The university has chosen to focus on developing student leadership skills as part of its efforts toward regional reaccreditation.
Every decade, as part of its regular reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the university is expected to produce a Quality Enhancement Program – known in higher education as the QEP. The chosen QEP this reaccreditation cycle is being called ACU Leads, and it will target helping students in leadership roles across campus develop leadership skills.
ACU Leads will provide training and resources for emerging and elected leaders on campus. Emerging student leaders are those coming into the university who want to be in a leadership position. The goal is to train those students in a way where they can understand what leadership means. The goal for elected leaders is to facilitate growth in their position and with their advisers.
Dr. Chris Riley, associate provost for institutional effectiveness and SACSCOC liaison, said the accreditation and QEP are meant to hold the university accountable.
“The QEP is one of the standards of the overall accreditation,” Riley said. “Accreditation is generally a good thing because it holds us accountable to be able to be successful. There are expectations in order to receive accreditation.”
In 2022, emerging leaders will complete a NSO module as well as a suitable badge completed with workshops, surveys and Chapels. A Wildcat Week speaker also is expected to speak to students about leadership.
Dr. Ryan Richardson, associate vice president of student life said both programs focus on the act of servant leadership.
“ACU Leads is a plan to educate students on leadership when they are entering ACU,” Richardson said. “Then there is a new component who are elected leaders. The emerging leader’s track will be introduced this summer through NSO.”
For elected leaders in 2023, the aim is to have a summer leadership program as well as students making a reflection, resume and a letter to their successor.
“We are specifically targeting just two groups,” Richardson said. “The goal would be that the president of the organization would go through the material then the leadership skills would trickle down in their organization.”
While both tracks won’t start working together until 2023, ACU Leads plans to teach students how to be a leader as soon as possible. Riley said within the next five years, the new QEP is expected to give students a new outlook on student leadership
“Generally, we hope that new program will introduce and establish leadership skills on campus for the next five years,” Riley said.