LEAD, Linfield’s newest minor

Anna Frazier and Lindsey Burns

Starting in Fall 2021, Linfield will offer a new minor called LEAD, which will focus on the development of leadership skills through communication, ethics, critical thinking, and cultural awareness. The acronym stands for “Leadership and Ethics Across Disciplines.

LEAD is designed to turn a natural passion for leadership to constructive and well-founded skills that can be paired with any major.

The minor was formed after a student survey in 2017 showed that Linfield students wanted more leadership training and opportunities. Political science professor and LEAD co-founder Patrick Cottrell stressed that the minor’s development was a team effort between students and faculty. “I just happened to be one of the people who took the time to push it through the relevant channels to become a minor,” he said.

Cottrell described the minor as a “Tetris game.” Students must take 12 credits specific to the minor plus a one-credit capstone course, but students can “mix and match around” courses that they have already taken to fill the rest of the requirements. 

“This is very much a work in progress. As students have ideas, we want those ideas. If there are different trainings, exercises, or courses that a student thinks would be great, they should do them,” said Cottrell. 

The majority of the minor’s coursework will focus on ethics and communication. LEAD minors will also be required to participate both in on-campus and off-campus leadership opportunities. On-campus work can be anything from participation in RHA or ASLU to debate club or involvement in the Office of Inclusion, Access, and Diversity. Off-campus may include study abroad, community service, or an outside internship.

“The goal is to provide a curricular companion where students would be able to be more conscious of what they’re learning in the classroom,” said Cottrell. 

The political science department held a hybrid-online informational session on Wednesday, Oct. 28. 

Some students, like freshman Katie Jones, attended the session to learn more about opportunities available on campus. “It’s definitely something I’d be interested in researching more,” Jones said.

Sophomore Morgan Balovich has already decided to minor in LEAD, pairing it with a double major in business management and sociology and another minor in psychology. Although she has a full class schedule, she realized LEAD would work for her since she is involved with several leadership positions already. 

“I hold my leadership positions on campus out of pure enjoyment, not for the incentive,” Balovich said. “I look at [a LEAD minor] as a recognition for all the work that I have put forth for Linfield.” 

Freshmen and sophomores will have an easier time adding a LEAD minor to their transcript, but upperclassmen like senior Pedro Graterol might not be able to participate.

Despite this, Graterol enjoyed being a part of the team that organized the program’s launch event. “I loved seeing all the different opportunities to be involved in campus and make a difference,” he said. “It made me feel hopeful.”