Developing Leadership Skills
Many NEW Leadership® Mississippi sessions are interactive workshops and hands-on exercises that encourage participants to practice their leadership skills. Learning takes place via a range of pedagogical techniques, including interactive presentations and panels, small group discussions, hands-on workshops, and an “Action Project” in which students present testimony in a mock legislative committee hearing.
For the Action Project, participants are divided into small groups and tasked with representing a fictional (but realistic) coalition of Mississippi interest groups that has been invited to testify before a committee of the state legislature on some issue. Each group is led by both a peer mentor and one of the Faculty in Residence (FIRs) who guide their groups in research and rehearsal sessions throughout the institute. Issues are typically of particular interest to women and have been the subject of failed proposals in the most recent legislative session, and each FIR usually arranges for their group to speak with a state official who has been closely involved in these legislative efforts. This provides exceptional preparation for students to engage in subsequent legislative sessions, whether as outside advocates or as legislative aides or interns.