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New society honors best student leaders

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Honoring students for their exemplary service, demonstrated accomplishments and successful leadership by example is the goal of the new MUSC Student Leadership Society.
The society, established during the 2007-08 academic year, was created to recognize select students from any of MUSC’s six colleges who represent excellence on a universitywide level. Nine students were selected from a group of 26 nominees as the program’s first inductees. The students were recently honored at the MUSC Student Services Leadership Banquet held April 16.
The new leadership inductees are Kristie Elizabeth North Appelgren, Medicine; Brianne L. Dunn, Pharmacy; Michael T. Drake, Medicine; Christanne McLaurin Hoffman, Medicine; DeAnna Andrea Baker, Graduate Studies; Vandy Theordore Gaffney II, Medicine;  Aaron Eugene Embry, Health Professions-Physical Therapy; Robert M. Hendry, Medicine; and Dachelle L. Johnson, Pharmacy.
The society’s purpose is to honor committed, involved students, in any year of study, who’ve demonstrated proven leadership and made considerable contributions to improving and enhancing the campus environment. Candidates were evaluated for specific attributes, recognizing character, integrity and a spirit of giving. They also had to demonstrate student leadership through active listening, empathy, awareness, persuasion, stewardship, and a commitment to others. Additionally, students showed an interest in  promoting diversity among interprofessional student groups and teams, plus other interprofessional initiatives.
The idea was proposed by Valerie West, Ed.D., associate provost for education and student life, who, along with the support of campuswide educators and student support representatives, helped establish the award.
“We wanted to create a society that would recognize exceptional student-leaders—individuals who’ve contributed to the university as a whole and are responsible for making MUSC a better place,” said West, who helped write and define the requirements of the award—securing the support of students and campus leadership.
West suggested the idea to students and later established a leadership society selection committee to help coordinate the process. The group was composed of faculty, staff and administrators from some of the colleges and the Division of Education and Student Services. 
“What impressed me most was reading about the candidates’ exemplary committment to service,” said Myra Haney Singleton, director of academics and student support, College of Medicine and member of the selection committee. “Each candidate has their own individual strengths, but those selected to the society demonstrated a strong record of continued service. It is great that we recognize them at this level because it is likely they will move forward to become greater service-leaders and bring health care excellence to new heights.”
Leadership candidates should be in good academic standing and submit a completed nomination form and two-page resume, which includes a summary of student accomplishments. Candidates may be nominated by faculty, administrators or their peers. Each year, approximately five to 10 students will be selected by the committee and inducted into the society at the annual spring student leadership celebration.
“I’m always in awe of our students and what they accomplish,” West said. “We’re so fortunate to work with such amazing, wonderful people in our campus community. These individuals are enrolled in rigorous programs, yet they take time to serve in a larger capacity by volunteering their time with on-and off-campus organizations and activities, in addition to achieving academically. Today, MUSC has more universitywide organizations than we’ve ever had, thus creating more opportunities for student leadership across professional boundaries. With our commitment to interprofessional education, it is gratifying to see students seeking more involvement with their peers from other colleges. This new leadership society rewards university service and promotes the value of increasing interprofessional understanding among our students.”

Student Leadership Society Selection Committee
Willette Burnham, Dr. Darlene Shaw, Wendy Littlejohn, Myra Haney Singleton, Steve Brown and Dr. Valerie West


Friday, April 18, 2008
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