Pomona Launches Leadership Program

Pomona College is launching its 4/7 Leadership Program this semester after several years of planning to provide students with leadership development opportunities tailored to their interests.

“We’ve heard certain feedback from various sources that students are interested in learning how to tell their stories better, and I think this is a great opportunity for them to be able to think about what they’ve built and how they can articulate that,” said Chris Waugh, Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Smith Campus Center (SCC).

The 4/7 Leadership Program offers three certificates in leadership: Individual Leadership, Group Leadership, and Values-Based Leadership. Only the Individual Leadership certificate will be offered this year. The Group Leadership certificate will be made available next year, and the Values-Based Leadership certificate the year after.

To obtain each certificate, students must meet specific requirements, which include attending a certain number of qualifying workshops. The workshops are not limited to those offered by the 4/7 Leadership Program, according to Associate Director for the SCC Ellie Ash-Balá.

“If you are into being an OA [Orientation Adventure] leader, the different workshops you can do to build your practical competence might look like you’ll do a wilderness first-aid workshop, which would count toward your competency categorical," she said. "Or if you’re already really passionate about the work that the Draper Center’s doing, there are things that you might already be doing that would give you credit in the leadership program.” 

Waugh started a similar program at the institution he worked for before coming to Pomona in 2011. When he arrived at Pomona, he found that Associate Dean of Students for Student Development and Leadership Daren Mooko already had started putting together a leadership program based on the conceptual framework of the University of California, Los Angeles Aston Group’s Social Change Model.

“I was excited that there was an interest, and actually, work had already been done to get a program like that going here,” Waugh said. “The idea was born from the notion that students need more time practicing in thinking about their narrative and path and articulating that well."

Waugh and Ash-Balá began working on the program after it was moved to the SCC by talking with students about the Social Change Model, which is based on seven “C” principles: collaboration, consciousness of self, commitment, congruence, common purpose, controversy with civility, and citizenship.

Associated Students of Pomona College President Darrell Jones III PO '14 sat in on the initial focus group when Waugh and Ash-Balá introduced the program a year ago. 

“I’m a firm believer that leadership takes place in informal settings and is cultivated through lived experiences and wisdom gained from folks who are wiser than yourself,” Jones said. “I would only hope that folks take this program as a supplement to their overall character development, which I believe is at the core of leadership development.” 

“There's a debate that a leader doesn't need a certificate to be able to lead … However, I do think that a certificate helps when adding it to our resume," wrote Sergio Rodriguez PO ’16, who attended one of the information sessions, in an e-mail to TSL. "It's a more professional way of demonstrating why you chose to participate in a particular organization.”

Rodriguez said he plans to register for the program soon. 

“I am super excited to do the training (the different talks about topics gender, race, class, etc.),” he wrote. “This makes me want to be more productive and spend my time more efficiently.” 

Waugh and Ash-Balá emphasized that the program should not increase students’ workload.

“We’re harnessing what’s already happening and giving it some structure and giving students opportunities at different points in their experience to step back and reflect on the learning and how it’s related to coursework, how it relates to thoughts about life after Pomona, but also how it relates to their life here [on campus],” Waugh said. 

While the program was designed for Pomona students, Waugh and Ash-Balá said that interested students from the other 5Cs may participate.

Additional information sessions about the program will be held Oct. 10 at noon and 4 p.m. in the SCC, and Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. in Rose Hills Theatre.