Academic journal article ABNF Journal

My Journey through Project LEAD

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

My Journey through Project LEAD

Article excerpt

Abstract: The author described valuable skills learned as a Project LEAD Fellow that enhanced her leadership and professional development and helped her become a more effective leader at her home institution. Leadership concepts and principles learned from Project LEAD workshops were implemented by the author as she collaborated with faculty to redesign the nursing curriculum to address multiple initiatives in the university and School of Nursing. The author shares insights on the use of leadership principles derived from the Project LEAD model developed by Bessent and Fleming (2003) and other noted Project LEAD consultants and discusses how these leadership principles provided guidance in the design and implementation of strategies to enhance students' outcomes in a newly created time-intensive scheduling format.

Key Words: African American Nurse Faculty, Black Nursing Faculty, Black Nurse Administrator, Project LEAD, Delivery Format, Bessent, Fleming, Bolman

The Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) Project provided experiences that have been valuable in enriching my leadership skills and enhancing my professional development. As a LEAD Fellow, I gained knowledge and insights from each workshop that I attended. More importantly, I was able to take the ideas and strategies learned from the workshop consultants and implement many of them at my home institution. My journey through Project LEAD can be best illustrated by the project that I started and completed as a LEAD fellow. The following is a description of my LEAD Project.

During the Fall of 2003, Spalding University, a small private institution, made a significant change in the delivery format used to teach its undergraduate programs. The traditional 15-week semester format was changed to a series of 6-week sessions. In this format, classes were offered in seven 6-week sessions per year, with students typically taking two classes per session. The university president supported this dramatic scheduling change and reported to the faculty, staff, and students that the change was vital if the university was to remain fiscally solvent. The president further explained that the 6-week format would make it possible for students to attend school year-round and graduate in three years instead of four. This new format offered students the opportunity to graduate early and enroll and begin college during any of the seven sessions. These prospects were seen as attractive marketing tools to increase student enrollment.

During the same time period, the School of Nursing implemented two important program initiatives. The first involved implementation of an upper-division nursing program. Previously, students admitted to the program, completed one. year of science and liberal arts studies and then completed the remaining liberal arts studies along with nursing courses (one-plus-three program). The implementation of the upper-division program required that for the first two years of college, students complete most of the liberal arts studies, science, and support courses prior to admission to the nursing program. Students would be admitted to the nursing program in the third year and focus primarily on taking nursing major courses (two-plus-two program).

The second initiative involved the implementation of a 13-month accelerated or fast track program for students who already held a bachelor's degree in another field. These initiatives, needless to say, had a significant impact on the undergraduate nursing curriculum. The faculty was challenged to revise the curriculum to meet the needs of two very distinct student cohorts: the traditional student enrolled in the two-plus-two upper-division program and the accelerated or fast track student. Additionally, faculty had to redesign clinical courses for delivery within the university mandated 6-week sessions. As director of the undergraduate baccalaureate program, I viewed these initiatives as challenges as well as opportunities to transform the nursing curriculum while maintaining program quality. …

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