Leadership Education, Co-Created

Virginia Byrne is Coordinator for Leadership Development and Education in UMBC’s Office of Student Life

This summer I moved to Maryland to join the Office of Student Life staff, and I couldn’t be happier. In my role, I facilitate the creation of experiential and reflective leadership learning opportunities for UMBC students. Partnering with students to create these programs is essential. While I could prepare leadership development activities on my own, students are the best sources of expertise about their own experiences. And learning from experience–making leadership real by locating it in students’ lives on campus and beyond–is crucial if students are going to solve real problems and contribute their communities in ways that make a difference.

LeadingOrgs, November 2012

One of the programs I co-create with students just happened: LeadingOrgs is a weekend retreat for 30 student organization officers that took place this past weekend. You can see more of our fun photos here.

What may be UMBC’s best-known and most popular leadership program created collaboratively by students and staff is STRiVE, for which the application deadline is less than two days away (Thursday, 11/5 at 5:00 p.m.; apply here). Held each January during winter break, STRiVE is a five day, intensive and engaging off-campus leadership retreat for about 50 students. Participants experience thought-provoking hands-on learning activities, facilitated by a team of student and staff coaches. The coaching team spends the four months prior to STRiVE reflecting on previous retreats and tweaking the curriculum to provide a unique experience each year. I think the best way for students to understand why they should apply to STRiVE is to hear it from the coaches themselves:

Contact the author, Virginia Byrne, at vbyrne@umbc.edu.



  1. Reblogged this on Virginia L Byrne and commented:
    Why is it that I’ve forgotten all about my own blog recently? Is it because I’m too busy with my new job? Probably. Is it because I’ve written a blog post for UMBC’s civic agency initiative, Breaking Ground? YES!

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