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Mother Seton Statue in the Spring

Servant Leadership Distinction Award TESOL Program

The ideal of servant leadership is central to the mission of Seton Hall University. From the mission statement, servant leaders are “those whose leadership consists of serving the needs of others - not service to others in addition to leadership, but service that is part and parcel of leadership”. Consistent with the university mission, the TESOL program encourages educators to explore what servant leadership means for them in the context of ESL/Bilingual education in New Jersey K-12 schooling. The Servant Leadership Distinction Award once yearly recognizes those TESOL students and alumni who have demonstrated servant leadership in the field of K-12 ESL/Bilingual education in the past academic year. All TESOL students and alumni are invited to apply for the award each year. The award is not a requirement for graduation nor is it a course assignment. Participation is entirely voluntary.

To be considered for the award, TESOL students/alumni prepare a brief narrative statement of around 1000 words in which they address the following: (a) define servant leadership in the context of ESL/Bilingual Education in New Jersey, (b) describe personal efforts toward servant leadership in the service of ESL/Bilingual Education in New Jersey, and (c) describe the value of servant leadership to the field of ESL/Bilingual Education (i.e., why does it matter?).

What kind of projects qualify for the Servant Leadership Distinction Award?
There are no set boundaries on what can and cannot count. The projects may be small or large in scale. They may address a variety of audiences and stakeholders. They may involve a single incident or a series of incidents over time. Some simple potential examples are the following: (1) working directly with teacher colleagues to gain EL student equal inclusion in school-wide student events; (2) facilitating constructive dialogue spaces for the parents/guardians of EL students and school faculty/administration; or (3) directly coaching EL students to self-advocate inside and outside the classroom. The possibilities are only limited by the creativity and initiative of our TESOL program students and alumni.

How do I apply for the award?
Submit your narrative statement as a digital document (e.g., docx, pdf) via email to the TESOL program director at Please include “Servant Leadership Distinction Award” in the subject heading. Artifacts to accompany the narrative (e.g., visuals, handouts, etc.) are also welcomed but not required. You may also submit in paper form directly to the Department of Educational Studies (Jubilee Hall, 4F). For full consideration of your application, please submit prior to March 1st each academic year.

How will my application be evaluated?
An evaluation committee is formed each year to evaluate award submissions. The committee is comprised of at least the program director, one adjunct program faculty member, and one more individual internal/external to the university who has experience working with English Learners. Each committee member submits their rating, and the ratings are averaged. An average rating of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale earns the distinction award. There is no limit to the number of distinction awards that may be granted each academic year. Generally, the evaluation process takes 2-3 weeks. Applicants for the award will be notified of the committee’s decision by email. The evaluation rubric is the following.

Criterion 1 2 3 4
Submission is complete        
Quality of presentation        
Definition of servant leadership in context
of ESL/Bilingual education
Personal efforts toward servant leadership        
Communicated value of servant leadership         
Evaluators, please calculate your average: (a) Add up scores; (b) Divide by 20; (c) Average will range between 1.0 – 4.0. Write that number in the space to the right.       Composite Average

What happens after my submission is selected for the distinction award?
Each awardee receives an award letter and is encouraged to add the recognition to their CV/resume. Additionally, each award project is recognized at an annual program event for the Servant Leadership Distinction Awards. Awardees are invited to present their project to the event audience via the format of their choice (e.g., multimedia digital presentation; musical/dramatic expression; written report; academic-style poster, among other possibilities).However, awardees are not required to present their project in order to be recognized at the event.

For any questions about the Servant Leadership Distinction Award, please contact Bryan Meadows,TESOL Program Director at or at (973) 275.2539. Thank you for your support of the university’s mission of servant leadership.

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