Experiential Leadership Curriculum
The Experiential Leadership Curriculum is the classroom and Outdoor Week component of the Experiential Leadership Program at Wyoming Catholic College. Running every semester beginning with a student's sophomore year at WCC, its goal is the development of leadership skills within each individual student by means of both develop leadership by analyzing various leadership theories and models as well as practically applying them through experience in leading backcountry outdoor trips. Further projects spaced throughout the sequence, including the Junior Leadership Project and the Senior Service Project as well as assistance with developing resumes and cover-letters and preparing for and practicing for interviews act to help further develop a student's practical skills.
Following the solely outdoors components of the Experiential Leadership Program that take place during a student's freshman year: the Freshman Expedition and Winter Trip comes a "mixed-mode" curriculum including both outdoor experiences and in-classroom work. During the Fall and Spring semesters during the sophomore, junior and senior years each student takes a 1 credit course. This course has two elements that involve the practical and theoretical components. Seven classes are devoted to the Outdoor Weeks and six classes each semester are devoted to in-class leadership curriculum. While the outdoors provides hands-on experience in leadership, the classroom provides leadership theory, models, and more.
- Main article: Outdoor Week
Every year each student (sophomore, junior and senior) is required to plan, prepare, participate, and debrief in a minimum of 2 Outdoor Week Trips. The 2 Outdoor Week trips fulfill the requirement of 1 weeklong trip per semester in conjunction with the 1 credit course each semester. The time spent preparing for and participating on the weeklong trip replaces classroom time for the overall 1 credit course. In order to accommodate students’ varying schedules, students can choose any 2 of the 5 offered trip times throughout the year which include: : in August prior to matriculation, during Fall Break, in January prior to the Spring semester, during Spring Break and in May immediately following commencement. Each trip will fulfill the weeklong trip required for each semester and the grade received for the work put into the trip will contribute to the overall grade for the semester long ELP course.
The classroom component will further develop leadership by analyzing various leadership theories and models. These leadership fundamentals are then utilized and practiced during the various leadership opportunities each student has at WCC throughout their daily life, work-study positions, the weeklong trips, and any other leadership opportunity in and out of school. The classroom component is designed to enhance the hands-on experience each student receives during the Outdoor Weeks and more. While hands-on experience is imperative to learn and practice leadership skills, understanding leadership fundamentals and theories will further improve every student’s leadership. While the Outdoor Weeks value has a lot to do with each student’s personal willingness to improve and learn from successes and mistakes, ”the more you put into it the more you will get out of it”, the classroom component does provide a baseline of information that is taught to every student. Knowing these theories and models will provide a huge advantage in the future when applying for jobs and stepping up in leadership roles down the road. In addition, the classroom component of the ELP also focuses on career development. For example, students will have the opportunity to investigate what career path they may want to pursue, develop a resume, explore internship opportunities, graduate school, job searching, practice interviewing face to face, and more.
The Experiential Leadership Curriculum runs from a student's sophomore through their senior year as the ELP201, ELP202, ELP301, ELP302, ELP401, and ELP402 courses. Each semester constitutes a one-credit course meeting about once a week along with graded work in preparation for and during the Outdoor Week trips.
- ELP Binder (in the process of being phased out)
- Reading Packets (one per semester including various articles, summaries on leadership models, charts and graphs, and other assorted readable materials)