Excellence Awards recognize the contributions of members who are transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services, and effective administration. NASPA's Excellence Awards cover eleven categories crucial to the success of students. Sharing our successes benefit students, improves institutions, and promotes our profession.
2020 Fraternity and Sorority Life Leadership Student Activities Student Union and related Excellence Award Winner: Hannah Gerken and Texas A&M University
The Maroon & White Leadership Program is a leadership certificate program sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs at Texas A&M University and administered through the Department of Student Activities. This program is designed to guide participants in developing their identity as leaders through engaging in leadership development, education, and training opportunities. Participants of the program are committed to honing skills, developing an appreciation for lifelong learning, and striving to be an engaged citizen post-graduation.
“This program is instrumental in helping students develop as leaders. It is not just about participating in a program and using something on a resume, but it is truly helping students synthesize their leadership experiences into meaningful development as they prepare for life after college.”
- Dr. Summer Odom, Maroon & White Leadership Coach
In order to accomplish the goals of transformational leadership experiences for Texas A&M students, participants have one-on-one leadership coaching that challenges them to reflect on their learning and map their leadership experiences over time. Alongside their coach, participants are able to craft an individualized leadership journey according to their areas of passion and how they would like to grow during their Texas A&M career.
The Leadership Identity Development model serves as the theoretical framework for The Maroon & White Leadership Program. Researchers who developed this model were initially interested in how leadership identity developed over time, “specifically in terms of how one comes to the self-acceptance of knowing one can work effectively with others to accomplish shared goals from any place in an organization—that is, to engage in leadership and see oneself as a leader” (Komives, Lucas and McMahon, 2007).
“When I entered this program, my view of leadership was entirely centered around the position I had and how that would enable me to be a leader. During reflections, my coach pushed me to consider how I could be a leader no matter the situation. I began to see how I could lead across all aspects of my life—as a student worker, in my faith community, with my friends and family, and even through stepping back from a position. For me, this was a shift that occurred over time and was connected to the deep reflection I learned with my coach.”
- Leadership Fellow
While exploring their individual leadership identity, participants learn that no leader can operate in a vacuum. A leader in today’s society must be able to promote and facilitate conversations, concepts, and processes with a variety of different individuals. The program not only helps students discover their personal leadership identity, it also encourages them to be receptive to and understanding of different perspectives and opinions.
Participants are required to complete six leadership experiences in the categories of education, development, and training, and then reflect on each experience with their coach (Allen and Roberts, 2011). The program culminates with a leadership capstone experience, the Leadership Engagement Project. In this final capstone, participants are asked to reflect holistically on their leadership journey and apply their learning to the creation of their own definition and philosophy on leadership. This project works to reinforce the commitment to lifelong learning and growth in leadership.
At this time, The Maroon & White Leadership Program consists of more than 300 leadership fellows and coaches and 134 society members. Fellows have completed reflections on more than 1,025 leadership experiences, 45 study abroad experiences, 62 internships, and 23 undergraduate research projects. Our fellows continue to serve in high-impact leadership positions across the campus and continue to serve as leaders post-graduation.