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Dean's Message

Promoting Student Engagement Through Leadership

Byron Howlett

I realize there are multiple definitions of leadership — indeed much has been written about this topic — but it ultimately comes down to how you define it for yourself. Your definition of leadership is often influenced by your past experiences and by observing those who serve as role models or mentors. It’s influenced by the things you read, and it is often shaped by your hopes for your tomorrow. Regardless of how you define leadership, I want to challenge and encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to begin the process of embracing into your identity the realization that you are a leader.

Most of you entered Cal Poly Pomona with varying degrees of leadership background. However, regardless of what you brought with you, I’m certain you’ll want to develop new skills and be exposed to different points of view, and hopefully you’ll want to be challenged to expand your notion of what it means to be a leader.

You have an incredible array of opportunities and resources at Cal Poly Pomona to assist you in exploring what it means to be a leader in today’s society. I would like to suggest a few of these as you explore your own definition of leadership.

Consider involvement in one of the following:

  • Register for the Student Development & Leadership Institute (SDLI), which provides training to enhance your personal leadership skills.
  • Attend leadership focused events, workshops, retreats and conferences, or enroll in an academic leadership course.

Leadership is much more than identifying the top 10 qualities of a good leader or finding a “cookie-cutter” formula for success. It’s about searching your inner being to find that which moves you, that which brings a sense of purpose and meaning and that which motivates you to stay engaged in something that you deeply believe in. It’s about finding your voice and indeed giving voice to what really matters in your life. Feel free to contact the professional staff in the dean of students departments; we would be honored to assist you in exploring your definition of leadership and in suggesting a plan of action.

Ask Billy

Ask Billy