Every semester at UT, some courses remain, others discontinue and even fewer are added. This year, the Senior Leadership Capstone Course was introduced at UT for the first time. The course, taught by Sally Parish, assistant director of Student Orientation and Leadership Development, and Michelle Stauffer, director of Student Orientation and Leadership Development, is specifically designed to strengthen leadership skills for those graduating within the next year.
   
 “The Senior Leadership Capstone course is a selective leadership class for graduating seniors,” Parish said. “The class was created to provide an environment in which current student leaders can further examine their undergraduate leadership experiences while thinking critically about how those leadership experiences can be transferred to the post-collegiate setting.”
    
The main purpose of this course is to have the seniors constructively look at all the leadership experience they have had throughout their four years at UT and realize that everything they have done thus far is meaningful and worthwhile according to the instructors.
   
 The senior students strive to be more prepared and knowledgeable about what to expect when assuming leadership roles in the professional world after college.
   
 There are several topics that are included in the Senior Leadership Capstone course, including casting and leading a vision, leading people of different generations, resume and interviewing seminar, as well as other skills needed for continued, successful leadership.
    
According to the course description, found at http://sold.utk.edu/slc, “This course is to facilitate learning opportunities and experiences, which will provide students with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to assume leadership positions on campus, in the workforce and within the community.”
    
The course offered for sophomores and juniors called Emerging Leaders was the inspiration for the Senior Leadership Course. Former Emerging Leaders student and UT alumnus, Nick Averwater, is the person who first conceived the idea behind the course.
    
Averwater worked for hours developing the course objectives, curriculum and content. He is still attending UT, continuing his education in the MBA program. Averwater was able to parlay his final project in the Emerging Leaders course to the student leadership program. His work was used for the creation of the Senior Leadership Capstone course.
    
The 15 students taking the course were selected based on an application and interview process.
    
“We are fortunate to have incredible students in the course who are eager not only to explore and develop their own leadership, but perhaps more importantly, to work diligently to ensure that they are leaving a stable and sustainable leadership environment on campus for the future leaders who will follow in their footsteps,” Parish said.
    
The course is intended to make an impact on the students’ college career and prepare them for what is ahead, whether it be graduate school or the workforce.
    
“I am a political science major, and I plan on attending law school in fall 2012,” senior Kara Gallagher said. “While the class is directed towards all seniors in a variety of majors, I hope to gain knowledge in the difference between student leadership and professional management. I would like to learn how to transfer the leadership skills I have obtained at UT into a career in law and government.”
    
All seniors are encouraged to apply to take the course when applications are offered next. All students currently enrolled are seniors graduating in December 2011 or May 2012.
    
It is a great opportunity for the students of UT to have the chance to take this course and better understand what it takes to be a leader not only at UT but in the real world following college, Gallagher said.