The first group of students in Goshen College’s Master of Arts in Intercultural Leadership program began their coursework on June 2 with an intensive six days of classes.
The program supports the development of the next generation of diversity leaders in the business, government, nonprofit and education sectors. Students will enhance their skills and knowledge about how to lead through making partnerships both within organizations and across a variety of communities.
“This is a very practical, very focused professional degree program,” said Dr. Ross Peterson-Veatch, associate dean, who is co-director of the program along with Dr. Rebecca Hernandez, associate dean of intercultural development and educational partnerships. “We have several students whose companies are helping pay for the costs of the program, and they’re helping take learning back into their organizations immediately.”
The current group is made up of 10 students who range in age from mid-20s to mid-60s and come from a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds. Participants include executive directors of nonprofit organizations, a teacher, a pastor, a city council member and a manager in a global manufacturing company.
The program runs for 18 months, with alternating sessions of six-day in-person meetings and six months of online classes. “We built this program so that people attending it could come from across the country and even from across the world if they wanted to,” Hernandez said. Students are housed on the Goshen College campus during the three six-day sessions, which each include a full day field trip. During the first field trip, students visited five different businesses in a Chicago neighborhood.
The initial courses in the program help students learn skills that prepare them for the capstone project, in which they select a practical issue related to their work life, explore possible ways of solving the problem, implement one of these solutions and examine the results.
“I am excited by the interdisciplinary nature of this class as well as the diversity represented by both faculty and students,” said Kathy Royer, director of adult education and associate director at Horizon Education Alliance, who is a student in the program. “I believe this innovative approach to thinking about leadership will give me skills I can use in my [current] position.”
The next group of students to begin the program will start with a six-day in-person meeting in January 2014, when the original group of students will be meeting in person for the second time.
Applicants for the program must be at least 25 years of age, currently employed and possess a bachelor’s degree.
For more information about the Master of Arts in Intercultural Leadership program, visit www.goshen.edu/adult/mail/.
– By Lauren Stoltzfus