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[Fresh] Fresh@News: Spotlight on Leadership



During this edition of Fresh@News, we will find out more about leadership opportunities on-campus through our interview with DeVon Jackson, Assistant Director of Student Involvement for Leadership Programming.  There are some great new 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?

DeVon Jackson:   The Division of Student Life seeks to develop confident and well-rounded students outside of the classroom. Student Involvement offers programming that provides a holistic approach to student formation through programs, leadership opportunities, and involvement. Through this involvement, students will understand and develop in the areas of cultural competence, servant leadership, social responsibility, a better understanding of self, and compassion to others. 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?

D.J.: 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. The Emerging Leaders Institute 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. Signing up is easy just by visiting Life at VU website. 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, and goal setting.


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?

D.J.: 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 Life at VU website.


Fresh@News: Your office is hosting our 6th Annual Spotlight on Leadership address with featured speaker Darryl Ford, Head of School at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, on Monday, February 8, 2016.  What will he talk with Villanova students about?

D.J.: The theme for our leadership programs this semester is “Servant Leadership in the Augustinian Tradition.” Although St. Augustine did not coin the phrase, servant leadership is an important component of leadership at Villanova.  Ford will highlight his experiences being a servant leader within the education system for over 25 years. He has a seasoned perspective of leadership and is a proponent for being a servant first, exhibiting the idea that leadership begins with being a servant to those that you lead.


Dr. Ford is a graduate of University of Chicago with a Doctorate in Education Administration, Institutional, & Policy Studies. He also is a 1987 graduate of Villanova University with both a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies Education and Bachelors of Arts in Honors. He currently serves as one of Villanova University’s Board of trustee members and is very eager to return to campus and contribute to the development of our students.


We look forward to welcoming Dr. Ford back to Villanova on Monday, February 8th at 4:30pm 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?

D.J.: There are many resources on campus for students seeking leadership opportunities. A good place to start is by visiting our Life at VU 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. Leadership begins when you recognize that you are in service for the other as a Servant Leader. Finally, I am always available to discuss leadership opportunities at Villanova. Any student can stop by my office in 214 Dougherty Hall or can e-mail me at devon.jackson@villanova.edu.




Send a Valentine treat to your son or daughter!  Each bag purchased ($15 each) will be filled with candy and hand-delivered to students in their halls. 


Proceeds support the Service and Justice Experience Program which sends students around the U.S. and abroad to work with community partners to build homes, tutor children, care for the environment and much more.


Order before the 2/5/16 deadline at www.villanova.edu/campusministry/service and click on “Service and Justice Fundraiser” on the right.  




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