because you really get to know the other members," explained Vien. "There are many students in the program, so going on a retreat is a nice opportunity to open up on a personal level."

Students in both tracks are also invited to work towards a Certificate in the Study and Practice of Leadership as a part of their undergraduate degree program at CU-Boulder. CLR alumni can also return to work as classroom assistants, while many past participants advance into other larger roles on campus by becoming a part of important organizations.

"Our students are out there, and they are involved," said Wahl. "They are really making a difference by taking what they have learned in the program and extending that out to the entire campus."

For more information, visit the Chancellor's Leadership RAP website.

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