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Gordon enhances SLA, welcomes new cohort

Gordon State College Division of Student Affairs sought out aspiring student leaders in the fall of 2023 to join its revitalized Student Leadership Academy. A handpicked cohort of 30 individuals were awarded the opportunity to partake in a program designed to cultivate deeper understanding, purposeful action, and a stronger sense of community.

“The pandemic created a significant gap in recruiting and retaining student leaders causing many higher education professionals to think differently about how we train our student leaders. This provided us with an opportunity to review our current practices and find ways to improve them to fit today’s students,” said Dr. LaToya Stackhouse, GSC dean of students.

There are several leadership roles available at the Academy, such as Community Leaders, Gordon Orientation Leaders (GOL), Campus Activity Board (CAB), and the Student Marketing Team. Each division necessitates specific skills and offers a diverse range of responsibilities. This program was a collaborative effort between all departments across the Division of Student Affairs that consists of Counseling and Accessibility Services, Student Life, Housing and Residence Life, Student Health, and the Dean of Students. The team worked together to establish a curriculum centering the five pillars -The Five C’s: change, communication, caring, connection and character. 

“Students who hold leadership positions on campus develop a strong sense of belonging and purpose which increases their chance of graduating from college,” Stackhouse said.

The latest program model comprises of eight interactive lessons and discussions spanning over one hour each. These sessions foster servant leadership and involve student leaders and their instructors. Currently, the Student Affairs team takes on the role of instructors, guiding different groups through each session.

Current Student Leadership Academy cohort includes: Latayla Billingslea, Faith Wilson, and Dionna White from Newton County; Saray Castro, Haja Kamara, Janaya Jean, I’sis Robinson, Kelly Sarmiento, Kiarra Thomas, William Shiflett, and Michelle Mills from Henry County; Makayla Dorsey from Coweta County; Sabrina Fania from Rockdale County; Doyd Fletcher and Lashaunda Turnipseed from Dekalb County; Peige Davis-Hudson, Ashley Giles, Trevion Harris, Jada Maddox, Makaylah Somuah, Mahki Stephens, and Khalil Washington from Clayton County; Idaya Hales, Alyssa Reisen, and Noel Henderson from Fayette County; Jacquelyn Harris from Athens-Clarke County; Shakerria Hudson from Hall County; Nathaniel McDougall from Spalding County; and Ryann Simmons and Elicia Williams from Bibb County.

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