New leadership certificate offers students a COLD option

By Nina Schwinghammer
Sun Star Contributor

Beginning this semester, UAF students acquiring leadership experience while at college will have something tangible to show for it when they hit the job market. That’s the basis for a new certificate program offered by UAF’s Leadership, Involvement, and Volunteer Experience (LIVE) office.

The Co-curricular Opportunities for Leadership Development (COLD) certificate program provides students with structured ‘credits’ that they can apply toward a certificate in leadership skills development. The program is non-academic but it can give the student one more attachment to his or her resume that might give a potential employer another reason to hire.

That will be beneficial for students as they leave college and enter the real world, said Cara Hollingsworth, the director of LIVE. “I think it’s a great way to market yourself and your experience,” she said.

Students often leave college with skills they’ve acquired that aren’t a part of their degree program. Involvement in campus clubs is an example how students might develop leadership skills. “They leave with leadership experience, and that’s not defined in any particular way,” Hollingsworth said. She said that this program will give students a way to quantize something that is very valuable, but often intangible.

The COLD program has three levels of achievement with certificates offered at each level. The steps are meant to be progressive, with each certificate a prerequisite for the next higher level. Students earn credits at each level by participating in seminars, workshops or community service events. Hollingsworth said that the response to the program has been good so far. “As of yet, no students have completed a certificate, but there are students enrolled,” she said.

Even going on an Outdoor Adventures ski trip or attending a concert can qualify. The structure of the program isn’t fixed to specific requirements. It’s meant to include as many different types of leadership experience as possible. “… It’s flexible, individualized and really helps students with what they’re looking for in leadership,” said Hollingsworth.

Some of the COLD-qualifying events coming up include the “Lead to Read” book club program and the Alternative Spring Break trip to Arctic Village.

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