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ExEL: Leadership Development Pillar

Experiential Education and Learning (ExEL) at NSU offers students the opportunity to be exposed to hands on opportunities that will enrich their academic life while helping to reach their personal and professional goals.

One of the options students can choose to earn ExEL units is through Leadership Development. Students can self-determine a current or upcoming leadership position, leadership project, or leadership participation (Leadership Development Experience) to qualify for a unit each academic year. Whether you are in a formal organizational leadership role or you are working on a project to create positive change, by completing this ExEL unit you will enhance your ability to lead on the individual, organizational, and community levels.  The Leadership Pillar provides a framework to reflect upon meaningful and impactful involvements in the student leader’s NSU experience. These opportunities promote engagement, leadership development, and reflective learning.

Student Leadership Core Competencies and Your Designated Experience

The Office of Student Leadership & Civic Engagement, in conjunction with the Office of Campus Life and Student Engagement, and Experiential Education and Learning have developed the Leadership Pillar at NSU to provide a purposeful framework for student leaders at Nova Southeastern University to reflect upon meaningful and impactful involvements in the student leader’s NSU Experience.

The ten competencies below were developed by the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) to developmentally guide students through their experiences to create well-rounded and engaged student leaders for the future.

Throughout your Leadership Development Experience, students will reflect upon these Student Leadership Core Competencies and their growth within these areas as it relates to your leadership and your professional goals. 

Student leaders involved in campus activities should make knowledge-based decisions in regard to resources allocated for the campus programs planned and implemented by their organization. Leaders should possess the ability to effectively evaluate programs as well as assess their campus and community culture. Program evaluations will assure the continued improvement of campus activities and comprehensive assessment will allow campus activities offerings to meet the community development needs of the entire campus

Student leaders engaged in campus activities have a unique opportunity to learn and practice effective event management. Student leaders should strive toward understanding the appropriate steps and issues involved in event planning and management. Some of the most transferable skills are developed and honed in this area such as contract negotiation, program planning and event promotion.

Establishing meaningful interpersonal relationships are critical for successful leadership in campus activities. Student leaders often rely on committee volunteers to carry out the essential tasks related to providing programs and services. The work of campus activities is often supported by several on and off- campus constituencies. Professionalism, diplomacy and recognizing the support of others will enhance organizational effectiveness.

Collaboration involves seeking the involvement of others and working well with people. Student leaders should actively contribute to the achievement of a group goal. They would seek feedback from others and exhibit growth in their skills as a result of working collaboratively.

Student leaders must role model social responsibility at all times, but especially when representing the college/university. On and off campus behaviors should match the values of the organization and institution leaders represent.

Effective communication is a core competency needed by student leaders to ensure organizational achievement of goals. When communication is a focal point of student learning individuals will personally benefit and organizations will be run more efficiently.

Multicultural competency is developed through celebration of diverse cultures, advocacy for the needs and identities of all members within the community, recognition of the diverse communities within the campus community and beyond, education and awareness of the concerns of those diverse communities, and support of the ongoing inclusion, understanding and dignity of all members within and beyond the campus community. Being able to understand one's own identity, as well as recognizing the similarities and differences of others, will equip students to serve and lead as citizens in a global society.

Intellectual Growth is central to the mission of higher education and must be a focus in all endeavors inside and outside the classroom. Campus Activities offers a fertile practice field for intellectual development when student leaders and programmers engage in critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. Student leaders should be cognizant of this learning opportunity and apply knowledge learned to enhance organizational goals and personal development.

Understanding personal and organizational values play a significant role in achieving effective leadership in Campus Activities. Clarified values offer the leader a compass to navigate through a variety of leadership situations and challenges. Student leaders and programmers should reflect and engage in the process of values clarification to enhance personal growth and organizational effectiveness.

Establishing healthy lifestyle habits while in college translates into healthy lifestyle habits after college. Balancing time between school, work, leisure, recreation, and family will help student leaders stay emotionally, physically, and spiritually grounded.

Leadership Development Experience Process

The Leadership Development Experience can be a position, project or participation that a student holds at Nova Southeastern University. The student will work closely with their advisor within this experience in order to verify time served in this role, but also allow for students to make meaning of the experience as it relates to the core competencies.

The more you know before you lead, the more comfortable you will feel throughout your experience. Utilize your NSU Experience to help determine which current or upcoming leadership position, leadership project, or leadership participation you would like to submit for an Experiential Education and Learning Unit.

  • What are my interests? Does this leadership experience fit with your intended field of study or do you want to focus on an experience or initiative that is focused on a personal interest?
  • What are your skills? Certain positions/task will ask that you have a unique skill set. If you have skills that may be valuable to a particular organization/position/task, consider that.
  • Will my experience affect my other commitments? If you are already stretched thin and are worried about whether a leadership position will make it hard to keep up with schoolwork, make sure you consider the time commitment per week as well as the days of need for the intended experience.
  • How does this experience align with my values? There are many leadership opportunities to consider. Your experience should fit within your values system.
  • The Leadership Development Experience must be a minimum of 40 hours of active participation within one academic year
  • Must be a current experience as documented by the completion and approval of this Leadership Development Pillar process. Past participation in leadership positions, projects or participation will not be accepted.
  • Students will have a maximum of (1) academic year to complete service and all requirements outlined in order to receive the ExEL unit designation.
  • Two units may be awarded for a Leadership Development Experience that meets a minimum of 80 hours of active participation in one academic year.
  • The Leadership Development Experience must be reflective of the ten Student Leadership Competencies as outlined above.
  • Complete the ExEL Leadership Development Unit Interest Form on SharkHub.
  • Plan to meet with a SLCE representative to review your interest in the leadership opportunity and review the ExEL requirements.
    • **You are required to meet with a representative PRIOR to beginning your proposed leadership experience.
  • After submitting the interest form you will be contacted by a SLCE representative to review your intended experience and program requirements


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