The Charger Blog

First-Year Students Learn how to BUILD Leadership Skills

An innovative program taught as part of the University’s Competency Learning Experience, the “Beginners Understanding of Individual Leadership Development” (BUILD) program teaches students the principles of leadership and how to understand and develop their own leadership style.

August 13, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of BUILD group
First-year students in the University’s BUILD program improve their understanding of leadership.

When speaking to her classmates about what makes an effective leader, Paige Niswonger ’22 discussed the importance of teamwork. A national security major, she and her groupmates participating in the University’s “Beginners Understanding of Individual Leadership Development” (BUILD) program cited the elite SEAL Team Six, the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, as one that exemplifies the virtues of teamwork.

“My favorite part about this class was developing an understanding of where my leadership style comes from and how I can improve it,” said Niswonger, a national security major. “The class creates a strong knowledge base, enabling me to develop my leadership and teamwork skills.”

"This course taught me how to be a better person and a team player. To be a good leader, you must be a team player."Sofia Martinez ’22

Offered to first-year students, the course explores basic leadership concepts and theory through the six abilities instilled through the University’s Competency Learning Experience: leadership, communication, resilience, teamwork, global and cultural awareness, and critical thinking.

“I like that the class was engaging, and it broadened my perspective,” said Kamya Moultry ’22, a national security major. “It was not a typical classroom setting.”

Andrew Mayer, the University’s associate director for leadership development, teaches the course, spending two weeks on each competency. The final presentations focused on the importance of the capabilities as essential skills for effective leaders.

Through class discussions, case studies, and interactive assignments, students improve their understanding of leadership, enabling them to become better leaders.

“The biggest takeaway for me was that you can always improve yourself,” said Sofia Martinez ’22, a psychology major. “This course taught me how to be a better person and a team player. To be a good leader, you must be a team player.”