Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation funds integrated leadership program at Mayville

Mayville State University has received an Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation grant in the amount of $40,000 to establish an integrated leadership program. The purpose of the program is to build the leadership characteristics needed to prepare all Mayville State University students to become future leaders for North Dakota.

Six key traits in leadership are building the foundation for Mayville State’s program: leading by example, ethical judgment, leading with purpose, communication, always learning, and leadership self-direction. The key traits are being implemented into curriculum with the philosophy of stimulating interest, raising awareness, and providing opportunities to explore and demonstrate skills.

As part of the incorporation of the six key traits, ten faculty members attended a three-day workshop led by Larson Leadership Program Coordinator Terry Kemmer. In addition the Larson Leadership Event Series has been introduced. Troy Goergen, 1996 Mayville State University graduate and senior associate athletic director for North Dakota State University Bison Athletics, headlined the first leadership event series at Mayville State held October 25, 2012.

The second event of the Larson Leadership Event Series will feature a panel discussion of leadership. Each panelist will summarize his or her perspective on leadership and then discuss leadership as pertaining to scripted questions. At the conclusion of the discussion, panelists will field questions from the audience. The panel will consist of five leaders from the content areas of Mayville State’s academic divisions. This event is scheduled for November 14 at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the Classroom Building Auditorium. Following the discussion, the audience will have an opportunity to visit individually with the panelists at a social that will be held in the Campus Center Foyer.

The skills required of a good leader are not dissimilar to what it takes to be a good employee. Integrating soft skills such as problem solving, communication skills, and teamwork skills into the core curriculum will set the stage for better long range results. The integrated leadership program will have a different focus as students progress from freshmen through senior levels at Mayville State University, providing experiences that will enhance their competency and confidence as they become North Dakota’s future leaders.

Work to integrate the program into college experiences at four levels across the curriculum has begun and will be implemented over the next few years.  Each of the levels will focus on a theme that drives the instruction and various experiences within the program. The themes will stimulate interest, raise awareness, and provide opportunities to explore and demonstrate leadership.

The first level of the integrated leadership program is intended to spark interest. Designed for freshmen, it is being incorporated into the already established Seminar on Success course required of all first-time students.

Level two of the program will raise awareness of leadership while developing an understanding of the topic. This leadership awareness theme will be incorporated into units of instruction within sophomore foundation courses that are currently offered through each of the five academic divisions. The unit of instruction will focus on definitions and characteristics of leadership, building around the six key leadership traits.

During the third level of the program, students will be given opportunities to explore leadership. This exploration will focus on careers as well as campus and community organizations. At this level, students are given opportunities to explore leadership. The exploration focuses on careers as well as campus and community organizations.

Students at this level are eligible to apply for scholarships. To be eligible, students must have a 3.25 grade point average or greater and have an interest in expanding their leadership roles on campus. Recipients of the Edson & Margaret Larson Leadership Scholarships for 2012-2013 are Eric Domier, Mayville, N.D.; Rami Carlson, Northwood, N.D.; Beth Cakebread, Shelly, Minn., Danika Carpenter, Pembina, N.D.; and Elizabeth Jemar, Eagle River, Alaska.

The fourth level of the program will get students involved in the community and on the campus, where they will have opportunities to demonstrate their leadership potential and abilities. This demonstration will be incorporated through the internship and service learning course work that is currently offered across the curriculum.

The overall goal of Mayville State University’s new integrated leadership program is to make the graduates of Mayville State University better citizens for North Dakota. These will be individuals who recognize and participate in leadership opportunities within their careers and their communities.

The Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation was established through the estate of Edson Larson, who arranged to have his estate used for a number of charitable purposes, including the establishment of a premier leadership scholarship for North Dakota students. Edson and Margaret were married in 1955 at the Governor’s mansion in Bismarck, N.D. Margaret’s father, Clarence Norman Brunsdale, was North Dakota’s governor at the time. They made their home in Mayville, where Edson farmed most of his life. In his later years, Edson came to the Byrnes-Quanbeck Library at Mayville State nearly every day to read the Wall Street Journal. Edson and Margaret were loyal in their support for MSU. Edson was proud of his accomplishments, serving in the armed forces, farming, and developing sharp investment skills. He was also proud to live in Mayville. He passed away in 2008. Margaret continues to reside in Mayville.