The Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program was listed as one of University Business magazine’s Winter 2016 Models of Excellence. Besides Geneseo, seven other colleges and universities were also recognized. University Business is a magazine directed to senior college and university administrators, according to an article on Geneseo’s website. The magazine reaches as many as 75,000 school officials across the country.
Associate Dean of Leadership and Service and Director of the GOLD program Thomas Matthews spoke about the process that led Geneseo to enter award contention.
“They had some award categories that Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Gail Glover called to our attention and [Glover] suggested that we should apply for the award,” he said. “Awards don’t hurt, they are obviously helpful, so we did submit an application and we were accepted. I would put it in the category of a prestigious award since it’s limited, and I think a lot of colleges and universities belong to the association, so that’s a lot of reach for the recognition.”
Matthews said he was unsure of how many schools Geneseo was competing against for the honor, and he explained that when applying for awards the college typically does not know the number of competitors.
GOLD Office Manager and communication major junior Sarah Jane Phillips expressed her appreciation for University Business’s recognition of Geneseo’s GOLD program.
“It’s great after a whole semester with a lot of work and a lot of planning to know that other people are recognizing GOLD, too. I think that was the biggest thing that I really took away from this recognition: that other people see how great this is,” she said. “We have made a lot of improvements over the past semester in fixing things and increasing adjustability for students to attend more workshops and making it more flexible to help the campus out.”
University of Pittsburgh, Moravian College, Seton Hill University, Northwood University, Washburn University, Bossier Parish Community College and Westchester Community College were additionally recognized for their programs. The Models of Excellence were chosen based on whether or not higher education institutions have “implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success,” according to University Business’s website.
Matthews explained what he thought the magazine might have seen in Geneseo’s GOLD program in particular.
“They were looking for programs that help students succeed in college. We offer an incredible amount of opportunities for students to learn skills and knowledge,” he said. “We have huge numbers of participants and we offer programs really every weekday. It’s accessible to anyone and they can take anything they want to take any time it’s offered.”
Phillips believes the GOLD program is unique in its ability to provide leadership opportunities throughout the year for students.
“Within my own position, I’ve met different leadership programs and seen different leadership programs from all across the country at different colleges and universities,” she said. “There’s nothing I’ve ever seen that’s exactly like the GOLD program. There’s other programs that have a few small workshops, but there’s never something that gives a continual ability for students to really better themselves.”
Matthew hopes this award will help students recognize the skills they can acquire by participating in the GOLD program.
“This is a fresh new look and a fresh new award that hopefully students appreciate as something their college offers them,” he said. “A lot of colleges do offer leadership programs, but a lot of them are exclusive. There’s no election or selection process for this, and that’s what I think is a little bit different from all of the other programs out there.”