New Co-Curricular Certificates Give Students Leadership Experience

Three certificate programs will allow students to engage in workshops and reflections aligned with their interests.

September 11, 2020

co curricular graphic

By Briahnna Brown

Even though various George Washington University offices were working to create co-curricular certificate programs for years, it was not until the pandemic that they were able to launch them together.

Working virtually over the summer allowed the Office of Student Life and the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service to collaborate to launch three co-curricular certificate programs: the Civic Leadership Certificate,  the Leadership Exploration Certificate and the Raise Up GW Certificate

They were looking for ways to recognize and acknowledge the work that students put into their personal and professional development, said Jovanni Mahonez, assistant director of the Nashman Center. The certificates launch this fall semester and will incorporate a series of workshops, discussions and reflective final presentations focused on different areas of interest. 

All of the programming for the certificates will be virtual, which will allow program leaders to engage students in new, more accessible ways, Ms. Mahonez said.

"The virtual environment provides an opportunity for students who may not have seen these opportunities before," Ms. Mahonez said. “It allows students to explore things they may not have thought possible before in a way that's safer—it encourages more of those quiet, reserved leaders to engage in this opportunity that they might not have pursued in the past."

The Nashman Center hosts the Civic Leadership Certificate, which provides students with the opportunity to strengthen their skills and leadership knowledge in civic engagement. This program is only open to undergraduate students, and applications must be submitted by Sept. 23. Students will begin the program in October.

The Office of Student Life’s Student Involvement and Leadership team hosts the Leadership Exploration Certificate, which will feature Excellence in Leadership Sessions (ELS) where participants engage in a dialogue about leadership before and during their time at GW. Throughout the program, students will learn about their personal leadership style, strengths and values while discussing leadership topics through a video discussion board, said Natalie Hershberger, assistant director for leadership in the Office of Student Life. 

The Leadership Exploration Certificate will launch later this month and be open to undergraduate and graduate students. Additional information on this certificate will be available on the Office of Student Life site.

Health Promotion and Education, under the Office of Student Life within the Division for Student Affairs, hosts the Raise Up GW Certificate, which encourages students to explore eight dimensions of well-being: emotional, social, physical, spiritual, cultural, environmental, financial and intellectual. Students also will help plan and implement a health program based on these dimensions of well-being. 

Zareena Khan, student program associate in the Health Promotion and Education Office, said that this certificate is especially useful given the uncertain times we live in because it helps spread peer awareness of GW’s well-being resources.

The Raise Up GW Certificate is open to undergraduate and graduate students, and students must apply by Sept. 23. Students will participate in the program from October through March.

These will be the inaugural cohorts for these certificate programs, so students should only participate in one at a time, Ms. Hershberger said. Students who apply to these programs should have a genuine interest in these topics, Ms. Khan said, and be willing to commit to learning and challenging themselves in these subject areas. 

“We don't intend for this to be a passive experience by any means,” Ms. Khan said. “We want people to really be intentional about what they're involving themselves in, and even within these programs, participating to the fullest extent."