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[Fresh] Fresh@News: Leadership Opportunities


During this edition of Fresh@News, we will find out more about leadership opportunities on-campus through our interview with Ralph Gigliotti, Assistant Director of Student Development for Leadership Programs.  There are some great initiatives being developed for freshmen that will benefit the student individually as well as the campus community as a whole.


Fresh@News: Can you explain how leadership development fits into the world of Student Life?

Ralph Gigliotti:   The Division of Student Life seeks to develop confident and well-rounded students outside of the classroom. By getting involved in any of our leadership programs, students are challenged to grow both personally and professionally during their time at Villanova. Grounded in the social change and servant leadership models, all of our leadership programs and opportunities encourage students to take on leadership positions for sincere and earnest reasons: to enact positive change for those around you.   We also work closely with several academic departments on campus to incorporate leadership education inside the classroom. By collaborating with our friends in Academic Affairs, students will be able to develop an expansive understanding of and appreciation for leadership.  I am excited to have this position that allows me to work with many aspiring and current student leaders at Villanova.


Fresh@News: What kind of programs or services do you offer to the students?

R.G.: The office runs many leadership programs and opportunities for undergraduate students at Villanova. We sponsor multiple tracks of the Villanova Leadership Academy in both the fall and spring semesters. In addition to the on-campus leadership series, we often bring in speakers from off-campus to focus on leadership from many different perspectives. Two programs this semester, the Emerging Leaders Institute and the Student Leadership Forum in Washington, DC, bring together a number of offices from across campus to focus on student leadership development. Additionally, we offer Leadership Lunches for current student leaders to enhance their “practical” leadership skills and share best practices with other student leaders. Finally, our office will regularly host workshops and training sessions for leaders of any student organization on a number of different topics including recruitment and retention, transitioning, goal setting, and crisis management.


Fresh@News: Many students at Villanova were involved in their High School.  If a student is looking to get more involved on campus, how can they get started?

R.G.: We are blessed with a dynamic and motivated student body at Villanova. Many students were involved in leadership positions in high school and can often become discouraged when rejected from a club or organization in college. My advice to these students: stay motivated! There is a place for everyone at Villanova. Our office hosts numerous programs for emerging leaders and we are happy to assist you during your leadership journey. I find that many students who are having trouble getting involved on campus either encounter  difficulty during the interview experience, or more often, are not appropriately seeking opportunities across campus that align best with their strengths and personal/professional goals. I am happy to meet with these students at any point in the semester. Looking ahead to the summer, use the time “off” intentionally! For example, if you are applying for Special Olympics in the Fall, perhaps consider volunteering for an organization this summer that serves people with disabilities. Use the summer to develop skills and cultivate experiences that will help you stand out and excel in the interview. More information regarding upcoming leadership programs and workshops can be found on our leadership website.


Fresh@News: Your office is co-sponsoring a talk about leadership by Joseph Clancy, Acting Director of the United States Secret Service, on Wednesday, February 11.  What will he talk with Villanova students about?

R.G.: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson designated Joseph P. Clancy as the Acting Director of the United States Secret Service this past October.   A 27-year veteran of the Secret Service, Joseph P. Clancy was appointed Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division in February 2009. Mr. Clancy held this position until his retirement from the Secret Service in June of 2011. Prior to accepting the position of Acting Director, Mr. Clancy served as the Executive Director of Cable Security at Comcast Corporation.


Mr. Clancy is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Criminal Justice and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Prior to joining the Secret Service, Mr. Clancy worked as a high school teacher and football and baseball coach for the Philadelphia Archdiocese.


We look forward to welcoming Mr. Clancy back to Villanova on Wednesday, February 11 at 4:30 pm in the Villanova Room. Student, faculty, and staff tickets are free, however registration is required at www.villanovatix.com.



Fresh@News: What can parents do to encourage students who are interested in exploring leadership opportunities?

R.G.: There are many resources on campus for students seeking leadership opportunities. A good place to start is by visiting our Office of Leadership Programs website. Students should get involved on campus as a general member of a club or organization. As I often tell students, “leadership is a process and not a position.” Even if you are not “President” of an organization, you can still play a significant leadership role in the life of a club or organization. Finally, I am always available to discuss leadership opportunities at Villanova. Any student can stop by my office in 108 Dougherty Hall or can e-mail me at ralph.gigliotti@villanova.edu.






Looking ahead… The Sophomore Service Learning Community

Current Freshman can apply to Sophomore Service Learning Community (SSLC),  a community of sophomores and upper-class leaders based in Alumni Hall who learn and serve together.  Students come together from all four colleges to study, serve in schools or agencies that serve the poor and engage in meaningful dialogue about social justice in a fourth hour seminar.  Sophomores will be immersed in a community through which they can find passion and purpose, and will gain the knowledge and have the support from one another to make a difference in our world and in each other’s lives.  Applications are due mid-February. For more information, please visit our website: http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/undergrad/resources/servicelearning/community.html




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