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Buccino Leadership Institute

The Importance of Student-Led Classes  

Elizabeth Rauchet & Lamiyeh Rajai

Juniors Elizabeth Rauchet & Lamiyeh Rajai teach the freshmen leadership class about mental well-being.

This year, Dr. Bryan Price, Director of the Buccino Leadership institute won the Innovation in Teaching Award from the Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration (MAACBA.) Dr. Price and the institute have continued this positive momentum by expanding the ways that information is disseminated to students by introducing several classes taught by upperclassmen leadership students.

Dr. Price's idea for student-taught classes resulted in several changes to the freshman and sophomore year curriculums from previous years to offer opportunities for students to be taught by their peers. When asked about the introduction of student-run classes Dr. Price said that he made the decision to add these classes to the curriculum because "the best way to learn about leadership is to lead. I know it sounds cliché, but it's true. In our program, you can't just ‘talk' about leadership, you have to experience it. So having students run some classes, with feedback from me, was an easy decision."

This decision led to two freshman level LEAD 1000's classes run by the Well-being initiative and the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. Dr. Price reached out to these student-led initiatives to teach these subjects "because it's real, and because students can relate to students in a way that older adults can't. Plus, this isn't my program, or the Associate Director's program, it's the student's program. And trust me when I say that some of the student-taught classes we've had are better executed than some of our faculty-led classes and guest lectures from outsiders." This encouragement led to the freshmen class receiving a lesson on Mental Well-Being and Leadership from juniors Elizabeth Rauchet and Lamiyeh Rajai on November 12th and a lesson on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion the following class period by Nyah Doe and members of her Initiative.

While the Diversity and Inclusion initiative led by Nyah Doe is not new to the institute, Rauchet and Rajai's Well-being initiative was formally introduced to the semester this fall. This initiative came from junior Elizabeth Rauchet's sophomore IDT team. This past spring, Rauchet led an IDT project about the importance of mental health and wellness in leadership. Her project was well received by faculty and her peers and led to the creation of the SHU Well-Being initiative. Doe's Diversity and Inclusion initiative was similarly introduced following her freshman IDT project in the spring of 2020. These two relatively new student-run initiatives were selected by Dr. Price to teach their peers in topics related to their prospective areas of expertise.

rock, paper, scissors activity

Two students participate in a rock, paper, scissors activity during the mental well-being class.

During the mental well-being and leadership class, Rauchet and Rajai prepared a presentation, an interactive activity, and a worksheet for students to partake in. When asked about the planning process for this class Rauchet said that "in preparing for our presentation, my main thought was: What would I want to hear as a freshman who might not know anything about the topic of Well-being? From there, we constructed a class plan that was the perfect balance of fun, engaging, and educational." Rauchet and Rajai's students laughed and smiled as they played a rock, paper, scissors tournament to focus on remaining in the present moment. Following this activity, they led the students in a leadership affirmations worksheet that they created to get student thinking about their accomplishments and goals for themselves as leaders. After completing the worksheet, students had the opportunity to share their responses and discuss how they could implement strategies to reach their goals and a state of mental well-being. Students left this class with useful tips to practice wellness and a variety of resources including future events run by the Well-Being initiative.

D,E, & I

Junior Nyah Doe and the Diversity & Inclusion Initiative teach the freshman class about D,E, & I.

On November 20th, the Diversity and Inclusion initiative taught a class on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This was the second class that the initiative has taught, as they taught the sophomore class a lesson on activism last spring. Following the success of that class, Dr. Price asked Doe and her initiative to teach a class this semester. During November's class, the initiative led the freshmen in an activity called "lemonheads and whoppers." This activity made students evaluate how diverse the groups of people they surround themselves are. In this activity, the lemonheads represented a group that shared the same race or identity and whoppers represented individuals who were dissimilar. Students were instructed to place either a whopper or lemonhead in a cup when questions were asked by the facilitator. Following the activity, Doe and her team led the students in a lively discussion about the makeup of their candy cup.

Following the success of these two classes run by the Rauchet, Rajai, and Doe, when asked if there will be more opportunities for student-led instruction within the institute? Dr. Price said "Absolutely. We're just getting started."

Categories: Business