Leadership can be taught and learned
Natalia developed a new course teaching undergraduate students how to be inclusive and effective leaders
In the Fall of 2021, Natalia developed an entirely new course that teaches undergraduate students how to be inclusive and effective leaders. The purpose of the course was to give students practical and actionable skills they could use in the workplace and in their everyday lives. Inspired by the teachings of Brené Brown in her book, Dare to Lead, Natalia created a course covering engineering ethics, giving and receiving feedback, identifying and living personal values, building trust, having difficult conversations, and learning to rise following failure. The very first class started with the students discussing what they needed from each other and their instructor, Natalia, to feel comfortable and be successful in the class. Some of the community guidelines they came up with included having a judgement-free zone, outlining clear expectations, celebrating small victories, and assuming others are doing the best they can with the resources they have. From the first class on, it was established that the classroom was a safe space to discuss tough topics and try new things. Students gathered in Olin Hall every Thursday afternoon to learn and practice these new skills, discuss with each other in small groups, and hear from leaders in industry.
The course will be taught again in the Fall and is open to all students. In the words of one of the industry guest speakers, “practice makes permanent,” and this course provides a safe space for students to develop and practice their leadership skills.
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