The Student Leadership Academy (SLA) was created as a one-year bridge program to prepare students entering the College of Nursing & Health Sciences (CNHS) as first-year students or as a change of major. The program evolved from the Student Nurse Leadership Summit in 2018 and follows a successful pilot program in the summer of 2019. In 2021, first-year Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) students were incorporated into the Student Leadership Academy and, thus, are to fulfill the same SLA requirements as their nursing peers.
The academy is designed to address gaps in communication, critical thinking, leadership, professional development, self-care, and team building—all skills required for future nurses, nurse leaders, and medical laboratory scientists on healthcare teams. Using evidence-based practices, the academy will work toward assisting students in creating a professional identity.
Overall, the objective of the academy is to develop character and increase College of Nursing & Health Sciences students’ commitment to high academic and professional standards that will help them to succeed in college and their careers.
In response to COVID-19
Recognizing that continued support for success among CNHS students has never been greater, the current COVID-19 situation requires flexibility in how the Student Leadership Academy is operated. The Student Support Services team is prepared to hold the academy with every necessary safety precaution. Several plans have been created and will be implemented depending on the situation. While all plans are subject to change, all first- and second-year nursing and medical laboratory science students are required to participate in the Student Leadership Academy. Students will be divided into teams of 25-30 and led by a team leader.
This year’s Student Leadership Academy (SLA) will be held prior to the start of the Fall 2022 academic year. Students will participate in various workshops instructed by university and community professionals. In addition, students will receive their academy group and wingman assignments.
Student teams will be led by academy graduates throughout the year as the academy is designed to encourage student leadership with “students leading students.” The wingman will serve as a partner throughout the academy so that students learn to encourage and support each other.
Student leaders will model professional behavior, practice effective communication, maintain positive teamwork, encourage students to meet academic standards, and work with their teams to achieve deadlines before their sophomore year. They provide meaningful opportunities to share their experiences of success and failures in nursing school. Student leaders mirror success by volunteering their time to lead, support, and develop their teams.
Year One Requirements
First-year nursing and medical laboratory students will engage with student support services staff beginning in June before the start of their first year. First-year students will complete a select number of requirements that will prepare them for academy weekend that usually takes place either the weekend before the start of classes OR the weekend after the first week of classes. Those requirements include:
- Completing their intake and assessment packets
- Acknowledging their assigned SLA group via email
- Acknowledging their assigned SSS advisor via email
- Purchasing two books for required academy readings (please note: this requirement is separate from other reading assignments from the College of Nursing & Health Sciences and/or the university)
- Rise by Daniel Rodriquez
- Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
- Complete an APA paper based on the readings to be submitted at academy weekend
Academy Weekend is a two-year long experience that all students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences must complete as part of their educational experience. Academy Weekend consists of 2.5 days where CNHS freshmen are engaged through hand-on activities and workshops that focus on teambuilding, critical thinking, reading comprehension, math and science, and health and safety.
At the conclusion of Academy Weekend, freshmen will be required to participate in academy benchmarks throughout the year that are comprised of class meetings, the wingman experience, meetings with their advisors and student leaders, and participation in academic enrichment activities (i.e. tutoring and workshops that focus on academic success). The total experience will be two years, from the start of year one to the end of year two.