By Theresa Evans
The Leadership Development Program (LDP) has been ranked number two for the 2018 Certificate Program with Emphasis on Leadership and Organizational Development by HR.com, a source for human resource professionals.
Candidates can reapply for the national ranking annually.
“They look at your program overall, but they also send a survey out to current members and alumni of the program and solicit their feedback,” said Laura Seplaki, associate director of the center for the development of leadership skills.
Previously ranked number four from 2016-17, LDP is now one of three New Jersey university programs that hold top ranks.
“The funny part is, Seton Hall is number one and they have been number one for a couple of years now, so I keep telling my friend who runs that program ‘we’re on to you,’” said Seplaki.
Junior accounting major Sydney Van Leuven believes that LDP deserves its high national ranking.
“They offer great opportunities on and off campus to develop and enhance your leadership skills,” Van Leuven said. “You can come in as a strong leader or someone who isn’t too comfortable leading and you can learn all the skills to be a successful leader.”
According to Seplaki, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA, and should have “an honest, genuine and sincere desire to build upon their leadership skills.”
LDP entered two Rider teams into the Collegiate Leadership Competition at the University of Delaware on April 14. Seplaki coached a team for the second year, winning second place at 20 points in addition to winning the Team Results Championship.
“Leadership is good at Rider for sure,” said Seplaki.
The teams were coached on a weekly basis leading up to the competition where training focused on the learning curriculum and practicing leadership skills.
The competition contained six 45-minute long activities involving a combination of physical tasks and concepts of leadership, said Seplaki.
“It’s a unique competition in that they don’t just score results, they score the process,” she said. “Each activity is 200 points; 100 points for the process, and 100 points for results.”
She also mentioned that the teams were judged on attitude, behavior, team responses, solution techniques, strategies, results and methods that better the leadership process.
Van Leuven joined LDP as a sophomore knowing she “had the potential of becoming a leader” but was unsure how to project her abilities.
“Through seminars, classes and programs, I get to learn my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and a person,” she said. “This has helped me tremendously in achieving goals from something as small as a job interview, to as large as becoming the president of the [Rider] dance team.”
Seplaki mentioned that students are often concerned about building confidence.
“I don’t have a workshop titled ‘here’s your confidence,’ but we provide them that motivation and that push and that support to give students the motivation to go out there,” she said. “Then, by the time they hit their senior year, they’re feeling like, ‘You know what? I’ve built up some confidence.’”
According to Seplaki, the value of LDP gives students a chance to better their resume with a “certificate of leadership.” It also provides talking points during interviews and shows employers that, in addition to a good GPA and academic experience, students have leadership experience as well.
“But more so than anything, I really feel that learning about leadership just helps you as a human being,” Seplaki said. “You better understand what your purpose is on this earth; why you’re here, the great things you can accomplish and to not underestimate yourself.”