The MU College of Engineering Leadership, Engagement and Career Development Academy is entering Year 2 with a full crop of freshmen enrollees and some exciting new opportunities for students to continue to develop world-class leadership skills to pair with their cutting-edge engineering abilities.
The Academy had 215 students enroll and 21 graduate with the Dean’s Certificate in Leadership and Engagement in the first year. An influx of freshmen has bumped that number to nearly 600 participants this academic year, and a new point system will allow for greater leadership development as they seek certificates of their own. Students also have the ability to use the Academy’s space in Lafferre Hall to study, hold meetings, utilize computers and more.
“I’m really excited to have so many freshmen and so many who saw the value of it,” Academy Director Mary Paulsell said. “I hope over four years we can get some good data and reactions.”
The goal remains the same: Drive student and employer interaction, build desirable leadership qualities in Mizzou Made engineers and show employers that MU Engineering graduates are both technically capable and well-rounded professionals. To that end, the Academy has two new programs kicking off this fall to help benefit Mizzou Engineering students — the Academy Mentor Program and the Academy Speakers Series.
The Academy Mentor Program, or AMP, will pair students with industry mentors to allow students to have a professional sounding board during their college careers who has traveled a similar path.
“The goal of it is to provide these students with a safe place to fall with any questions or concerns related to professional growth or their plans,” Paulsell explained. “We want them to have a strong relationship with their mentor so if something goes wrong with employment in their job search or they’re getting ready for a big interview and they’re scared to death or need advice on how to handle a challenging class or anything, that there’s another adult out there who’s in their corner.”
The Academy Speaker Series will kick off on Oct. 18 with MU Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement and UM System Chief Engagement Officer Marshall Stewart. These are campus-wide events supported by the MU Parents Leadership Council, and the goal is to have speakers who can share their leadership journeys with students.
Employers see the value in the Academy’s work to build strong future leaders, with many signing on as investors for the Fall 2018 Career Fair, and even more are scheduling campus visits to build recognition and relationships among College of Engineering students. The Academy, in turn, has worked diligently to offer packages and meetings that allow for a full array of activities with both students and faculty.
“Our goal is to broker meetings that include advancement and any faculty related to the company’s discipline and have them talk about industrial relations, opportunities for capstones and things like that,” Paulsell explained. “I hope we become a nexus to get companies to campus, and then everybody in the College can benefit if they want to meet and discuss potential collaborations.
The possibilities for the Academy are endless, but the focus is always the same — how to best meet the needs of Mizzou Engineering students.
“The Academy’s mission is simple: to serve students. Does it add value for the students? Paulsell said. “If it doesn’t support them in some way, enhance their experience here and improve their potential for professional success, it will not become an Academy activity. Our students are our product, and we want to add value to their time at MU in any way we can.