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Uncovering the Secrets of Group Dynamics

March 15, 2016

Students hone skills as leaders and teammates in the second course of the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program

Students in the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program (MULFP) get so much more than a leadership certificate. They get to create a leadership portfolio and toolbox that will benefit them throughout their career and develop a personal brand – not to mention they’re introduced to a mentor to lend a listening ear and a helping hand at the ready!

With one course under their belts, the current cohort of MULFP students are nearing the end of the second course in the three-course sequence, called “Group Dynamics and Leading Teams.” Maureen Dorce ’18, a sophomore in the Health Services Administration Program, weighed in on the takeaways she is already using in her other classes and how the MULFP is preparing her for her first Co-op.

Dorce is currently readying herself to apply for Co-op opportunities – something she cites as a major draw for her to apply to MULFP. “I really wanted to hone my leadership skills before I entered the workplace,” she said. With her sites set on hospital administration, a thorough understanding of group dynamics is key.

The core of the second course is team building and leadership within a team. The term culminates with group project presentations on any topic related to leadership or health care. In-class discussions, presentations and readings are paving the way for productive, successful teams. “Each week we’re given tools to help us discuss things that might be going on within our groups. So for example, we had a few speakers come in to talk about leadership within nonprofits or addressing issues that may come up in a team.” For Dorce’s team, though, everything is going smoothly. “Our group is focusing on the topic of family paid leave in the U.S. Our group is pretty much evened out; there was no primary leader and work was split evenly.” Much of their success can be attributed to a valuable group tool learned in the course – establishing a team charter to set expectations and guidelines. 

The team charter is just one of the tactics helping Dorce work more successfully as a group member in her other courses, something she admittedly struggled with before, noting that group projects were “not her thing.”

“Though I have no issues within my Macy group, I have three other group projects due this term. It’s interesting to be currently learning aspects of group projects and be able to immediately implement them in my other classes, where I actually did take more of a leadership role,” she said.

In her human resources class, for example, a similar project is due involving a group presentation and a paper. “The first thing I did was message everyone and say ‘let’s come up with a schedule. We created meeting days and deadlines within the group. It’s a less formal team charter, but I definitely based this strategy on that lesson from my Macy course.” With this strategy, Dorce is avoiding a pitfall she used to face often – taking on most of the work herself. “This class has helped me to create steps so that I won’t wind up doing all of the work in the end. I learned to be a leader without doing everything.” The presentation skills and practice are an added bonus, of course.

Dorce believes her decision to apply and start the Program as a sophomore made for perfect timing. “I couldn’t have picked a better time to take a discussion-based class. It’s truly about things that will make you grow, and I’ve already grown so much and the program isn’t even over yet,” she said. “ I’ve learned a lot about myself, which is important as a leader. My mentor keeps saying ‘I can’t believe they’re allowing you to hone in on such important ideas at such a young age.’ These are things she hasn’t realized about herself until much later in life. The fact that I get to do that now puts me that much further ahead.”

For students considering applying to the Program, Dorce has some advice. “Step out of your comfort zone and go for it! In the end it’s going to be so beneficial. If you don’t take that extra step and maybe even take on a little bit of extra work, you could miss out on the huge reward of getting a mentor and having someone to coach you through this process of being a student and trying to get a job in the end.”

Applications are currently being accepted for the upcoming academic year. For more information, or to apply, click here. Need more convincing that the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program is for you? Check out the College of Nursing and Health Professions on Twitter and Instagram (@drexelcnhp) throughout the month to see what current students have to say about their mentors for #MacyMentorMonth!