Pilot Program Created for Sophomores, Emphasizes Leadership

There is a new pilot program on campus!

The Social Change Leadership Program is a ten-week long pilot program made for sophomores, by sophomores, and is designed to build community and foster leadership among sophomores at Reed, all while striving for a positive social impact by Reedies within the greater Portland community. It started with a generous gift from a parent and Reed trustee, and was open to all Sophomores to apply in December ‘22, with a capped acceptance number: 13 applications accepted, and 10 students taking part for the spring ‘23 pilot.

The program is run by Hayden Todd and Marwa Al Khamees, who, in addition to being CLBR professional advisors, are professional curriculum designers, facilitators, and DEI-informed and trained experts. Prior to SCLP during the fall ‘22 semester, they led 4 sophomores/beta builders – Jesse Larsen, Yik Yin Cheuk, Gavin Leonard, and Chris Peng. Administrative staff includes Al Khamees and Todd, Meghan Weiters, data and systems analyst, Karnell McConnell Black, VP for Student Life, and Alice Harra, Associate Dean of students and director of CLBR.

For the 10 sessions of spring semester, Al Khamees facilitates the first half of the program which are the Social Change Leadership sessions, while professional staff Meghan Wieters, Ph.D., and Val Moreno will lead the second half of the sessions which are the business skill development sessions. Todd provides leadership through logistics, project management, and communication during sessions.

In an email interview with them, they described the intricacies of the program: What it is, what it is meant to do, and where the program will go in the future. “SCLP is about cohort learning. Groups of five sophomores work together to solve (or recommend solutions [for]) a real-world problem facing a local business or nonprofit/government institution*, resulting in a positive social impact in the Portland community”

“In addition to professional development, students learn a framework for developing their own leadership skills. Using the social change leadership model (aka 7Cs model) by Komives and Wagner, sophomores reflect on their individual, group, and community values and how those values are linked to the groups and communities they work in.”

According to Al Khamees, “SCLP is in the ‘release candidate’ stage, currently in a 10-week pilot consisting of a 10-session curriculum focused on developing an understanding of social change leadership, working on a local business case, and skill-building in three professional development areas: project management, data visualization, and presentation development.”

So, why the focus on sophomores? Well, in terms of bonding through academic experiences, first-years have Hum, Juniors have quals, and Seniors have their theses. Program directors wanted something for Sophomores to have that was their own. Sophomores also experience a dip in retention at the college. This program hopes to build a stronger sophomore community of learners making a social impact. And, on top of being a beneficial experience, students are eligible for EXEL credit (1 non-academic credit).

Unsurprisingly, student testimony from current SCLP participants is all positive. Hannah Lin ‘25 says, “I really like SCLP so far. To be honest, I was a bit nervous at first but now it feels more like a community and I now enjoy attending every Thursday.” Another student had similar sentiments, saying “I really enjoy SCLP! I feel like I am learning great networking and leadership skills, and enjoy collaborating with my peers every session. Plus, the free dinners don’t hurt” (catered dinner is included during every session).

While already a great program, SCLP is just at the beginning stages of its development and has much room for growth. “It is getting its start as a collaboration between CLBR and Student Life, and we sincerely hope for the expansion of the program in collaboration with many other key partners across the institution, with a goal of expanding the staffing to a much larger group in the Reed community.” Leaders further asserted that, “We hope it is scalable and available to all sophomores in the future as we test and repeat!”

Further hopes for SCLP include it becoming a great tradition and experience for all sophomores, helping sophomores find community at Reed while working together on cool projects, and resulting in positive social impact in the Portland community. This is a unique program in that it provides real experiences to prepare students for future grad schools, fellowships, or job interviews, and will showcase Reed and Reedies to the Portland community. 

Look out for further developments within the program, especially those of you who are current freshman and might benefit from the program in the coming academic year!

*Currently, two local employers are the case studies being worked on by two cohorts of sophomores: Health and Harmony, a nonprofit focused on improving planetary health, and Portland Public Schools (Glencoe Elementary)

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