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Graduate Women Leadership Institute: Leaders in Life
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  1. Graduate Women Leadership Institute:Leaders in Life Professor Leslie A. Kolodziejski Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  2. outline • identification of problem(s) • vision to impact retention • creation of trial Graduate Women Leadership Institute: Leaders in Life • moving forward

  3. “New EECS* Graduate Women Seminar Series” • ALL newly admitted women in EECS invited • typically 10-12 sign-up (out of 15-20) • student commits to attend entire 1st year • meet once a week for breakfast • started fall semester 2005; 5th year of offering *Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

  4. “New EECS Graduate Women Seminar Series” • Objectives: • opportunity to meet other women in EECS • understand expectations of being a grad student • special topics discussed • Sample of Topics (from Fall ’08): • EECS Graduate Program (MS, PhD) • Choosing a Research Topic/Advisor • What is expected of a RA/How to get a RA • What is expected of a TA/How to get a TA • How to Read a Journal Article • Overview of Technical Activities • Overview of Extracurricular Student Activities • Discussion - Senior Women Graduate StudentGuests • (from Spring ’09) • Writing a Thesis Proposal • Preparing a Research Talk • Preparing a Technical Poster • Mentoring: the importance and value • How to Improve Communication Skills • Discussion - Invited Guests: Women Faculty/Industry • Share Research Activities

  5. Vision • issues became apparent from “New EECS Graduate Women Seminar Series” • common themes: • loss of confidence • questioning of technical ability • isolation • modeled after undergraduate leadership program: LeaderShape Institute at MIT* *

  6. What is Leadersin Life Today? • trial offering of retention program • week-long summer retreat (2008) • 1-day workshop and dinner (2009) • 22 women LiL alumni NETWORK MIT Sponsors: Dept. of Elect. Engr. & Comp. Sci Comp. Sci. and Artificial Intelligence Lab Research Lab of Electronics

  7. Leadersin Life Starting Premise • Styles of leading and communicating differ by gender • Similarly perception of communication differs by gender GOAL: build awareness of gender-impacted dynamics in communication • to enhance individual effectiveness • to promote self-confidence • to nurture resilience

  8. Leadersin Life Acknowledges • Importance of support network is empowering • Importance of individual self-support is sustaining GOAL: promote a social and professional network to support women’s emergence as leading engineers/scientists while at MIT and beyond

  9. Leadersin Life Learning Objectives Identify implicit associations • Learn how they dictate power in the workplace Build professional communication skills & communicate powerfully across gender • Communicate more effectively with advisors, mentors & peers Assess & reflect on personality traits • Understand your preferences, strengths & the value of difference Understand the foundation of resilience & optimism • Learn to live optimistically & work with confidence Find the understanding and support you need to thrive, achieve, and be happy

  10. Leadersin Life TRIAL Program Experiential Learning • minimal lecturing, activity-based learning Dialogue and Discussion • large and small groups Self-Assessment and Reflection Coaching and Being Coached • peer coaching groups • learning assimilation groups • scenario groups Networking and Social Activities

  11. LiL Curriculum: Summer Retreat • Implicit Associations • Powerful Communication • Myers Brigg Type Indicator: personality preferences and impact on collaboration • Physical Dispositions • Feedback: requesting/providing • Scenario Work • Optimisim/Hardiness, Self-support and Balance • Creation of Individual Support Network

  12. Leadersin LifeSummer Retreat: Faculty Dr. Jacquie McLemore Organizational Behavior, McLemore Consulting Professor Leslie Kolodziejski Co-Creator of LiL Director, LiL@MIT Dr. Elisabeth Marley Asst. Prof. of EE Southern Methodist University Dr. Linda Garverick Co-Creator of LiL Coactive Consultants

  13. LiL Curriculum: Winter Retreat • Value of Mentor/Mentee Relationship • Understanding the Hardiness Survey* • Design LiL Mentoring Event • LiL Events for the Community • group pot-luck dinners • afternoon teas • reunion at Marconi Beach, Cape Cod • coordinating events with Graduate Women in Course VI (GW6) *

  14. Evaluation of Trial Program Feedback Form Rating Statements (23) about Program • 5 strongly agree • 4 agree • 3 neutral • 2 disagree • 1 strongly agree Example Statements: • The Leaders in Life retreat was a good use of my time: 4.95 out of 5 • I gained awareness that will increase my choices as a graduate student leaders: 4.67 out of 5 • I developed supportive relationships that will continue beyond the program: 4.62 out of 5 • I learned coping strategies that will increase my resilience: 4.24 out of 5 • I identified new role models and or mentors: 3.81 out of 5

  15. Evaluation of Trial Program Feedback Form to Rank Value of Concept • Rank top 8 concepts (out of 23) • Rate knowledge of concept before/after LiL program • no awareness • incomplete understanding • desire to learn more • clear understanding • proficient in use • Rate value of concept for success • no value • low value • moderate value • high value • essential Top Ranked Concepts: • making clear requests • separating data from assessments • developing transformational coping skills

  16. Evaluation of LiL Impact • repeated use of Hardiness Survey

  17. Participant Quotes for LiL • “This may be the most valuable course a graduate student will take at MIT.” • “I have changed my life in the course of one week. The tools and confidence I have gained will not only serve me, but will make my career! • “Skills to deal with the scientific world and beyond.” • “Revolutionary! I sort of wanted to put my PhD on hold for awhile. Now I am full of energy.” • “How immensely valuable this week has been to my self- confidence, happiness, and professional skills.” • This experience has been life changing for me. I wish every female grad student could benefit from this experience.” Marconi Beach, Cape Cod, 2008

  18. Moving Forward • Yearly offering of Leaders in Life at MIT • summer retreat, winter retreat • Actively seeking sponsorship • EECS, Phys, Schools of Science/Engr • Expand faculty participation • LiL alumni actively engaged • contribute to creation of curriculum • retreat facilitators

  19. individual effectiveness less stress/strain personal happiness greater career resilience My reflection: • majority population vs minority population • redirects assessment from personal to situational • Institutional change important; takes time • Personal development crucial • accurate assessment of situation • support to the network • support for the individual