The Social Change Model of Leadership Development
“Higher education has a vital role to play in educating each new generation of leaders. Effective leadership is an especially acute issue in modern American society; given its increasing complexity and the fluidity and its myriad social, economic, political and educational problems. These problems and pressures faced by our institutions call particularly for transformational leadership. The diversity of people and institutions in higher education provide us with the challenge and the opportunity to expand our notions about leadership and its development based on a model embedded in values and collective action.” Source: Astin, A. & Astin, H., 1996, p. 16
This is why the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life at the University of Pennsylvania has chosen the Social Change Model of Leadership Development as our framework for learning and development.
Change is the “hub” of the Social Change Model of Leadership Development and focuses on making “a better world and a better society for self and others”. At the simplest level, change is a shift or move to something different. It can occur suddenly or over a long period and can occur both intentionally and unintentionally. Becoming a change agent involves understanding that change is a process that typically involved active or passive resistance that can be transformed through the “7 C’s”.
Understanding the definition of each of the “7 Cs” in the Social Change Model of Leadership Development is important in applying the learning outcomes to programs and initiatives.
Consciousness of Self means being aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action. A person with a highly developed capacity for consciousness of self not only has a reasonably accurate self-concept but also is good observers of their own behavior and state of mind at any given time. Consciousness of self is a fundamental value in the Social Change Model of Leadership because it constitutes the necessary condition for realizing all the other values in the model.
Congruence refers to thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty toward others. Congruent persons are those whose actions are consistent with their most deeply-held beliefs and convictions. Clearly, personal congruence and consciousness of self are interdependent.
Commitment is the psychic energy that motivates the individual to serve and that drives the collective effort. Commitment implies passion, intensity, and duration. It is directed toward both the group activity as well as its intended outcomes. Without commitment, knowledge of self is of little value. And without adequate knowledge of self, commitment is easily misdirected. Congruence, in turn, is most readily achieved when the person acts with commitment and knowledge of self.
Collaboration is to work with others in a common effort. It constitutes the cornerstone value of the group leadership effort because it empowers self and others through trust. Collaboration multiplies group effectiveness by capitalizing on the multiple talents and perspectives of each group member and on the power of that diversity to generate creative solutions and actions. Collaboration empowers each individual best when there is a clear-cut “division of labor.”
Common Purpose means to work with shared aims and values. It facilitates the group’s ability to engage in collective analysis of the issues at hand and the task to be undertaken. Common purpose is best achieved when all members of the group share in the vision and participate actively in articulating the purpose and goals of the leadership development activity. Recognizing the common purpose and mission of the group helps to generate the high level of trust that any successful collaboration requires.
Controversy with Civility recognizes two fundamental realities of any creative group effort: that differences in viewpoint are inevitable, and that such differences must be aired openly but with civility. Civility implies respect for others, a willingness to hear each other’s views, and the exercise of restraint in criticizing the views and actions of others. This is best achieved in a collaborative framework and when a common purpose has been identified. Controversy (conflict, confrontation) can often lead to new, creative solutions to problems, especially when it occurs in an atmosphere of civility, collaboration, and common purpose.
Citizenship is the process whereby the individual and the collaborative group become responsibly connected to the community and the society through the leadership development activity. To be a good citizen is to work for positive change on behalf of others and the community. Citizenship thus acknowledges the interdependence of all who are involved in or affected by these efforts. It recognizes that the common purpose of the group must incorporate a sense of concern for the rights and welfare of all those who might be affected by the group’s efforts. Good citizenship thus recognizes that effective democracy involves individual responsibility as well as individual rights.
Foundational Learning Outcomes
The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life’s foundation is to enhance student’s co-curricular learning and development at the University of Pennsylvania. Our program is deliberate in discerning and designing the learning opportunities available to members of our community. Our programs build relationships among students aimed to address the evolving needs of our diverse student community. We promote student health and wellness with programs to provide compass for better decision-making. Our programs make an impact by encouraging local and global engagement. Our vanguard approach to student learning aims at achieving the following outcomes:
Students will explore their consciousness of self, developing awareness of the values, emotions, and beliefs that shape one’s perceptions and interactions with others.
Students will reflect and encourage consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty in their on their thoughts, feelings, and actions toward others.
Students will explore their passions, and work towards pursuing them with intensity and duration.
Students will participate in diverse groups that capitalize on the multiple talents and perspectives to generate creative solutions and actions.
Students will identify a common set of aims and values that their groups share.
Students will learn to address controversy with civility, discussing difference in viewpoints openly with respect and courtesy.
Students will reflect on their understanding of connectedness, encourage active engagement and social responsibility in an effort to serve the community.
The Fraternal Leaders Summit, or “Summit” for short, is a two-day overnight retreat for chapter presidents and council leadership. Summit happens each year at the beginning of the fall semester. Students participate in large group activities and discussions led by university partners and engage in small group discussions led by OFSL Advisors/Staff. Each session focuses on one of the 7 C’s of the Social Change Model for Leadership Development with the goal of developing these skills in an effort to create change in the community.
Presidents’ Series is a monthly meeting for all chapter and council presidents. The series focuses on the Group values in the Social Change Model for Leadership Development, helping students identify common purpose, cultivate collaboration and practice civility. During these meetings, students have the opportunity to learn from one another, discuss challenges and current events, and hear about campus resources.
The Rising Leaders Program is a five-week course with weekly meetings and reflections for sophomores. This program focuses on the Individual values in the Social Change Model for Leadership Development, helping students pursue self-understanding, promote congruence, and practice commitment. During this course, students will engage with Order of Omega mentors, hear from campus partners, reflect on readings, podcasts, and ted talks through discussions and assignments. Participants who graduate from the program receive recognition and are eligible for the Order of Omega Rising Leader award.
Council Retreat this year is a two-day retreat for governing council executive boards. The Council Retreat happens each year at the beginning of the spring semester, when new officers take their positions. This retreat focuses on the Group values in the Social Change Model for Leadership Development, helping students identify common purpose, cultivate collaboration and practice civility. Students will be able to put the skills and relationships built at the retreat to work throughout the year during their council meetings, programs, and joint efforts.
The Diversity and Inclusion Board (DIB) Cultural Competency Retreat is a two-day retreat for students led by students. This program focuses on the Community value in the Social Change Model for Leadership Development, helping students promote citizenship. The curriculum aims at developing social responsibility and an understanding of connectedness. Through dialogues focused around the role of diversity, stressing structural approaches to understanding concepts behind inclusivity. Participants who graduate from the program receive recognition at the OFSL end of the year awards ceremony.
Officer Series is a meeting each month for a different chapter and council officer. Each meeting in the series focuses on one of the C’s from the Social Change Model for Leadership Development as it relates to the skills for the specific officer. This is an opportunity to learn from one another, discuss challenges and current events, and hear about campus resources.
The House Manager Program is a year-round development of chapter house managers through trainings and meetings. These programs introduce the values in the Social Change Model for Leadership Development to students. The trainings, held at the beginning of the year, provide a foundation for the officer and identify campus resources specific to their role. Monthly meetings are an additional opportunity to cultivate collaboration and expand on the development to identify common purpose and practice civility.
For more information about the Social Change Model of Leadership Development at OFSL, please contact our Director for Leadership & Experiential Learning, Jessica Ryan.