Scotties Lead: How Agnes Scott Is Educating Tomorrow's Global Leaders

Growing leaders has always been a critical part of Agnes Scott College’s mission, and the college has demonstrated a strong commitment to making leadership an integral part of students’ education. Since the launch of SUMMIT, there has been a strategic, intentional approach to developing essential skills in students that will prepare them to become the passionate and purposeful global leaders the world needs. It is key that this seed for leadership growth is planted from the moment they begin their educational journey at Agnes Scott.

The first lessons in leadership begin each August, coming right after orientation, when all members of the incoming class participate in Legacy: The Goizueta Foundation Leadership Immersion Program— a two-day immersive, experiential leadership developmentscotties_listening-station.jpg program. During Legacy, new Scotties assess their leadership strengths, take on group problem-solving activities and consider how leadership fits into the global environment.

“A legacy is about making your mark and leaving a place better than you found it,” says Honi Migdol, associate dean for integrative leadership and SUMMIT co-curricular programs. “We named this program Legacy because we want new students to start thinking right away about how they will create their legacies at Agnes Scott and out in the world.”

The objective is for students to learn how to be leaders in a global society. In support of this learning, the college has identified five essential leadership skills that are introduced and reinforced throughout students’ time at Agnes Scott: critical thinking, digital literacy, public speaking, teamwork and writing.

“These are valuable life skills to have,” Migdol notes. “We are educating our students to be thoughtful, involved and engaged global citizens.”

As part of SUMMIT, which is the cornerstone of this education, students are required to take a total of four classes—two each semester— in leadership and global learning during their first year. Students can choose from a variety of classes designed to give them foundational leadership skills as well as an overview of global learning.

We have intentionally integrated leadership into the curriculum. In these classes, students are learning necessary, transferable skills that foster leadership development and global learning through the lenses of various disciplines within the liberal arts,” says Migdol. “They are studying issues that plague a region, and then they will go to a city or country as a class in the spring semester for their Global Journey course. This real-world experience reinforces everything they have learned in the classroom.”

Beyond the classroom, Agnes Scott has developed a number of co-curricular programs to help students strengthen their leadership skills from their first year through graduation, with most of these programs planned and hosted by the college’s Gué Pardue Hudson Center for Leadership and Service, which was established in 2016.

“The purpose of the center is to provide a myriad of opportunities for leadership and diverse experiences based on students’ needs,” says Karen Goff, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “It becomes the hub to find those leadership opportunities, both big and small.”

honi_karen3.jpgIn addition to offering a number of workshops and service projects for students, the center also hosts programming, including:

  • Legacy Leaders Program – a three-year, cohort-based leadership development program that helps students further develop their leadership skills.
  • Insight – an intensive, weekend-long retreat that helps students identify their own leadership qualities and develop a strong sense of self.
  • Peak Week – a weeklong conference-like program for upper-class students to further develop their skills in digital literacy, leadership, diversity, service and global learning.

This all-encompassing approach to cultivating the global leaders of tomorrow sets Agnes Scott apart from other women’s colleges.

“We’re hoping to make Agnes Scott distinctive among the other colleges,” says Migdol. “We want students to be excited and proud of their experiences: we want them to be equipped with what they need to go out and change the world.”

“I hope we become a model in higher education in terms of excellence in leadership,” adds Goff. “We’ve set a high standard, and other schools can learn from our programs.”

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.