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January 10, 2018

Ellen Winiarczyk: Using Authentic Content to Inspire Leaders

Ellen Winiarczyk knows how to bring leadership to life.  She has more than 18 years of experience working with leaders such as C-suite executives and directors of nonprofits, helping them with leadership development, program evaluation, strategic planning, and more. As an instructor for the Leadership and Organizations program at University College, Ellen has found that incorporating real-life content in her lectures and assignments has made her courses more engaging and inspires her students to develop into effective leaders.

At the beginning of each quarter, Ellen makes sure that all students remember each other’s names for the rest of the term. While it may seem like a simple task, she finds when students know each other better, they are more willing to engage in class and it is a useful exercise for leaders to practice. Ellen has students participate in group activities, such as games, throughout the term which helps students build collaboration skills rather than competitiveness and helps them understand what a strong leader is.

Ellen makes her course assignments career-focused so students can apply what they learned to their professional life. In her Leadership Development class, she asks students to think about the steps needed to attain their leadership goals and share their findings in class so students can collaborate and help each other. At the end of the term, her students create a leadership development plan which requires students to understand leadership theory and how to plan and practice a leadership development plan.

Students gravitate towards Ellen’s approach to teaching. One of her students, Lori L., wrote her a thank email expressing her gratitude, “I have learned a lot not only from the course content but from your experiences as well. In fact, you have inspired me to look into leadership coaching and your profession. Thank you for setting an example of what an exemplary leader looks like.”

Ellen Winiarczyk has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver. She teaches in the Leadership and Organizations program.

For support with implementing teaching ideas sparked by this blog (or any others!), contact your Instructional Support Specialist.

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