Students bring back leadership skills from conference

On Oct. 7 and 8, seniors Maddy Lutz and Hannah Tolliver attended the Women in Educational Leadership Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska along with Assistant Professor of Education Charlsie Prosser.

Tolliver said a variety of people attended the conference, but that she believes she and Maddy were the youngest present.

“Men and women in the education field [were present],” Lutz said. “ The majority of the audience were professors and administrators of other universities, school administrators, and doctoral candidates.”

Prosser said she attended the conference last year and wanted to bring students with her this year so that they could experience a professional development opportunity by putting what they have learned in the classroom to use.

Lutz and Tolliver were chosen by Prosser to attend this conference and write a proposal focusing on their growth as leaders in education because of their “huge impact in the School of Education Ambassadors, and in a variety of leadership roles across campus.”

Lutz said she accepted the invitation because the topic was of interest to her, and her future goals include holding a leadership roles within schools.

“The education world is female dominated, but the majority of leaders are males,” Lutz said. “After teaching for a while, I hope to end up in administration one day. I thought this conference would be a great opportunity to learn about the gap in female leadership.”

According to Prosser, the conference provided new information regarding how women can lead and support each other, both inside the classroom and out.

The group is seeking to host on a similar conference at Baker alongside SEA because it would promote teacher leaders and allow networking opportunities with successful women in leadership roles as well as provide opportunities for leadership development within the education major.

“One session I attended explained the process of planning your own Women’s Leadership Conference and I was intrigued by the possibility,” Prosser said. “We discussed what we were learning throughout the conference and thought exploring the idea of hosting a similar conference at Baker would be a great idea.”

Tolliver said this information will best benefit education majors due to their need to instill values of leadership in every student they teach during their career.

“Making sure all education majors understand the importance of providing those opportunities for [their] students and fostering a learning environment that promotes leadership in all students is definitely the goal I have from this conference,” Tolliver said.

Lutz said she took away several ideas from the conference as well as new activities to facilitate leadership development.

“The education world needs to provide an environment that promotes women taking on leadership roles,” Lutz said. “Women can excel in these roles; we just need to bridge the gap from the classroom to administration.”

Tolliver said she and Maddy will present at Dialogos later this year regarding their experience and what they learned.

“I think going to conferences such as this one prepares me for what I may see in my own field of work, which is teaching,” Tolliver said. “It was an amazing experience and it was empowering to see so many confident, powerful women who were committed to making a change in the education field.”

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