Students Complete Four-Day Immersive Opening Residency Course Developing and Enhancing Leadership Skills

EML Opening Residency

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The Executive Master’s in Leadership (EML) program kicked off its Opening Residency this month during a four-and-a-half-day immersive experience with 26 students.

The Opening Residency of the EML program introduces students to the foundational concepts of leadership. It seeks to situate the program amid various leadership schools and philosophies. The residency focused on two topics that are central to the course: Self and Rational Competencies and Evidence Based Leadership

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the course adapted to the new virtual learning environment. Catherine Tinsley, Raffini Family Professor of Management and academic director of the Executive Master’s in Leadership program, explains the virtual learning experience forged unique benefits for both the students and instructors. 

“Digital fatigue is real, but the virtual aspects of Opening Residency fostered an unexpected confidence with most students who opened themselves up more to this online opportunity than they may have in person,” said Tinsley.

Embracing the digital technology, instructors from various disciplines applied different styles of teaching, and students used the online chat features to support each other without disrupting the flow of the conversation. Faculty also utilized recording features like the “breakout rooms” in Zoom so students could continue to work in individual groups to solve problems.

“This digital learning environment has allowed instructors to spend more time interacting with the team’s projects because we can go back and review the recordings,” said Tinsley. “If we were in person, then the time in the classroom is limited, so we are not always able to engage for as long with each group.” 

Although the virtual nature of the course consisted of day-long classes, Tinsley said the outside lives of the students would often make an appearance on video calls, helping to humanize the experience of taking such an intense course on a computer, instead of a classroom. 

“People saw husbands walk by watering plants, toddlers eating, or teenagers accidentally breaking into the frame,” said Tinsley. “These real-life moments helped bond members of the class.”

The EML program offers working professionals an in-depth study of the art and science of effective leadership behaviors necessary to understand and make changes to optimize: the self and relationships, your organization, and local communities. The program is 50% female, with representation from over six different countries, 35% U.S. diversity, and various industry representation.